Time Once Again For: The Ruinin’ O’ The Festivities

March 17, 2013


Well, St Patrick’s Day is upon us again, and you know what that means!  No, not that… No, not that either… Okay, I’ll just tell you.  It’s time for my annual Why I Don’t Like St. Patrick’s Day Buzzkill!  Yay!

Yes, loyal readers, I have been – in my more dramatically self-indulgent periods – the guy who walks around Psh-ing and rolling my eyes, and when you, bubbly and cheerful in your shamrocks and “Everyone’s Irish On St. Patty’s Day !” shirt, ask me, “Why aren’t you wearing green?” I scowl and blurt back, “Because it’s a terrible holiday.  Do you even know the story of St. Patrick?” and then I rant for ten minutes – your smile growing pained and faded – and I get to know I made someone’s day juuuuust a little worse.  Ahh.  Good times, good times.

I’ve mellowed quite a bit since then, but I still got a touch o’ the buzzkill in me.

It reads “Ne parcas, nec spernas.” It’s latin for “Subscribe to The Byronic Man.”

And before you go accusing me of just not being or liking the Irish – I stink Irish.  My mother’s family name is Keating.  The first time I smelled Jameson whiskey it made me think of my grandfather.  There are more depressives, poets and recovering drinkers in my family tree than you could shake a shillelagh at.  And I look more Black Irish (which is a type of Irish – not half Irish, half African) than Daniel Day-Lewis listening to The Pogues while drinking Guinness and writing a poem about British oppression.  On my father’s side?  Scottish, and the family name traces back to the five families who came over from Ireland and settled Scotland.  I even have our Scottish clan motto tattooed on my arm.

Okay, so the “Yay Ireland” stuff is fun, and dying rivers green is kind of festive, unless you live in the river… but first the drinking.  “It’s just an excuse to drink!” people say, which is weird, because presumably you’re a grown-up and can make that choice of your own free-will.  But it isn’t just that the Irish loves them a drink, right?  Ireland has been plagued with alcohol abuse for centuries.  Possibly more damage and lack of progress has been inflicted on Ireland by alcohol than anything else.  Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is among the worst in the world there.  There was actually a time when Ireland liberated itself from England entirely, and had this massive celebration at castle Kilkenny that lasted 3 days, and then when everyone was exhausted and hungover, the English just stroooolled back in and took over.  Which, okay, is really pretty funny, but the point is people take one of the biggest burdens of the nation and run with it.  It’d be like being at an AA meeting and saying, “I don’t know about you guys, but all this talk about booze makes me want to party!”

“Patrick” “driving” the “snakes” “out” of Ireland.

As for Patrick: for starters he wasn’t Irish, he was English. And his name wasn’t Patrick, it was Maewyn Succat.  And there weren’t any snakes in Ireland to drive out.  “Snakes” is slang for a celtic person/pagan, and he “drove” them “out” by converting them to Catholicism.  I was told once by some genuine Irish folks that he did this through Spanish Inquisition-esque means (which was good enough for me for several years of buzzkilling), but I’ve never seen that corroborated by a reliable source, so I’m not sure I buy it.  Regardless, though, it’s really more of a celebration of Catholicism than of Ireland, per se.  And, obviously, the cutsie stuff can get a little degrading.

If you really want to be a serious celebrator of Ireland, wait until Halloween.  That’s the Celtic New Year. You have a big Celtic New Year party.  No one will come, and the kids coming to your door dressed as Buzz Lightyear and Hermione will hate you, but won’t it be worth it?  When they say, “Wow.  He/She really celebrated Ireland”?  Totally worth it  And then next St. Patrick’s day you too can be a buzzkill!

Okay.  I’m done.  You are now free to ignore me and have fun.  You are even free to go drink green beer and talk like the Lucky Charms guy and have wild times with your friends while I sit in the corner sulking and muttering, “Oh, they think they’re having fun.  They don’t know.  They just don’t know.”

Just like a real Irishman.

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About The Byronic Man

Recently voted "The Best Humor Site in America That I, Personally, Write," The Byronic Man is sometimes fiction, but sometimes autobiography. And sometimes cultural criticism. Oh, and occasionally reviews. Okay, it's all those different things, but always humorous. Except on the occasions that it's not. Ah, geez. Look, it's a lot of things, okay? You might like it, is the point.

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46 Comments on “Time Once Again For: The Ruinin’ O’ The Festivities”

  1. k8edid Says:

    Thank you. Just, well…thank you. As a lass with the maiden name of Flannery – I share many of your sentiments.


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      And why more Irish people aren’t appalled by the holiday, I’ll never know. It’s like they’ve been abused so long they can’t tell the difference between positive and negative attention.


  2. UndercoverL Says:

    In my mind St Patty’s Day = Awkward feelings about Warwick Davis.


  3. mairedubhtx Says:

    I have to agree with you. Samhain (or Halloween) is a much more Irish festival than St. Paddy’s day. We ought to take it back.


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      There was an Irish pub when I lived in Portland that had a big Samhain party. They tried to be closed for St. Pat’s Day, but it made 4 months of income in a night. They swallowed their pride, and I can’t say I blame them.


  4. Soma Mukherjee Says:

    love love love your sense of humour.
    You Rock..but you already know that
    Hey I was thinking we should have a ‘ Byronic Man Day’…..i know i know you will say every day is a Byronic Man day…fine i get it
    but on this special day we will all get that tattoo. ( which says join Byronic Man
    rcos he Rulz) and drink like fish and get up next day with a hangover and not remember who tattooed us and what it means Cos it would be all cryptic…


  5. rossmurray1 Says:

    I guess you could say you Succat celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.


  6. silkpurseproductions Says:

    May we conclude from the mention of the Scottish tattoo that you have embraced “Robbie Burns Day” and your Scottish heritage over your rich Irish ancestry?


  7. WomanBitesDog Says:

    Now the pagans knew how to party. Great read.


  8. Life With The Top Down Says:

    Couldn’t agree more, it’s nothing more than a drink fest.


  9. Lenore Diane Says:

    I think I am going to have to par’take in 2 pints of Guinness after learning the real background to St. Pat’s Day. How many more days until Halloween?


  10. mistyslaws Says:

    Oy. It’s enough to make you want to drink copious amounts of alcohol to forget about the misrepresentation of this historic day. Cheers!


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Maybe that’s what’s going on: Half of Boston is angry and gets drunk because of how the holiday is represented, then forgets why they’re drinking and says, “Hey! A parade!”


  11. Michael Says:

    I don’t know about the rest of it, but I had heard about Patrick being English and his real name before. Granted, I learned it from a VeggieTales video narrated by a talking worm named Khalil, but still. Now I know!


  12. rachelocal Says:

    A fellow Scot! Now I know why we feel the same way about St. Patrick’s Day. Being from Boston, I’ve always felt St. Patty’s Day is overexposed and misunderstood.

    But I feel annoyed in general by American’s tendency to use any excuse to get drunk or overindulge: “It’s Valentine’s Day, lets eat all the chocolate and drink all the red wine!” “It’s the Superbowl, let’s eat all the nachos and drink all the beer!”

    This coming from the girl who says (frequently), “I’m seeing Jules today, let’s drink all the champagne!”


  13. andshelaughs Says:

    Sorry. Can’t allow you to kill my St. Pat’s buzz, whatever the truth may be. I’m just an Irish gal who has a wee bit’o spring fever this time of year. Happy St. Patrick’s Day Byronic Man 😉


  14. She's a Maineiac Says:

    Yeah, who really needs another excuse to drink? I just wake up and Boom! there’s a good excuse right there. Oh, and I’m Irish too, so there’s that.


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      I suppose it could break up the monotony. “Why are you drinking at 9 am?” “Because life has ground me down to a blunt nub of the… hey, wait, it’s St. Patrick’s Day! That’s why!”


  15. Eagle Tech Says:

    I’ve given up going out to the pub on St. Patty’s Day. It’s when all the “amateur drinkers” come out and get sloshed on a single pint of Guinness. It really ruins things for us “veterans,” soberly mulling over the cosmic significance of a ice cube’s travel through alcohol.


  16. 1pointperspective Says:

    As tempted as I am to just write “Amen”, I’m worried that I’ll appear too religious – and any amount of religious is too much for yours truly.

    As I documented about a year ago, St. Patrick’s Day like Cinco de Mayo and New Years Eve, have become nothing more than over-blown excuses for over indulgence and – not to sound snobbish – amateur drinking.

    The Irish should be offended what this holiday has come to symbolize.


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      They really should – and I know some who are, but even more who embrace it. I’d say they’re looking at the silver lining, but that’s not a quality the Irish are renown for..


  17. Dana Says:

    The city where I grew up hosts a 10-day orgy of rodeos, cowboy culture, bad country music, line dancing, testicle eating, and throwing up on carnival rides every year. EVERYONE (minus Ms. Buzzkill here) uses this festival as an excuse to get piss drunk and act belligerent for 10 days in July. Even the corporate folk dress up in Wranglers and skip work for a week and a half. What gives? Buzzkill girl here used to work at a sexual health centre and guess when a million people came in for pregnancy and STD tests each year? You betcha– 4-6 weeks after said rodeo orgy. It makes me feel gross all over knowing how many people were/are hooking up with denim-clad strangers and slobbering all over each other to the musical “stylings” of Toby Keith. [full body shudder]

    ANYWAY, that long lead-in was a way to let you know that I, too, am a St. Patrick’s Day buzzkill. (I could even be a Buzzkill buzzkill. I’m *that* good at sapping the energy out of any alcohol-fueled celebration.) Let’s go start a Miserable club… but preferably not in a bar.


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      See, I held out, thinking, “well, maybe it’s an actual cowboy blow-out” but then you got to the Toby Keith…

      Plus, it seems like any time there’s that grotesque, over-indulgence it’s not real – like it’s always people venting and playing dress up. The real cowboys are exhausted from working and had some beers and went to bed at 8:30 because they have to be up at 4:00am.


  18. contimplating.com Says:

    Mmmmm Jameson’s. I’m sorry, what did you say?


  19. Go Jules Go Says:

    Oops, I am late to this party, but NOT because I was too busy wearing green and talking like the Lucky Charms leprechaun. Noooo.

    Hey, why is no one drinking at this party? And everyone’s dressed in black… And why is the host in the corner muttering “Harumph and Stupid and Brain Dead and Listen To The Velvet Undergound, heathens!”?


  20. Sandy Sue Says:

    Yes and Yes to everything you said. Maewyn Succat probably tried subverting the pagan folk (stealing the holidays was just a start), but plenty of torture and burning happened, too.
    Samhain is my Holiday of Choice, but I try to mark all the Cross Quarters on the pagan calendar as a tribute to my ancestors. This year, though, I felt compelled to blog on the “official” holiday. Just to say how much I love the “homeland” and how much I want to put my feet on it.
    You keep right on grumbling and mocking this unworthy celebration, brother. I’ll stand right beside you with my Bono CDs blaring.


  21. Elyse Says:

    I’m Irish (pasty variety, sadly, not black irish). I love the music, the literature, the wit. St. Paddy’s day? Less so. I’m not in favor of anything that makes people think they should get drunk and puke.


  22. thesinglecell Says:

    Just so you know? I didn’t even read this. Nope. Clicked on it and immediately scrolled all the way down just to leave you this note to tell you that I refuse to allow you to rain on my culturally sensitive parade.


  23. List of X Says:

    I have zero Irish blood, and approximately as much alcohol in me on average, but this Sunday I wore green and went to the parade for the first time in my life. Mainly so that I could check it off the list of random things I have to do.


  24. pegoleg Says:

    I don’t know…I think there’s room to celebrate both the Catholicism AND the ancient customs that were co-opted into it in Ireland. That’s what the Irish people do.

    As to the alcoholism, I think you’re right. My mom (100% Irish) always said she thinks we have the tendency dyed in our collective wool. I used to think she was nuts. Now that I have some experience of life, I’ve known enough of us who are alcoholics that I have to agree.


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