Saint Pats; Celebratory Hyperbole


Each year I have the need to go out and remind myself why I think St. Patrick’s Day is the saddest holiday of them all. This year was no different. I did a pretty good bar crawl across Sleepytown to witness how Indianapolis watering holes and historically deemed places of Irish celebration took on the DrinkFest America has turned the holiday into. America has molded St. Pat’s Day into a monstrosity that has little or no connection to the origin of the Irish celebration, like we did with Cinco de Mayo and Easter. We tend to take things to extreme out of frustration and our instinct to create a societal bastardization of a good thing kicks in way too often. Our celebrations, our politics, our religion….we mutate them into sad statements on our culture as a whole. Saint Patrick’s Day proves that to me each and every year.

The weather was grey and a bit on the wet side for Patty’s Day, but it wasn’t nasty enough to keep the crowds inside. The rash of pounding we’ve all received from our politics as of late is leaving everyone with a desire to go out and purge the poison our media pumps us with on a daily-hourly-basis. For a successful St. Pat’s evening for bar owners, the weather just needs to be a bit tolerable, a bit on the sweater rather than coat side, and the masses will get out to drink cheap green colored alcohol – and not just any alcohol, but the low end margin of beers and bar liquor priced to make a killing for the bar owners.The kind of liquor guaranteed to give most of us a fuzzy headache the next day; everyone seems to be re-reminded of that, each and every year. I ran into cheap Irish Car Bombs being made with some off-brand whisky and felt the crime in not using Jameson for an Irish Car Bomb. No Jameson in your car bomb? To hell with tradition, they want to make an extra dollar. Budweiser went into full production with green colored aluminum cans of their headache beer to sell the masses for an outrageous price. One of the stops along my crawl deemed a ‘must-see’ for St. Patty’s Day in Indy, was some small dive that made you pay a five dollar cover, just so we could be hustled back behind the bar where you stood around in a rocky, wet, muddy pit of depression with the other bastards who paid to get there. No free token for the five dollar cover, just expensive brats and cheap green colored spit I would not touch. One of the bars I attended (probably a pretty standard practice) sectioned off patrons so those buying hard liquor inside the bar weren’t allowed to take it outside in the open air/tent area. Some festering little law somewhere, I suppose, to keep the bar owners from losing their ass when one of the amateurs drinking cheap green beer decides to order a Crown and Coke and goes off the deep end, but this just brought my attention even more, as to how they had this entire event corralled into something not as fun and light as it should be.

One day prior to Saint Pat’s I went to a small local event in my neighborhood; Open Mic Poetry night, which is held at a little coffee shop near by, as all poetry readings should be. That’s one tradition they haven’t fucked apart yet and I try to support events like this when they happen. The small crowed gathered and listened as people went up to the microphone to pour out their emotions. True therapy for those listening, as well as those performing. For many attending, this is their one vestige of sanity from the demented world we all work so hard to create. Real life encounters with drug abuse and suicide, worthless relationships and all sorts of torture, all those problems, put on paper and read to a crowd for the sake of feeling better about themselves. Some times, people can cope, as long as they have a little window to look through, somewhere to participate in something as simplistic as poetry reading. For that moment, they are a star and the world applauds them, in spite their fucked up lives and fucked up minds..for a little while, they are loved.

-The next day I witness St. Patrick’s Day and see the inibrietated approach to soothing the nation’s temperament. I suppose all that green beer gave momentary happiness to folks who never get out, never attend a poetry reading, or see a local play. I suppose for the people who never see a burlesque show put on by the artisans who do it for the love of the craft, not for the money, St. Patrick’s Day is what they’ve come to expect, and nothing more. I suppose it’s quicker to them than hunting down a show of local indie bands they could go listen to. They get out that one evening and drink themselves into a stupor just to surmise that all neighborhood celebrations must be like this; a night of over priced alcohol in a forced social surrounding of green hats and bad attempts at Irish music and it forces them to stay in, assuming all events are like this…and that is why I loathe Saint Patrick’s Day so much..not for what it is, but for what it is not.


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