St. Patrick's Day Is The Worst


Yesterday was Chicago’s official citywide celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, that day when people don green and white striped rugby shirts and plastic shamrock beads and large plastic green glasses and oversized novelty green top hats and shiny green necklaces with attached shot glasses that read “KISS ME, I’M IRISH” stamped on the side. There’s a parade downtown and Mayor Daley looks even more like Mayor Quimby from The Simpsons than usual and then everyone spends the rest of day getting drunk on watery beer and then getting into arguments and then crying and then having loud, embarrassing conversations about weddings in Schaumberg, hungover at 5 pm at that Italian beef place near Clark and Diversey. They drive party trollies up and down Belmont and yell “WOOOO!” out of the windows and fall down on the sidewalks and puke in garbage cans and pee in alleyways and utilize the entire surfaces of their tongues in making out with each other. Yesterday afternoon, as I wandered around the City of the Big Shoulders, I came to a startling realization: I hate how we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day here. I hate it.

While relief washed over me for finally admitting something I’ve known in my heart of hearts for years, I now feel like a Bad Irish Person or a Bad Collegiate Alumni or a Bad Chicagoan. My real name is- I’m not even making this up- Erin Gloria Ryan, which might as well be Irish Fancypants McIreland. Also, I went to college at Notre Dame, which calls itself the Fightin’ Irish and boasts a student body who celebrates touchdowns by collectively step dancing in the bleachers, and I wouldn’t be surprised if writing this got me blacklisted in the annual football ticket lottery and I never saw the inside of the stadium again. I live in Chicago, which has a notoriously/famously lively Irish community that celebrates St. Patrick’s Day with enthusiasm usually reserved for sports championships. And finally, I enjoy drinking alcohol. All of these things should add up to me enjoying a holiday that supposedly commemorates Irish-ness, but it doesn’t. I don’t get a kick out of being around the enforced sloppy revelry and I find getting on a bus full of people who are already beginning to sweat out metabolized Miller Lite at 3 pm crushingly depressing.

So what? You might counter. If you don’t like it when people are having fun, then don’t Grinch on St. Patrick’s Day. Just don’t go out. Just don’t.

Point taken. I’d never campaign to outlaw St. Patrick’s Day celebrations or take everyone’s precious fun and light up FUCK ME, I’M DRUNK! promotional bar steins away from them. I’m writing this now because I simply want others who share my (ir?)rational disdain for celebrating a saint’s day by getting drunk for 12 hours straight in March to feel like they’re not alone.

An informal survey of random people that I know everyone has holidays that they irrationally dislike. Some people hate New Year’s Eve (crowded, expensive, overhyped, impossible to find a cab, freezing cold). Others can’t stand Christmas (consumerism! forced merriment! that cloying “Christmas Shoes” song that they keep playing on the Lite Rock station at the grocery store!). Others, Thanksgiving (it just hasn’t been the same since Uncle Steve started dating his son’s ex wife).

So, readers, what are your thoughts? Do you share my disdain for the Greenest of Days? Am I being a big poopface? Is there another holiday more worthy of my derision? Let your hater flags fly in the comments.

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