The problems with St. Paddy's Day

Another St. Patrick's Day has passed. There were no reports in Medford of teenagers burning to death in multiple DUII crashes and, as far as I know, there still are no snakes in Ireland.

A success? Probably.

However, like the banking industry, there is much to be done to clean up St. Patrick's Day and get it moving in the right direction.

The following is a list of my primary complaints on how ugly Americans choose to celebrate Ireland's patron saint. It is by no means a comprehensive list, but I believe it's a good start.

Outlaw green beer


That's the only word I can conjure to describe the specter of green beer pouring from normally trustworthy taps across this great land come March 17.

I ventured out to the Gypsy in Medford for this past St. Paddy's Day and accidentally ingested green beer. I ordered a pint of Coors Light — my first mistake — and took my eyes off the prize to check out the band. When I turned for my beer I was faced with a pint of bile-tinged sludge placed before me.

Yeah, I drank it, but paid the price for my negligence. My friend and his wife made fun of the green ring around my mouth for the rest of my evening. I suddenly had turned into that poor kid you derided on the school bus for that perpetual Kool-Aid stain around his lips.

At first, I had no idea what they found so funny. Then I happened to glance at myself in the mirror and realized I looked like a freshly turned George Romero zombie, complete with rotted teeth and black lips.

Places actually use this ridiculous marketing scheme to attract St. Paddy's Day victims. Think about it. There exists an army of one-night-a-year alcoholics who seek this out. And we wonder where it all went wrong in this country.

The one clear fact is bartenders hate St. Paddy's Day partially because of green beer. I've spoken with these people on the record who describe the green stains tattooed on their hands from pouring this vile substance. It doesn't just wash off. No. You have to wait it out.

Apparently, it takes weeks. I hope it was worth it.

Amateur hour

There's nothing worse than stopping by your favorite watering hole to celebrate some important religious holiday you don't ascribe to and find it has been commodified by reckless drunks who bought into a marketing deluge.

You've seen them. They are strangers who suddenly appear in your bar who have stored up their hard-drinking efforts for the entire year in an attempt to burn the candle at both ends just because they were told to wear green on a certain day and celebrate a culture they have little or no connection with.


They find solace in their sheer numbers on corporate-created holidays such as Memorial Day, Valentine's Day, Cinco de Mayo and, sadly, St. Patrick's Day.

Why worry about your disgusting behavior on March 17, when you know you will blend in perfectly with the crowd?

Believe it or not, Medford is a fairly quiet place. I like that. However, on my way to 4 Daughters Irish Pub this past St. Paddy's night, I passed by a poor girl in high heels puking next to a Honda Accord as her boyfriend attempted to coddle her, and outside the pub there was aother couple involved in a fairly animated fight.

My question: Is it worth it? You're not even Irish.

Can you imagine alienating yourself from your respectable friends or breaking up with a loved one just because you decided to make a sloppy ass of yourself on the day ol' Patrick supposedly drove serpents from a place you've never been?

Is this worth burning bridges?

Apparently so, according to the marketing blitzes preceding St. Paddy's Day. I'm sure the patron saint is rolling in his grave.

Which brings us to...

Cultural assassination

My best friend John Dalke was born in Ireland and still has a family farm there he attends to every couple of years.

Understandably, he and his family are more than a little put off by our treating a strictly religious holiday in his homeland as an excuse to apply green dye to brew and wear leprechaun gear to our jobs.

Dalke has spent a St. Paddy's Day in Ireland and described it as a laid-back affair, in which the folk rise early to attend church and adjourn to their homes to spend time with family.

Could you imagine if we learned Brazil was embracing the birth of Jesus as an opportunity to get hammered and throw up all over themselves while bawling out slurred versions of "Silent Night"?

We've bombed countries for less. Deservedly so.

I'm not saying we should ignore the snake-banisher's holiday altogether, but I will argue for some sort of moderation and perhaps a bit of self-reflection.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 776-4471; or e-mail

Share This Story