Merry St. Patrick’s Day…and Happy Birthday to The Brother

I wrote this a few years ago for Spotlight Magazine. It has since become my little brother’s birthday card. One year I posted it on the FaceBooks…Heberble wrote in the comments one of the funniest things I’ve ever read about St Patty’s. Heberble: I always imagined St. Patrick much like Samuel Jackson. “Get these muthaf**kin’ snakes of the muthaf**kin’ island. I hope he gets his own holiday, too.” Heberble makes me laugh.

Saint Patrick’s Day is my favorite holiday. I grew up believing that March 17th was observed because it was my brother’s birthday. If you ever have the opportunity to be born on a day that most of the English speaking world celebrates, I highly recommend it. A few years ago my birthday fell on Super Bowl Sunday. Enjoying everyone unknowingly joining me for a birthday toast, I realized that my brother experiences this phenomenon every year. It rocked.

Aside from being the anniversary of my brother’s birth, St. Patrick’s Day is for honoring Saint Patrick’s various religious accomplishments, and as legend has it, for chasing the snakes out of Ireland. Who wouldn’t want to revel in this? Forget the Easter Bunny. I’m for the snake-chasing guy. The good Saint died on March 17th, 460 A.D., which is really ironic. The odds of dying on the holiday named after you have got to be like 1 in 1000.

St. Samuel O' Patrick

Most of us don’t know or care why we celebrate. We’re just happy for an opportunity to add green food coloring to our beverage of choice, listen to Patrick Rock, eat some corned beef, find someone wearing a “kiss me, I’m Irish” button, buy them a few (8) Irish Car Bombs, and propose marriage…or something equally inappropriate. These aren’t the only traditions we observe. I have spotty memories of some pinching incidents from my childhood. On this day it was okay to discriminate due to shirt/underwear color and pinch the non-green garbed offenders. After doing an exhaustive amount of research during the last ten minutes, I could find no reference as to why we pinched the green-less. Having no children, I don’t know if the pinching tradition is still practiced. In today’s politically correct climate, I’d imagine that it has taken on less violent forms of ridicule, like pelting with moldy tofu.

Flipping around between basketball games this weekend, I ran across the movie “Waiting”. It’s a movie anyone who has ever waited tables or eaten in a restaurant should see (DISCLAIMER: Don’t take this advice if you, 1. have ever sent back a steak, or 2. did not laugh once during “The 40 Year Old Virgin”). About ninety-eight percent of the movie takes place in a restaurant called Shenanigans. The décor and logo are so akin to Bennigan’s I can’t believe that a bunch of leprechaun lawyers haven’t gone magically litigious on the producers. Bennigan’s on High Point Road used to be the Saint Patrick’s Day destination. The parking lot would be filled with tents, bands, and beautiful people wearing green. We always got there early and parked across from Hooter’s, but there were rumors of people who arrived after the St Patrick’s Ball dropped, and had to walk over a mile from where they parked. It was worse than Music in the Park when it’s at Latham Park.

Bennigan’s went away. Fortunately, M’Coul’s jumped into the fray a few years ago, sparking Greensboro’s downtown renaissance. They celebrate with tents, bands, Irish food and drink. They even have a limerick competition (I retired from competitive limerick writing after winning the contest an exhausting one-year in a row. The sport is just getting too commercial and I’m a purest).

Last year, one of the Mexican restaurants in town had a big soiree. Or maybe that was Cinco de Mayo. In any case, most restaurants in Greensboro provide an opportunity to take part in the annual debauchery.

The Brothers...past and really past...

As you are out and about, try to remember what’s important: don’t drink and drive, snakes are bad, regurgitated green beer stains, and most of all, the reason for the season…my little brother’s birthday.

Incidentally, Ireland has never had an indigenous snake; St. Patrick is actually a guy named Maewyn Succat from Scotland, and I’m pretty sure my brother is adopted.

Merry Saint Patrick’s Day (…and Happy Birthday, Steven)