Drunkenness, violence, destruction of property. ..are these what we think of, when we think of the Irish? So wondered ole Kenny Broklestein on The Simpsons.
Today is the one day of the year that being Irish has some decent international cred for some reason. As an Irish man I've no idea why this is so. Perhaps like Halloween, we simply had to give it to America before they perfected it and gave it back to the world.
So a couple of points on this most green of days.
1) It's paddy, not patty.
Patty is either a burger, or Barts auntie. It is not an Irish person of any stripe. Paddy is short for Padraig which is irish for Patrick. It's got nothing to do with rice fields though Ireland is ridiculously wet.
2) America does it better.
Ever since we got tv signals we've eyed American parades with silent begrudging envy because our parades SUCK. It's not because we don't have gays or Puerto Ricans. It's because we are shit at this sort of thing but misplaced national pride prevents us from addressing the problem and fixing it. If you have the chance to spend Patricks day in America or Ireland, go state side.
3) It's not about the alcohol.
We drink like this all the time. Or most of it anyway. We are used to it. For the most part, don't try to keep up. It's not a sport for beginners.
4) The idea of picking on kids who aren't wearing green didn't start with us.
That's your thing.
5) Patrick wasn't Irish.
He was an unwilling immigrant. We accepted him, adopted him, monetised the fuck out of him. That's how you deal with immigrants. Force them to better the country even if they're dead. If we'd kicked up a stink and sent poor Paddy home to Wales, we'd be the poorer for it. And if America had sent all the Paddy's packing, you'd have lost half your police force at a stroke.
So on this day, try to remember the real lessons of the Irish diaspora... make them work hard and exploit them to better your country. It worked for us America, it can work for you too!