Friday, March 16, 2007

Pinch Me--I'm Clueless

What’s all the hubitty-ub-bub about St. Patrick’s day, folks? Once I spent an entire recess period scouring the field for four-leaf clovers, and I invited a girl to keep me company. She found a winner and proceeded to have good luck for the rest of the day. I resigned myself to playfully chasing people who forgot to wear green. Then I turned eleven and stopped caring. Now I just pinch people to cause pain.

Is it the tale of how Saint Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland that keeps people insistent on celebrating? I feel no connection to that country via this Saint. I feel closer to the land when I picture a man cutting a bar of green soap with a knife. It proceeds to froth and cover the man in bubbles while still fully clothed. That’s the luck o’ the Irish: they get to play with magic soap over rolling green hills and eat cereal with marshmallows all day.

Maybe I don’t enjoy the holiday because I don’t drink beer by the pint. I savor it in sips--smacking my lips, saying, “Ahhhhh!” and then testing its effect on my balance by wobbling from side to side. Sometimes I snake my head like Axl Rose and get sleepy eyes. Usually by the third sip.

When I found out part of my family is descended from Ireland, I earnestly picked up Angela’s Ashes and prepared to relate. But short of one shared experience (Frank McCourt used to lick the grease off of newspaper from fish and chips, and I eat the cheese off of my McGriddle wrapper) I can’t say the grief and struggle resonates with me.

I want in the club. I want to know what makes people get goofy about the holiday. I want to swear and sing and get kicked out of a bar. But most importantly I want to find a four leaf clover, and maybe that girl’s hair will fall out.


The Wifest said...

How many blogs do you have, Abbi? I didn't know that this one existed. I'm going to bookmark it.

I was reminded last year on St. Patrick's Day about a strange school aged occurrence. While most of the year, it's awkward and slightly inappropriate to ask people about their racial heritage or family lineage, on March 17th while everyone is wearing green, all etiquette is thrown out the window. You are allowed and even expected to ask all your friends and anyone else you know, "What are you?"

Then, as the tradition goes, you are allowed to answer with a lie and tell your friends that you are at least 1/16 Irish. I saw this happening with the middleschoolers who come into the coffee shop for lunch. A group of Jewish girls all told each other that besides being from Eastern Europe they were also part Irish. Then a girl who speaks Polish at home because her parents moved to New York from Poland right before she was born, told another girl that she was "a little bit Irish too."

I remember doing myself. My family, on both sides, as far as the family tree grows, is German. But on St. Patrick's Day, I would tell everyone that my dad's side was German, but my Mom's side was German, French, AND Irish. I have no idea why I felt compelled to say this.

Should Brian and I ever have children, they will fair better come March. They will be able to honestly answer the St. Patrick's Day questions. They can say, my mom is German and my dad is Scottish, Irish, Austrian, and not enough Native American to get a scholarship.

Abbi said...

That's hilarious, Wifest! And might I congratulate you on writing a blog within a blog. You are the Russian doll manufacturer of online posts. Paradox: we all claim to be Irish but none of us will support Michael Flatley.