Saturdays are good days for most people: the first day off from the work week, but not the last. A day to sleep in. A day to spend doing whatever it is you (not your boss) want you to do.
But if you live in America, this Saturday is not a good day. This Saturday is a very bad day.
Why? Because today is St. Patrick’s Day. Now if you’re Irish, St. Patrick’s Day will probably mean something to you—after all, St. Patrick is your patron saint and God knows patron saints are important on this side of the Atlantic (one of the prep questions for the British citizenship test requires would-be citizens to name the four saints and put their holidays in calendar order, though this hardly seems indicative of being ready to be British). So Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you lot. I’ve got nothing against the Irish (except Bono): you gave us Graham Linehan and Dara O Briain, so no doubt you’ll be relieved to know you’re all right by me.
But I do have something against the American celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. First off, for almost every other day of the year, Americans are all about America. If you say you’re African-American, that’s political correctness gone mad and you’re asked to show papers indicating that you or one of your parents actually came from Africa (and it’d better be from one of the countries in Africa that Americans actually know). You might hear the term “Arab-American” bandied about; this is just fancy talk for terrorist. And if someone calls themselves Mexican-American, this is likely to mean: drug smuggler, job stealer, and/or lazy bones. Americans like Americans (Native ones the exceptions, of course). The USA is all about only full-blooded Americans.
Except on St. Patrick’s Day.
Then all of a sudden, everyone is Irish-American. Proving you’re Irish-American is relatively easy, no papers need to be produced. Here is the test:
1. Are you from Boston? If so, you pass.
2. Have you heard of u2, the potato famine or Riverdance? Please go to the head of the class.
3. Do you like drinking and do you own anything green? That’s good enough.
St. Patrick’s Day in America is not about celebrating Irish heritage or any of St. Patrick’s super great deeds (apparently we’re talking a thousand miracles here, people). St. Patrick’s Day in America is about getting drunk. Then getting drunk again. And if you’ve got the time, you can sneak in one more getting drunk. This means it is also about vomiting, and since many drink green beer (because they’re hardcore Irish, you see), this means green vomit. And the fact that this year, St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Saturday when most (save vicars) don’t need to get up to work the next morning, well, it’s going to get ugly.
In case you think I’m hating on Americans, I’m not. As you know there is plenty to love about my little old United States of America. I don’t hate Americans. I don’t hate anyone. Except Bono.
I hate Bono.
Note: Yes, I do also hate Jeremy Irons. But I’m saving that wrath for 23 April.