Monday, March 17, 2014

Day 224 of 365: Being Irish

I grew up in a very Irish household. We had it all: from corned beef to boiled dinners to drunken great-uncle singing old drinking songs. I get a sunburn from spending too much time by a window. I have a very short fuse and it's never the important things that set it off. I take pride in my celtic heritage, warts and all.

Although the one thing I won't be participating in that my Irish (and fake Irish) people alike partake in is the copious amount of drinking. The older I get, the less interested I am in alcohol. It's to the point that I went out to dinner a few nights ago, had one whole glass of white wine, and considered that the maximum of alcohol I enjoy at any given period.

The Irish get a reputation for being drunks and, to be fair, it's well-earned. And today, much like Cinco de Mayo, is just an excuse for people to drink a little more and swear up and down that they don't have a drinking problem.

But, at least in the Boston area, St Patrick's Day is a little something more. We have parades -- not to boast about Guinness and Magners and how drunk we can get -- but to celebrate the fact that 90% of us are descendants of Irish immigrants, back when "Irish Need Not Apply" was actually a thing (and Irish people weren't considered "white", which is hilarious because we're probably the palest group of people in the history of the world). We wear "Kiss Me, I'm Irish," unironically.

We're damn proud to be Irish-American, the same way we are damn proud to be Bostonian. All the flaws that come with the titles are negligible. And yes, this holiday means a ton of college students will crowd every bar within a 50 mile radius, get plastered, and do stupid shit. But hey, it comes with the territory.

For me, St. Patrick's Day is also my half-birthday. I don't know why, but I get a huge kick out of the fact that my half-birthday rests on St. Patrick's Day, even though the concept of "half birthdays" mean nothing after you turn 13. But, still, it's another reminder that time is going forward -- that I am indeed getting older -- and that I'm evolving as a person. Which includes being super Irish and not touching a drop of alcohol on St Patrick's Day.

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