Green is a word that has taken on many negative connotations for me in the past few months as I have tried to grapple with the more liberal aspects of its precise meaning. My patience has grown thin with all the howling and gnashing of teeth about saving the Earth, animal rights and the need to combat Global Warming. But I will not enter into some heedless diatribe or screed against all the flakes out there wasting their time on Red Herrings today. Or, perhaps, Green Herrings, eh?
No, indeed. Today is, after all, Saint Patrick’s Day and my mind is filled with many other more pressing matters. Or at least seemingly so. And, with the Luck of the Irish, maybe I can manage to stumble through yet another secular-cum-Roman Catholic Holiday without getting too angry about it…for various reasons.
Most of my displeasure arises, as usual, with all the histrionic myths that have grown up around St. Patrick, almost all of which are patently false. (I know it must feel as though I spend all my time deriding anything that comes down the pipe but I have reasons for my displeasure that I’m sure a lot of you may well understand.) St. Patrick lived a life that occurred circa 385-461 AD and most of the nonsense you’ve heard about him chasing snakes out of Ireland is complete balderdash and deserves no merit anywhere, much less here. He was actually British and was taken to Ireland as a captive by forces attacking his family’s estate and, after escaping his captors and hearing the ubiquitous and requisite “voices,” he decided to return to Ireland as a Christian missionary. After spending fifteen years studying to enter the priesthood he returned to the Green Isle to set about his work. He ended up incorporating the Pagan elements of the Irish tradition of worship into his ceremonies in his zeal for conversion. So the act of celebrating Easter with bonfires was born, along with a lot of other “distasteful” elements that rubbed the Church in the wrong way. But the Church has always had a penchant for finding ways around such troubles. St. Patrick’s Day is observed on March 17th because this is the supposed day on which he shuffled off his mortal coil and joined the ranks of the canonized.
And, as fate would have it, the Roman Catholic Church, in its superior and unflagging wisdom, moved the annual celebration of St. Patrick’s Day this year, in Ireland at least, to March the 15th, because they cannot abide to endure the debauchery of the holiday when it falls during Holy Week; as it does in 2008. They have been at least marginally flexible with this particular holiday, since it falls within Lent, by providing an indult concerning Fish on Fridays. This practice has become known as the Indult of Corned-Beef, if you can believe such things. It’s merely another example of the True Religious Meaning of dogma and practice being usurped by the more secular need to get roaring drunk and coat the lining of the stomach with something more substantial than ichthyoid-based proteins. And now we seem to have drifted back into the subject of Green Herrings.
But I won’t waste any more time discussing the retardation that seems to flow endlessly from Rome; I have other troubles on my plate today. I am, myself, of Irish descent and I’ve always had a very soft spot for old Saint Paddy. The real trouble is that I’m also of Native American descent; namely: Cherokee, and this dreadful combination only insures that I have a powerful weakness for the whiskey when it begins to flow in earnest. And, as most of us realize, St. Patrick’s Day is the busiest “bar Day” of the year; even before New Year’s Eve if you can believe it. So the Danger is running high for feeble-minded suckers like me today and the Call is hard to ignore when one reflects on how much whiskey is being held captive in bottles on shelves behind countless bars all across the land and Liberation seems only a short tab away. Yes…the gutters will flow today with green-tinted vomit and urine and everyone who is, even marginally, Irish will be kissed more times than the Blarney Stone (with any luck.) It will be a Carnival Atmosphere and I already know that I’ll hate missing it; and miss it I must. For I have many weaknesses and my overweening lust for whiskey is merely the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
In fact, news came my way today that an old friend in Nebraska is, even now, writing a novel that is “loosely based” on my life. I feel certain that this is a direct act of revenge for the horrible scene that I caused at his wedding a few years ago and I’m quite sure that it will be filled with mean and hateful things aimed at this tedious part of my life and aspect of my character. I did, however, manage to feel the Urge then as well and got literally “Blind Drunk” and I found a way to insult and embarrass his entire retinue of friends, relatives and well-wishers. I’m sure that the expiation of that guilt will take more time than I have to devote to it and I feel the uneasy, gnawing fear that the bastard’s erstwhile novel will almost certainly see publication. But that’s just my faggoty-ass luck as far as these things go. Some myths die much harder than others, as I’m sure St. Patrick would testify if circumstances allowed it.
Not only do I have that particular Sword of Damocles hanging over my head, but I must also deal with the constant knowledge that my progeny will soon be celebrating his “Coming Out” party and I have to prepare physically, emotionally and economically for that arrival; which is no mean feat in itself. I have to wrestle with many moral questions and find a way to hone down my ethical apathy enough to envision myself as, at least, an acceptable father. This has become an almost constant subject of worry with which I do serious battle every time I feel the Need to hunker down in some dark corner and let the Drink do the thinking for both of us. And nothing good can come from that.
Add to that the usual pressure of professional obligations, my attempts to finish about four different artistic endeavors in film, writing and music and the daily nagging of friends, family and my domestic partner who all seem to have no qualms about taking up far too much of my personal time and you can just about see the kind of sick, twisted glee I could find in slipping off to get fashionably drunk in the early evening hours of yet another St. Patrick’s Day. A gig like that would’ve been easy to pull off just a few long months ago when nobody was really that interested in where I was or how I was spending my time (or money.) Sometimes I feel a vague and frightening desire to return to those days, but I’m a little smarter than I used to be. Or so I hope. And, as always, I managed to accomplish so much in that time and yet still remain completely dissipated…but I did it all with high tone and fine style. But style is, more often than not, a matter of opinion and I’m running out of those these days.
So let not your hearts be troubled by my ramblings on what is just another chance to thumb our collective nose at the Papal Seat and get falling down drunk into the bargain as well. Just remember that I may well fall prey to Dark Lust and end up stalking my desire in some lonesome bar room where the girls will be awaiting my company and the lights will be lit until closing time and another St. Paddy’s Day will be history. Keep your eyes open for me and if we happen to end up on adjacent stools…well, Kiss me…I’m Irish.
May the Road Rise to Meet you.