A Complete Idiot's Guide To St. Patrick's Day


Welcome to “A Complete Idiot’s Guide” where you will be guided by me, a complete idiot. This week? St. Patrick’s Day. Please enjoy this advice, which differs from all the other idiotic advice out there in that instead of being for a complete idiot it is written by a complete idiot. I think that makes all the difference.

As the legend goes, American St. Patrick’s Day was invented by the snakes that Patrick chased out of Ireland. They wanted to tarnish his good name by creating a holiday in the United States that for too many revolves solely around the immature and irresponsible overconsumption of corned beef. Another reason people tend to believe this legend is St. Patrick’s Day incorporates the snakes’ natural habitat: super-long beer bongs.

The best way to celebrate St. Paddy’s day is to start early. In fact, start the week before — or as soon as you see a dancing leprechaun graphic appear on your TV weatherman’s five-day forecast. The dancing leprechaun — possibly accompanied by a four-leaf clover — is the prestigious and demure icon meteorology schools tapped to represent this holiday. Some people think using a dancing mythological numbskull to denote of all Hibernia is a little highfalutin, but as they say in meteorology school: “Let’s get this perfect, or totally wrong. It doesn’t matter really. People can just look out their windows.”

The other best way to celebrate the feast of St. Patrick is to go to a parade. You need to physically and mentally prepare for this event: find a sunny and hot location, and then go for a long, challenging run in jeans. Have two friends run alongside you; make sure they are touching you at all times and screaming. When you finish, pour a Bass Ale over your head. Do this every day for a week, and you will be prepared for your first five minutes of watching the St. Patrick’s Day parade. This is particularly true for New Yorkers who, this year, will be experiencing the perfect storm of a crowd trifecta: a parade scheduled on an unseasonably warm, sunny Saturday.

Another thing is that everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. Even if they’re not Irish.Even if they’re dead, or they never existed at all. Angela Merkel? Irish. Sidney Poitier? Irish. Tony Soprano? Irish. It’s just like how we’re all Jewish on Hanukah and we’re all flags on Flag Day.

If you plan on celebrating post-parade in a pub: make sure you dress up. This is a fancy and special occasion (possibly invented by snakes) with deep religious meaning. Ladies: this is when you break out your most intricately adorned shamrock headbands or, for the more reserved gals, some green face paint. For the gentlemen: shine your most elegant plastic green bowler hats and perhaps an offensive pin about sexual favors in return for your heritage.

Also, remember there is nothing more Irish than the bagpipes. It’s probably better if you bring your own to the parade, just to avoid the occasional marching piper who doesn’t want to share their set. Though if you do forget yours, most of them will give in after a little convincing. For your post-parade meal, steer clear of obvious choices like colcannon or stew. It’s too first thought. Try diving into some formerly hot pretzels or the remnants of a McDonald’s Shamrock shake that will definitely be strewn all over the sidewalk.

Lastly, if you do just one thing to celebrate, drink a Guinness. It’s pretty much the most Irish thing you can do, just slightly ahead of actually being born in Ireland. The beer — brewed for supplementary income by a tiny publishing house that would go on to produce The Guinness Book of World Records — is actually pretty good. It tastes sort of like… Well actually, it tastes exactly like a leprechaun dancing on your tongue.

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