The Irish love nothing more than some communal suffering. It’s my theory that this is the spirit in which the Chicago St. Patrick’s Day parade was devised.I’ve never been a fan of this particular parade. I’m even less of a fan of Lincoln Park during the weeks leading up to St. Pat’s (or as I have taken to calling it, “Spring Awakening for Douchebags.”)
As is the case with so many things, my sentimental understanding of this holiday is totally incongruent with reality, and I present the argument that’s because this particular reality is, plainly, the worst. In my mind, St. Patrick’s day involves Bing Crosby singing things like “Two Shillelagh O’Sullivan” and “The Isle of Innisfree” from a cassette tape my mom played over and over in the car in the weeks leading up to March 17th, wool sweaters, Guinness, freckles, colcannon, soda bread, “The Quiet Man,” and the repurposing of brisket as a “treat.” For years my grandparents, whose various ancestors had arrived in New York during the previous century on coffin ships, hosted a St. Patrick’s Day party so festive that relatives flew in just for the occasion. The evening always degenerated into hours of singing, and in later years more and more neighbors were invited as the noise extended further and further down the block.