7 reasons to raise a pint this St. Paddy's Day

March 12, 2010|by Jordan Bartel | jordan@bthesite.com | b free daily

It's not the most difficult assignment -- describing the best things about St. Patrick's Day. Actually, most (especially many at b) would say that the most popular thing about St. Paddy's is also the best thing -- the drinking. Yes, that's fun (and made our list), but there are other reasons to forgo your sensible fear of gingers and head out on the greenest of green days. Here are seven reasons the holiday is one of our fave days of the year.

1. Unabashed liver damage: Look, any holiday could be an all-day drinking affair -- just ask our inappropriate Uncle Herb. But St. Patrick's Day is pretty much the only holiday where you look like a freak if you're even a little bit sober. Oh, you can drive? Weak -- get a cab. So daylong carousing is a must, especially since it's universally understood that the Wednesday after St. Paddy's is Mass Hangover Day (not observed in Canada). And while other holidays have specific alcoholic drinks tied into them, St. Patrick's Day is a free-for-all. Sure, you can slug some whiskey or a pint of Guinness, but no one is going to give you a hard time if you include other non-Irish drinks in the mix. That leads us to another great thing about the day: Tipsy Taxi, the best invention after the lightbulb and fire.

2. Drinking songs: You don't even have to know the words or what they mean. Wrap your arms around the boozers to the left and right of you, sway slowly and mumble something slightly intelligible. You feel as if you're an Irish fishmonger or hardened coal miner. For an afternoon.

3. Baltimore St. Patrick's Day/Shamrock 5K: It's nowhere near the biggest or best St. Patrick's Day parade in the country, but Baltimore's has its own quirky charm. Bagpipers! Policemen! Children dancing! And you get to watch it all right outside (or peering from outside your favorite bar * cough* Mick O'Shea's *cough.*) Also, we should feel like lazy bums as we drink away while the devoted Shamrock 5K runners do their thing, but it's so much fun expanding your beer belly while others eliminate theirs. Temporarily.

4. It unites us: If you're from America, there's a good chance you have a bit of Irish in you (um, except for, you know, the many who lived in North America before everyone else). We've never heard someone judge us when we say we’re ⅙ Irish and we don't really know the Irish last name of our ancestors. It's all good. Everyone's Irish for a day, and no one cares the degree of that Irishness.

5. The hot messes in Canton Square: Canton Square is the unofficial site of the spectator sport known as watching drunk asses attempt to function normally. One year we spotted the following: Someone entering a Porta-Potty and then strangers kicking it over; a woman feeding her collie Guinness; someone running around shouting "I'm Irish" as beer bottles fell out of his jeans pockets; and a fistfight between two guys wearing furry Irish tweed caps. In other words, go to the Square. But don't try to park anywhere near Canton. You'll still be looking for a spot when next year's St. Paddy's Day rolls around.

6. No one really knows what the holiday is: Yes, it honors St. Patrick. But this is a dude who may or may not have been born in Ireland. He may or may not have been named Patrick. He definitely didn't drive the snakes out of the country. And he's vaguely connected to religion. Or something. It doesn't really matter -- people love the guy. But what does dyeing rivers green really mean? Oh, well. It looks pretty.

7. The slang: The day's basically the only one where you can say "Erin Go Bragh" and not sound like a belligerent homeless person, but it goes beyond that. Irish slang is wicked fun/cool! And no matter the level of vulgarity, you sort-of sound sophisticated. "Bang on" means correct; "boyo" is a male juvenile delinquent; "gammy" means funny looking; "locked" means very drunk. Even the ones we don't understand are awesome -- "knacker drinking" means to drink outside illegally and a "gurrier" is a hooligan. Practice when you go out, you gammy boyo.

Jordan Bartel is assistant editor at b. Follow him on Twitter, @jordanbartel.

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