On March 17, millions of people take the piss out of Ireland by taking the piss and every other bodily fluid out of themselves, as publicly as possible. The Irish don't celebrate Independence Day by guzzling hamburgers until we throw up over crates of machine guns, and even if we did it would be more respectful. Because at least we imported those things from the U.S. For a country so worked up about immigrants a lot of Americans are absolutely desperate to claim any other nationality. Every St. Patrick's Day drunken North Americans stagger up to tell me their great-grandmother was Irish, and I say great, if she turns up I'll buy her a pint.
And she'll be as flattered by my next offer as you'll be upset.
No one wants to be Irish on Economy Day or Finding A Job Day. Not even the Irish, which is why mass emigration has been our default crisis response since boats were invented. But come Drinking Day suddenly everyone's begorring their leprechauns and generally proving they're as Irish as a really good point guard. So here's your guide to being a terrible fake-Irish person on St. Patrick's Day.
Due to a growth hormone deficiency leprechaun-droppings are small and shiny.
#8. Wear A "Kiss Me I'm Irish" T-Shirt
Feel free to punch anyone wearing one of these. I can guarantee they've already done something to deserve it. This T-shirt is the humor equivalent of an ankle tracking bracelet -- the wearer might not have done anything to you yet, but you probably shouldn't give them the chance. It's less a joke than an announcement of "If you initiate what's coming next it won't count as sexual assault."
My culture's special skill is subdividing pathetically tiny areas into even tinier ones and then getting stupid and violent about it. As a result, our island has more accents per square mile than the United Nations building. We have more blatantly ridiculous dialects than most science-fiction universes. Actual Irish people don't need to advertise their Irishness for the same reason Pavarotti didn't need to wear a name tag -- as soon as we open our mouths people can't understand a damn thing we're saying but love the sound anyway. Actual Irish people don't need to advertise being Irish. And if you meet one who does, well, now you know why that asshole had to leave to find someone who liked him. Because when someone decides the most interesting part of their existence is where their parents decided to have sex, that is one horrible mess of a person.
#7. Call It "St. Patty's Day"
Every time someone calls it "Patty's" they prove they can't get through 24 hours without thinking of hamburgers. Paddy is short for Padraig (even though the d is silent in some dialects). Pat is short for Patrick, which is an English name. You might be aware of a slight history between the two countries. It still sort of works, but it would be like calling Independence Day "Super Happy Funtime Discount Fireworking Celebration!" You get the idea, but you're still naming one nation's celebration based on the language practices of a different nation with a history of causing your compatriots to be blown up by small, badly made explosives.
#6. Wear a Flag Cape
Every year thousands of Americans pretend to be Irish about as convincingly as Greeks pretending to be a horse: it's obvious, it's stupid and anyone falling for it will be very sorry in the morning. The most hilarious method is wearing an Irish flag as a cape. I see this every year and you could only advertise your Americanity harder by being sworn in as president. This might be a shock, United States, but most countries don't use their flag as a hybrid of wallpaper and glitter. We don't feel the need to plaster it over every available surface because patriotism isn't measured by the square meter. In fact, if anyone has a less respectful way to treat a flag than sweating into it, sitting on it and vomiting over it, it's only because the Red Skull has spent 60 years hating Captain America.
This man has the most patriotic pit stains in history.
Unless you're strength incarnate and can list "punching Nazis" on your tax return, wearing your flag is hugely disrespectful. Respecting flags is important because it shows we're almost not retarded as a species. We used to kill anything that wasn't us, then anything that wasn't our family, our tribe, our village and eventually our country. We're only one more step from not being dumbasses. The flag is a nice reminder of that. It's not meant to be the default setting for decorations or a magic anti-terrorism charm. It's definitely not meant to be the cloak of Puking Asshole Man, and double-definitely when it's not even his flag.
"Without these little portable flags, we've found people forget and start being patriotic about TV channels and soft drinks."
#5. Try To Use a Cupla Focail
One thing Irish and American people have in common is why we don't speak our native language: a load of foreigners turned up and it turns out English speakers are just the best at killing natives.
This'll teach those blighters not to be born on an island off the coast of France!
Trying to show off with a cupla focail (few words) works as well in Irish as it does in any language, in that it doesn't. People who don't know the language don't care, and people who just met you don't either. It's like the asshole who insists on loudly ordering sushi by treating Japanese with all the volume, subtlety and careful respect of a tectonic fault. While the waiter thinks "I grew up in Brooklyn, asshole, and even if I didn't maybe working in a Manhattan restaurant means I know English."
"So that's four orders of ball-touched sushi with spit on the side, got it."
Actually knowing other languages is good, but claiming credit for stumbling through a few words is the most patronizing thing you can do to another culture since the Queen stopped deciding she wanted to own them. "See, you're worth a few lazy minutes of my time!" you beam, mispronouncing words their 5-year-old niece manages. "Show me love for bothering to acknowledge your hilarious novelty language!"
It doesn't help that Irish is deader than Romero villains. It's more useful to learn Latin because at least some important books were written in that. Gaeilge sounds like a drunken Klingon coughing up a hairball, and if you want to be Irish and unintelligible we sell far better products.
And this way you're helping our economy!