#4. Thank St. Patrick For Anything
March 17 is the first example of national Stockholm Syndrome. The Irish celebrate an Englishman taking our entire culture hostage and shooting it full of Catholicism. Patrick was kidnapped by Irish raiders -- the first and only time Ireland has ever been on the traveling side of "Go to an island and fuck things up for people" equation -- and literally holy crap did that not work out for us. Patrick escaped, returned to England and spent years training for his revenge. Because he was born before automatic weapons or bat-costumes were invented, he returned armed with the power of religion, and did far more damage. For which I would personally like to thank him. A culture conditioned by over a millennium of Catholic guilt to think of sex and masturbation as sins is a great place to go through puberty, asshole.
We must hide our deviant shame from God!
A near-terminal case of not separating church from state is why trilobites still have more progressive sexual health laws than us. The government's attitude to reproductive rights is "The more the merrier, and instead of rights we mean unwanted pregnancies!" St. Patrick is also credited with driving the snakes out of Ireland, which is like driving the velociraptors out of a basketball court -- pretty easy since there weren't any, and if there had been you just made things way less kickass. Removing an entire ecological sub-order makes him the first Eco-terrorist. In fact, yanking out entire chunks of the ecosystem usually results in unexpected disasters. Let's see, removing snakes would make Ireland incredibly vulnerable to anything coming from small rodents, like rats. Oh, son of a bitch.
So do we file the Black Death under "mysterious ways" first or just die right now?
#3. Sing Rebel Songs and Hate the English
St. Patrick's Day turns whole cities into the Mexican border -- people pretending to be a different nationality because they think it'll improve their lives, and a big part of the problem comes from arbitrary borders. The dumbest way of claiming Emerald Islishness is singing rebel songs and hating the English. Which is not only stupid, but embarrassing, because we lost every conflict we ever had with those guys. They went on to conquer half the globe, and we started right next to them with a smaller population, fewer resources and inferior technology. We weren't even a victory in their game of global domination, we were the tutorial level.
Press WEST to practice the controls for subjugating a nation.
We didn't so much fight them off as cease being worth the trouble. Our most famous battle was when a pack of gobshites, mounting a guerrilla campaign against the mightiest naval power in the world, decided to gather in the one government building within range of battleships on the river and declare "Here we are!"
Resulting in explosively accelerated natural selection.
I grew up next to the border back during the Troubles, pretty much the exemplar of how a conflict doesn't necessarily have any good guys, and the only terrorist activity to sound like you ate a bad burrito the night before. I can confirm that the more someone thinks the conflict was righteous:
A) The further they lived from the actual conflict;
B) The further their brain is from being not retarded.
Sane people operate by the idea that "once everyone involved in the original conflict is dead maybe it's time to let it go." Most people in Northern Ireland were born there -- there are fewer English invaders in the six counties than in New York.
#2. Drink Far Too Much
Every year the world celebrates the stereotype of drunken Irish by staggering and throwing up over everything from midday onwards, and that's the only thing we mind -- you're making us look like lightweights. Drinking is our greatest national stereotype, sport and about seven-eighths of my work ethic (I'm a workaholic -- I work to pay for drink. Though for writers that's not really a nationality issue). You can't mince around all year then suddenly decide you're Paddy Bushmill. The U.S. defines "binge drinking" as five drinks in two hours. I've had more alcoholic breakfasts.
People get all interventiony when I describe the Screwdriver as a "breakfast cocktail."
Drinking is a lot of fun, and getting good and pissed can be a brilliant journey of self-discovery. But if you have to drink far more than you actually can, and you never have to because that's stupid, don't choose the one day you'll be just another vomit-spewing idiot in the worst Irish flag in the world (green clothes around extremely white people spewing chunks of orange). An amateur drunk is like an astronaut: boldly exploring an amazing new world of possibility, but you need a support crew of experienced and relatively sober people to make sure you get back home again.
#1. Drink Any Green Beer
Green beer is how you color-code the real idiots in a room where everyone's too pissed to speak. We don't know who came up this abomination, but since it adds an extra step between "farming" and "beer" we're sure it wasn't us. Those are our specialist subjects. We have breweries older than the North American countries, and I assure you, if anything in beer was meant to be green we'd keep it in there all year round. Green beer is flypaper for tourists and wannabes -- horrible chemicals used to keep the pests busy. You're meant to order beer by name, or style. When you're ordering it by favorite color you've either had too much already or can't spare enough brain cells to start drinking in the first place.
The beer is still the stupidest looking part of this picture.
Then there's the basic capitalist factor. If you're running a pub, bracing for the roaring crowd of wannabes whose puke you'll be mopping tonight, knowing they'll drink 10 of anything green, do you add food dye to the good stuff? Or do you color the spoiled, expired or otherwise dodgy kegs? They're going to drink 15 pints and feel like crap anyway -- this is the one day they'll consider vomiting out their own colon to be normal. Whether you want to part of a group like that is up to you.
It's kryptonite: stupidly contrived and makes a wonderful thing suck.
St. Patrick's is about drinking with friends. If you need or even want more than that, I honestly can't help you.
For more from Luke, check out The 7 Worst Lessons 80s Cartoons Taught Us about Drugs and The 6 Most Badass Stunts Ever Pulled in the Name of Science.