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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Green Beer And Birthdays

by john robertson (writer), Minneapolis, MN, March 20, 2009

Credit:

Even if we have a little bit of Irish in us (ethnically or otherwise) we don't really know why we celebrate St. Patty other than everybody else is doing it and because it's really fun.

This has been a profound and interesting last couple of weeks for me; filled with celebrations, traditions, new beginnings and absolute endings.

Let's start with green beer and Saint Patrick's Day: why in the world do we do this? It's an Irish holiday, not an American one, for shamrock's sake. Note the lack of Irish people out and about the next time you go pub hopping on March 17th. For example, at the Yelp event, it was predominately drunken Asians with their red faces and demure girlfriends. Oh sure, a few people looked like they might be Irish...

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...but most of us aren't. Even if we have a little bit of Irish in us (ethnically or otherwise) we don't really know why we do it other than everybody else is doing it and because it's really fun.

So much fun in fact, some of us don't make it home.

The next night I participated in another tradition: Maria K's birthday.

While sitting at the bar enjoying my pear martini the bartendress asked me, "Aren't you a day late with the green sweater?"

I looked around to make sure no one was listening, then I leaned in and told her, "I never went home last night. I'm still wearing the same clothes."

The bartendress winked at me knowingly and smiled like I was a naughty boy.

I am naughty, but I wasn't on St. Patty's Day. No indeed, the drunken Asians attending didn't dig me, and I in fact went home with a heterosexual friend whom I have no romance with. I tossed and turned all night long in her guest bed, worrying about the future as a single man.

Yes, green beer and guest beds are what happens to the newly divorcing. I could'a gone home, but divorce is hard and awkward and insomnia is better enjoyed away from the indignities of ones ex-lover.

However, attending Maria K's birthday gave me my second wind. Who couldn't be swept up by her lovely smile and vivacious approach to life? Maria not only was enthusiastic about her birthday, but she was celebrating everyone in the joint. Every time a group of waiters approached a table with a candle lit sundae, Maria sprinted like a Giant stealing home to be sure she too serenaded the unsuspecting Pisces. Radiant smile in place, she talked to them, touched them, laughed with them; celebrating this thing we call life.

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Maria's smile made me smile. Her laugh made me laugh. Sometimes she was so full of her laughter she would lean on my shoulder and hold my arm. I think I fell in love with Maria that night... in a gay way!

In life we celebrate what is good in order to endure what is hard. We make it a tradition, and we keep the traditions alive so that humanity will thrive.

Despite Maria's personal struggles, she is happy that she is alive, and I am happy that she is another year with us. It's a happy birthday indeed.

So now you really wanna know why we celebrate St. Patrick's Day?

It's because in 1846 the Irish were oppressed by the English and starving to death during a famine. They immigrated to the US. where they were oppressed by Americans and sometimes starved from employment discrimination. However, the Irish held onto their traditions and they celebrated anyway.

When they had their first parade it was more of a political statement, but when 15,000 of them marched, politicians realized the Irish hadn't decided who to vote for yet, and they smartly joined them in the festivities.

Humans endure. Life goes on. Relationships change or end, and new ones spring up like a shamrock in spring.

Happy birthday, Maria.

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Happy St. Patty's Day everybody.

I raise a pint of green beer to us all.



About the Writer

john robertson is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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