Tis Pity He's a Writer

Richard Daybell – Novels, stories and short humor

When Irish Guys Are Smiling

I don’t celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

I don’t wear green.  I don’t drink green beer.  And I certainly don’t sing Danny Boy.  As a small gesture, I might put a lime wedge in my cocktail, and I might think briefly of the scene in Going my Way where Barry Fitzgerald asks Bing Crosby “Do ye know Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral?”  And I will definitely eat corned beef and cabbage.  To me, corned beef and cabbage is what St. Patrick’s Day is all about.

blarney stone

My ambivalence toward St. Patrick’s Day probably started in my childhood (doesn’t everything?)  If a small sensitive child such as myself forgot to wear green on March 17, all the other cruel little children would pinch him.  I suppose it’s better than hitting him upside the head with a shillelagh, but nevertheless it leaves scars.

I have nothing against things Irish.  Or against jolly old St. Patrick himself.  He was an interesting  guy, turning Druids into Christians with a wave of his

sham rock

shillelagh, hurling blarney stones and sham rocks at unrepentant heathens, and playing his pipe to drive all the snakes out of Ireland.

He was, however, a bit of an enigma.  Some believe there were actually two Patricks.  That might explain some of the contradictions – a good Patrick and a bad Patrick.  The good Patrick worked among the poor, feeding them corned beef and cabbage, encouraging them to be chaste and follow a righteous path.  The bad Patrick worked among young women, pinching them if they weren’t wearing green, encouraging them to be unchaste and look at his shillelagh.  It was the good Patrick who drove the snakes out of Ireland; the bad Patrick, who when he didn’t get enough praise, stole all the Irish children to feed to the English.

Irish child (or to English, today's blue plate special

It’s easy to see how all these Irish symbols came to be: shamrocks, corned beef and – once more, then I won’t use the word for another year – shillelaghs.


2 comments on “When Irish Guys Are Smiling

  1. Beth
    March 17, 2011

    Richard, wasn’t she the Secretary of Health under Clinton? And wasn’t her first name Donna? And isn’t difficult to describe any woman as “under Clinton” without smirking and waving a Shilelagh, if one has such a thing?


    • Richard Daybell
      March 17, 2011

      Oh Donna. She was a fair colleen, even under Clinton. Not smirking, and I have no such thing.


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This entry was posted on March 16, 2011 by in Life Is (Fill in Blank) and tagged , , , .

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