So, here we are again ... it's mid-March, another year gone, another year closer to the grave, another year of recession, election-mania, misery, poverty, pestilence, and death - and that's only the good stuff - but never fret too much, because we always have Saint Patrick's Day ... and do you know what's great about that? Saint Patrick's Day is a full on excuse to act the eejit, and spend at least one day realising that things aren't as bleedin' serious as we might think.
Now, I'm not saying this just because I'm a son of the ould sod myself. Come Tuesday, all over the world people will be taking the day off or leaving work early, plastering their faces with wonky shamrocks, wearing floppy green hats, and all to have their chests squished against the railings at the parade, then squished against the bar at the Irish pub.
A place we just call 'the pub' in Ireland - oh, and we don't nail bicycles and typewriters to the ceiling either (except for those touristy type places up in Dublin, maybe Belfast, that is).
And nobody cares that they're being jostled around like a bunch of Belibers who accidentally strayed into the One Direction queue. Normally such behaviour would have even the calmest yogi swinging a lump of two-by-four in righteous anger, but sure it's all grand because, for a few hours - perhaps a whole lost day - people forget their woes and whinges long enough to actively rediscover their act-the-maggot switch.
The day usually starts with a text or email session to everyone we think might be Irish, or even bothered - then there's the rummage around to find your one, single piece of green clothing (or something as close as will do - maybe that blue jumper your mother knitted, with the over-sized sleeves but has a green bit on the collar) - you know the one you threw to the back of cupboard on the fuzzy return home the year before - then another texting/email session - cup of tea (maybe a pot) - paint the face - and then off to see the parade. Or, if your town/country/place of residence doesn't do a Saint Patrick's Day parade, substitute 'parade' with 'pub' - and, if that pub has a three-legged-race, or some kind of pub-crawl, sure that's near enough as to constitute a parade anyway.
By late afternoon the Irish stew is in the gut, the band are doing their thing, and the craic is as mighty as to send your Irish genes into spasm (yes everyone has them - even you - a legacy of a nation who have managed to shoe-horn themselves into every corner of the planet) - and, if you suspect that you don't possess any Irish genes, sure what odds ... the fact that you turned out for the day comes with a gene donation factor, not to mention a major injection of couldn't-give-a-fartery.
But remember, on this day of all things Irish, the most important thing is not to drink yourself into a coma then spew green-lager puke all over the front-door keyhole, but to enjoy yourself, be friendly, and - most of all - I say, most of all - to act the biggest, bestest eejit you can.
Saint Patrick would want you to.
And, for anyone who needs an explanation of 'acting the eejit' - the perfect definition can be found at: http://www.thecraic.net/glossary.html ... just look under: 'acting the maggot'.
Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig - agus slán go fóill ...
P.S. - I mentioned this book a few weeks ago - and just wanted to give it another plug. The author really is a master in mystery, with some terrific prose to boot. As I said before, do yourself a favour, it's a fantastic read: A Season of Glass; John Caulfield