The small town I live in has about 30,000 citizens and three tattoo parlors. The reason we have one parlor per 10,000 people is that a good 12,000 of those citizens are college students with apparently lots of use for a butterfly tramp-stamp but little use for things like discretion and good decision-making.
Never is this more apparent than on St. Patrick’s Day.
People who just can’t get out of bed for a 10AM class are somehow lurching about – already drunk – as I drive to work at 7:45AM. Kids I see wearing mid-afternoon pajamas on normal days are all done up in green with hats, beads, eyelashes, everything. Girls who wouldn’t eat more than half of a bagel on any normal day are putting down kegs ‘n’ eggs breakfasts at two, three, four different bars.
And that’s just the morning.
As the day wears on and the collective buzz wanes and waxes, things get tense. The townspeople are sick of the kids who’ve been at it for 12 hours straight now. The college kids are too drunk to care about much of everything expect being “Irish” and as far as I can tell, being Irish means being able to walk with a green cup full of beer in both hands. Anyone renting a place with a decent-sized lawn has set up a beer-pong table. There are at least fifty students adding to the pile of aluminum cans that’s growing too quickly. People who can barely see straight are grilling burgers and dogs, dudes who can’t walk are playing basketball and chicks who can’t talk are flirting like the sky’s coming down.
Today the college newspaper published a guide to the day’s festivities:
Students who can’t remember their class schedule after spring break will have this down pat. The streets will run green with their puke. And you’d think they’d be done by evening. But they won’t. They’ll retire for a quick nap around maybe 8PM, and by 11 they’ll be out for round two! Or maybe three! Hell no one can keep count!
We get an email every year – set to the entire campus community – imploring us to be safe. This year’s is mercifully succinct and ends with this little gem:
Ultimately your health is most important so please be cognizant and steer clear of dangerous situations like binge drinking and alcohol poisoning.
Because binge drinking is more dangerous than drunk driving, alcohol poisoning more dangerous than criminal trespassing. Believe me, both of these will happen. The blotter on Monday will rival War and Peace in length and The Rum Diaries in breadth.
I used to like St. Patrick’s Day. Well, okay. Not like exactly because I don’t entirely get the point. But I was okay with it. Like Arbor Day, it’d done me no harm. It’d given me no reason to rail against it.
But now? Well, okay: here’s a five-minute video that Tosh.0 did about St. Patty’s Day in this town. Watch that 288 times in a row and that’s what my St. Patty’s Day is like every. single. year.
This time I’m just thankful it’s on a Saturday. And that I have to go to Cleveland.