St Patrick’s Day
So I'm part Irish. I'm also part Italian, part English, part Scottish, and part Welsh, and probably part some other stuff as well.
None of my ancestors were famous or anything that I know of, except for a Welsh one, who was one of the last women to be burned at the stake for witchcraft, undoubtedly because she could read, or something (see The Da Vinci Code for more on this subject. Apparently in olden times, the town elders would accuse any woman in the village who they suspected might be smarter than they were of witchcraft, then kill her, so that they could keep women oppressed and from using painkillers while giving birth and stuff, which was considered a sin, or whatever. It was all very medieval).
This does make me feel proud of my ethnic heritage, however, because my witch relative gives me a special bond with the girls on Charmed.
Anyway, even though I'm part Irish, I have to admit I don't get into St. Patrick's Day because, like New Year's, it seems like a lot of people use it as an excuse to behave in a reprehensible manner.
Because I live in New York City—more exactly, at more or less the end of the St Patrick's Day parade route in New York City—every March 17th I am treated to the sight of many, many drunk, VERY CLEARLY NOT IRISH people staggering around and throwing up green beer in the gutter outside my local grocery store. At like two in the afternoon. On a work day.
It's quite scandalous. I'm not saying people shouldn't have a good time, but hello! Barf on your own street, please, not mine.
So mostly on St Patrick's Day, I hide in my apartment and try not to go out, because I'm scared of all the drunk, clearly non-Irish people.
Maybe if I didn't always have a book due on March 15 that I'm not actually done with, I'd go to the parade myself or something.
But I sort of doubt it.
But you know, maybe my lack of enthusiasm stems from the fact that I did go to Ireland once on a book tour, and I wasn't exactly greeted with open arms there. For one thing, I got banned. Yes! Banned in Ireland! Because in my books, I sometimes mention birth control. Apparently they don't allow that in books in Ireland.
So anyway, I went all the way to Dublin, not knowing I was banned there until I got off the plane and a bunch of my events turned out to be cancelled at the last minute, because of these angry Irish parents. Which really burned me up, because hello, I'm Irish.
The other bad thing that happened in Dublin is that when I told people there that I was part Irish, and mentioned my grandmother's very Irish maiden name, they all looked scared. That's because THAT DAY someone with that last name had been arrested for chopping off her babysitter's head!
SERIOUSLY!!!! I am not making this up. I'm related not only to a witch, but to a babysitter head chopper-offer.
But because I got banned and was possibly related to a babysitter killer, I got to go on the news in Ireland, and talk about how it felt to be banned and possibly related to a killer.
So that was fun. And then a lot of nice Irish people who don't believe in banning books took me out for dinner. Which quite made up for being banned.
I doubt I'll ever be asked to go back to Ireland, but if I do, I hope that this time they'll keep in mind that I am one of them.
Even if I don't happen to like green beer.