Archive for March 17th, 2022

Off the Green

Long-time readers may have noticed that although I do a lot of holiday columns, and used to do even more, I’ve never done one for St. Patrick’s Day.  The reason is simple: I dislike it almost as much as I dislike Valentine’s Day.  But while my reasons for disliking the latter are mostly rational, my reasons for disliking the former are almost entirely irrational, and go back to childhood.  I don’t think it will come as a surprise to anyone reading this that I was a willful, rebellious child who hated being told “you must” with the same intensity I hated being told “you can’t”.  Now, that doesn’t mean I was purely contrarian; however, even then I reserved the right to decide for myself whether I would comply with some adult diktat, starting with demanding to know why I was supposed to do something or refrain from doing something.  Being told, “because x authority says so,” or handed some tautological non-justification, would generally provoke either immediate non-compliance or a pretense of compliance as long as the parent/teacher/cop was looking, followed by refusal as soon as they left the room.  To this day, the surest way to lose my cooperation is to accompany the demand with a phrase like “you must”, “you are required to”, “it’s the law”, etc, though obviously I am a lot better at avoiding negative consequences for my hardheadedness than I was as a schoolgirl.  So, as some of you may have guessed, my aversion to St. Patrick’s Day started with the annual declaration that I must wear green on the occasion; I was told to do it, not asked or encouraged.  The reasons I was provided, when they existed at all, were pure blarney (I was skeptical about that snake story even before I stopped believing in Santa Claus), and given that my school uniform contained no green, the obligatory color display generally took the form of a stupid little felt shamrock pinned to my blouse.  On top of all that, I had an odd aversion to green clothing in the first place; Maman thought it was because my other grandmother had made several rompers for me out of an old green sofa cover, so after a while I was thoroughly sick of the color.  Or perhaps it was due to association with the vegetables whose mere smell nauseated me.  In any case, I eventually outgrew my aversion to the color, but not to the holiday; as I grew into young adulthood I even rationalized my dislike by tying it to my disdain for binge-drinking and my reflexive rejection of any attempt to include me in some group membership against my will (back when people were declaring “We’re all New Yorkers now”, my response was usually “I’m not.”)  So anyhow, now you know.  I no longer have issues with wearing green, but I still find beer (of any color) revolting and am wont to roll my eyes at fake brogues and dopey leprechaun cartoons.  And while I was perfectly willing to kiss the Blarney stone, I can’t say the same for drunken Irishmen. 

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