Thoughts by Richard Bleil
Happy St. Patrick’s Day. St. Patrick is apparently the saint of Ireland, but what I find interesting is how, as Americans, we tend to adopt the holidays and customs of other countries and cultures. And, no doubt, we interpret it as we wish.
St. Patrick’s Day is a day of green beer and drinking. Personally, I’m not a fan of alcohol. I believe it was a significant factor in the failure of my marriage. No, not me; my wife was an alcoholic, but I was unintentionally an enabler. On our first date, she was going to make me supper. I asked if I should bring a bottle of wine, not knowing she was a recovering alcoholic. Instead of telling me, she said yes.
Alcohol permeates our society. When I closed my house, I was given a “gift bag”, a lovely canvas bag that can work as a grocery bag, two cozies, silly little things that had their logos, and a very nice cup. It also had two wine glasses, etched with their name, and a bottle of champagne. I realized, about ten minutes after leaving the office, that I should have told them that I am an alcoholic. I’m not, but it would have been fun to see them scamper around apologizing trying to find something to replace the champagne.
There are so many trends from other cultures that we adopt without really understanding them. I realized this with bungee jumping. I’ve always wanted to go skydiving, but not bungee jumping. It seems to me that the fun part of skydiving must be the free fall, and bungee is a much shorter free fall. Bungee jumping was adopted from a tribe and became popular shortly after I saw the special on it. Apparently, in this tribe, it was a “right of passage” to become a man. They had built a wooden frame, and the young men had to choose their bungee cords. To prove their bravery, they would ascend the frame, tie the bungee around their ankle and jump. If they stopped to short of the ground, they were mocked, but, of course, there were those who chose wrong and died on impact. Now we use it as a sport.
Lip rings and those hoops in ears came from other cultures. They were taken as symbols of attractiveness. The bigger the lip plates, and the larger the rings, the more attractive they were taken to be. I guess I’m still not used to these fashion trends (thankfully lip plates never really took off), but I’m getting there. Not that my opinion should matter. The fashion sense of others does not impact me, and people should be happy with themselves. I have no more right to judge others for things like that than they have to judge me for having no tattoos. I have actually considered it, though, just the outline of a little periodic chart on my shoulder. If I got the full periodic chart tattoo on my chest, I think I would get in trouble every time I ripped my shirt open for periodic chart lessons. Of course, since my heart attack, the transition metals would be a little bit shorter than they’re supposed to be anyway.
Sometimes I wonder if American holidays are celebrated in other countries around the world. I have been told that the Fourth of July is not widely celebrated in England. I don’t understand why. What about Thanksgiving? Do people overeat and then shop for Christmas presents in other countries? Probably not. Leave it to American to take the holiday celebrating the one day we were decent to the Native people and turn it into a capitalistic venture.
Today should be an interesting day for me. I’ve come to realize that my budget insurance company can’t fit my current needs. The fire I wrote about a few days ago was the impetus for me to switch over to a new, and significantly larger, insurance company for both automobile and homeowner’s insurance. The policy is due to take effect today. To be honest, I’m not sure if it’s a good omen or a bad one that my policy is taking effect on a holiday known for drinking.
Listen, enjoy St. Patrick’s Day. Celebrate it as you see fit, and have fun, but be safe and sane. If you’re going to drink until you are green (regardless of the color of your beverage), please don’t drive. And don’t throw up on my lawn. That would make me sad.