St. Patrick’s Day 3/17/23

Thoughts with Richard Bleil

Americans love usurping holidays and traditions from other cultures.  I remember seeing a documentary in the ‘80’s about an Amazonian isolated tribe and their “right of passage” where boys proved themselves worthy to be called men.  Like so many “hold my beer” traditions here in America, the prospective man would climb a high tower and leap off of it with nothing but a cord tied to his ankle.  The closer he would come to hitting the ground, the greater the honor of the jump, but if he miscalculated how much the vine would stretch, he could be killed or permanently injured.  They often were.  Watching this tradition, my first thought was, “oh, god, this’ll be a thing in America now.”  It wasn’t long after the show that “bungee jumping” became a national craze. 

Today marks another tradition brought about from the Irish celebration of St. Patrick.  Here in America, it’s an excuse for drinking, as if we need yet another excuse.  Often, green food coloring is added to alcoholic beverages to make them the same shade of green that the drinker will be when it comes back up. 

I’ve lost too many friends to alcoholism, and lost my marriage to it as well to want to participate in it myself.  The “drunk” feeling occurs when the liver becomes overwhelmed with toxic alcohol.  The liver attempts to filter out alcohol from the blood stream when drinking begins, but when the alcohol content becomes higher than it can handle, the alcohol metabolizes to acetaldehyde, a highly toxic chemical and known carcinogen.  It’s the toxicity of acetaldehyde that leads to the effects of alcohol that people find so endearing, as your brain prepares for death because it thinks the drinker is being poisoned.  Just lovely.

My usage of alcohol is, in my personal opinion, better.  I have highly concentrated alcohol (190 proof, or 95% pure) from the liquor store, and, I even have 200 proof (100% pure) alcohol.  And when I drink them, I don’t.  I actually don’t drink at all, but alcohol is a fabulous solvent.  When water doesn’t quite cut it, I’ll use alcohol, and it disinfects as it cleans as well.  Of course, I’m careful of the fumes, as those, too, can cause intoxication.

Beware denatured alcohol.  If you find a place where you can buy pure (200 proof) alcohol, it’s often denatured.  This means that the alcohol has additives that make it intentionally toxic.  In laboratories, most frequently they purchase denatured alcohol (“SD Alcohol” is also denatured, denoting “Specifically Denatured Alcohol”).  Because the alcohol is denatured, the government knows that it won’t be used for consumption, and the denatured alcohol is therefore not taxed.  This saves money for the school, but, they don’t always explain this to students.  Every once in a while, a student will steal laboratory alcohol to spike punch, and people get sick.  If you’re lucky, drinking denatured alcohol will do nothing but make you permanently blind, so if you know somebody stole laboratory alcohol, don’t drink it, warn others not to drink it, and if possible throw the alcohol away. 

As it turns out, St. Patrick is an officially recognized Saint of Ireland.  The legend that he drove all of the snakes to their death by drowning by his horrific flute playing is, of course, just a myth.  I’ve been struggling to find much information on him, but apparently he is famous for using three leaf clovers as an analogy of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, all leaves being part of the same clover.  Hardly seems “miracle worthy” but there it is. 

My understanding is that to be a saint, one of the requirements is to have performed a minimum of three verifiable miracles in your life.  You would think that there would be some kind of registry of saints and their miracles, but I have had no luck in finding such a thing.  I, myself, am a saint in another church, and to be so the miracle I had to perform is to come up with twenty-five dollars, which I did.  The church is recognized, and can therefore set their own rules and standards, so yes, in that church, I am the officially recognized Saint of Science and Mathematics, or, for short, the Saint of S&M.  For some reason, people always assume that means something different from Science and Mathematics, though. 

Listen, in all seriousness, please be careful if you plan on celebrating by imbibing today.  Remember that hard liquor, if drunk too quickly, can kill by alcohol poisoning, and don’t take your own vehicle to a drinking establishment.  In modern society, it seems like the easiest way to avoid drinking and driving (in my opinion) is to leave your vehicle at home.  In my day, the only alternative we had was taxi, but today there are many alternatives.  Take advantage of them.  Somebody loves you even if it doesn’t feel like it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.