Yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day so while every other green-blooded American was wolfing down corned beef and chugging beer, I passed. Not passed out, just passed.
Giving up fatty meat and excessive drinking on St. Patrick’s Day is the most recent in a long line of breaks with tradition and signs of aging. I used to go crazy on St. Pat’s Day. Before kids turned me into Marian the Librarian, we had a kick-ass St. Patrick’s Day party every year. Calling it the St. Fitzpatrick’s Day Party, we had a live Irish band, song sheets for sing-a-longs (although, come on, who needs the words to The Unicorn Song?), contests, jokes, great food and lots of beer. One year we made our party an Irish wake and we decorated our big console stereo like a casket, flanked it with vases of gladioli, draped it with an Irish flag, and then got drunk and signed sympathy cards, “Sorry for your loss, Irene and Paddy O’Furniture”.
Thank God all these parties happened before I got a decent camera. I was still young enough that I didn’t have to worry about my cholesterol, the number of remaining brain cells I owned and what I might need them for in assisted living, or my reputation among my friends and coworkers.
Life was good.
Things have changed.
While grocery shopping for our March 17th dinner, I was browsing the meat cases and there in the spot reserved for whatever animal is featured, was a mountain of corned beefs. Some enterprising young meat department employee had set up a little table next to it and put a boom box on there. It was playing Irish songs sung by that shiny tenor from Lawrence Welk.
Maybe it was the music, but I wanted to buy one of the corned beefs. I wanted it bad. But I heard my husband’s voice from earlier that day saying, “You’re not buying that crap for dinner this year are you?” Corned beef, cabbage and potatoes was our dinner every March 17. But now it’s just not worth the side effects. You know it’s time to stop eating corned beef when you suspect the weight you gained is from the little chunks of corned beef fat that have attached to the walls of your carotid artery.
And the drinking? Well, we just can’t physically do it anymore. We’re slower and we can’t get drunk faster than our friends, which leads to noticing how sad and pathetic drunk people act.
There are no St. Fitzpatrick’s Day parties in our rapidly dwindling future. Our furniture is from Ethan Allen, for cripe’s sake, and it cost too much to invite a bunch of people over to celebrate a holiday that’s all about the throwing up. People at a St. Patty’s Day party probably don’t even use coasters.
Yesterday we ate my own version of shepherd’s pie, with chicken (which is never on sale near St. Patrick’s Day), cabbage, and key lime pie. My husband and I had a couple glasses of wine while we watched American Idol. Our friend Jack Maurer jabbed at my husband all night via Facebook, bragging about all the beer he was drinking. If only Jack had known us before we got to be so old, sober and our doctor’s favorite ‘good patients.’
After my friends read this, I’ll be lucky to get an invitation to their kids’ birthday parties. I still have the song sheets, though, so if there’s a unicorn theme, I think I’m good.
Labels: corned beef, drinking, Jack Maurer, St. Patrick's Day, St. Patrick's Day party, The Unicorn Song