Sunday, March 17, 2013
It's St. Patrick’s Day and the revelers will be out in cities throughout the country to watch parades, drink green beer, and wear green, even on their faces. Although I am Irish, I am also a confirmed non-joiner, so I make it a point not to wear green on this day. Although I am not offended by the wearing of green, nor am I insulted by the shamrocks and leprechaun hats, I’m kind of surprised that such stereotyping of the Irish hasn’t come under fire. I sometimes think it’s comparable to wearing an Afro wig on Martin Luther King Day. The bars are always packed on this unofficial holiday, and the serving of green beer perpetuates the stereotype that the Irish are drunks.
I loathe crowds, so I tend to avoid parades, but they can be interesting to observe. A parade is actually two shows in one. There's the main parade. This takes place in the street where cheerleaders in short skirts twirl batons, firefighters beat on drums, and other participants wave at the crowd standing along the curb and sidewalk. The other parade, the one on the sidewalk, is often more entertaining. The people who gather there are officially observers, but there's little doubt that they want to be seen. Teenaged boys, their hair dyed assorted bright colors, strut by, as do girls, teenaged and younger, who, despite breasts no bigger than those on the boys, behave as if they are desirable.
And there's a third parade that few people stick around to see. That's when the street cleaners come out to sweep up the mess.
© 2013 Brian W. Fairbanks
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