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Curling losses can put your heart and wallet on ice.

Yeah, right, so tonight I lost ten boxes of ziti betting on team USA in curling against the Swiss in the Winter Olympics, and I’m still steaming.

I mean, come on, we had the game in the bag and blew it!

I was in a sports bar with some fans watching on TV and here’s what I heard:
“Nice rock. Does your wife curl?”
“I haven’t seen a stone toss so lame since Brian Jones got das boot by Mick Jagger.”
“You call that sweeping? Gimme a break, I’ve seen better sweeps in the pet food aisle at WalMart!”
“Broom like you mean it! Own the house, own the house!”
“Dudes, this game’s just like shuffleboard, and none of you are drinking! How you expect to play to win if you’re not drinking? Pop a cold one, for crying out loud!”
“Sweeper’s got a rubber arm, sweeper’s got a rubber arm…”
“Hey, man, they’re Swiss. Kick their neutral ass!

So it went. A disgruntled and disappointed crowd, and a crying me– a man who took it in the heart and the bank account. Curling is cruel, so very cruel.


He chased the snakes, now he chases the blues

He chased the snakes, now in honor of him, we chase the blues with green beer.

    I got my under-under-under graduate degree from St. Patrick’s Elementary School in Hubbard, Ohio. It was back in the days when nuns scoured classrooms in search of children under the influence of Satan. They wielded rulers of punishment and itched to dispense swift corrective discipline to evil wrongdoers. I still have the red palms to prove their mighty swings.

    At St. Pat’s, St. Patrick’s Day was a big deal. Although the student population was probably 80% non-Irish kids, everyone wanted to be Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. I was Irish on St. Paddy’s Day, and pretty much every day, and I resented these freeloaders hijacking ‘our’ holiday. All the Italian and Slavic kids sported lots of green on St. Patrick’s Day. In protest, I never wore green on the sainted day.

    “Hey, Scullin,” Bobbie Vespucci would accost me dressed in green necktie and shamrock lapel pin, “you’re Irish, right? Where’s your green?”

    “I don’t have to wear green,” I’d say coolly, wishing I had a shillelagh to clobber his skull, “I don’t have to pretend to be Irish–– I am Irish.” This would cheese off all the wannabes in their green. I’m sure they’d have liked to pummel me until I wore red dripping down my shirt. Let’s face it, nothing is more threatening to kids than the one who won’t succumb to peer pressure (“you’re all jumping off the cliff? No thanks, I’ll pass.”). Rebelling was a beautifully Irish thing to do.

The wearin' of the green, it's enough to make you vomit green

St. Paddy's celebration is enough to make you vomit green.

    Today I still rebel against St. Patrick’s Day. You won’t find me in some faux Irish pub trying to swim upstream through the sea of oppressive flesh to get my jar of Guinness. I shant drink the black love until the foam seeps up my gullet and back up my gob (your body’s subtle way of saying it’s “FULL”) and have my innards projectile onto some stranger’s Timberlands. It’s amateur hour, the whole St. Paddy’s Day bar-hopping-pub-crawling-beer-guzzling-puke-encrusted-shirt affair.

    St. Patrick’s Day has grown in importance and popularity thanks to the marketing efforts of beer companies and booze distillers. The holiday is now an alcoholic tidal wave that the masses gladly surf. As an adman, I don’t begrudge these marketers anything (I do have contempt for the florists and greeting card people, though–– the shameless money-grubbing hucksters). St. Patrick’s Day has grown in popularity because adults just don’t seem to have much fun anymore. At least not sanctioned fun.

    Like Halloween, St. Pat’s is a holiday where it’s fine for adults to get silly and let their inhibitions down (the liquid courage comes in handy). It’s Christmas without the presents. The growing popularity of St. Patrick’s Day proves that society is pretty uptight and could stand to let off some steam.

    Maybe we need to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day year ‘round. This doesn’t mean we have to get blasted and stumble home. But perhaps we could loosen up, have a wee bit of the fun a wee bit more often, without beer companies telling us it’s time to do so.

    Maybe we could not be so slavish to our Blackberries or iPhones. Perhaps we could try and resist being in a perpetual state of frantic pandemonium; dodging deadlines and covering our arses with voicemail and e-mail crumbs.

    Imagine actually slowing down a tad, not living by a self-imposed over-scheduled schedule of kiddie activities and obligation to our TIVO as it gathers gobs of entertainment for our escape from reality.

    Imagine stopping, for just a moment, breathing deeply and exhaling slowly. Maybe stretching, sitting and doing nothing but letting your mind wander (a free range brain is a beautiful thing).

    Indulge, babes. Take a nap. Call an old friend. Write a letter and thank an old teacher, mentor, client or associate. Listen, actually listen to some of your favorite music. Re-live those moments of your life when you heard those songs for the very first time and let the movies of the past play inside your head. You don’t need popcorn or Junior Mints.

    Visit the priceless vaults of your memories. They’re yours and they pay handsome dividends over time.

Rebel, what a beautifully Irish thing to do

Rebelling against the norm-- what a beautifully Irish thing to do.

    St. Patrick earned his chops for chasing the snakes out of Ireland. This St. Patrick’s Day, try to chase some of the snakes out of your hectic life. Enjoy your life more.

    Stop running full bore trying to keep up with your life. Slow down and enjoy your life and all those in it who make it worth living. Try and celebrate with them more often, not just on the sanctioned holidays but every day.

    That’s my message of good cheer–– given like a nun whacking your sweaty palm.

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day–– I raise a pint to ye.

    I’ll be the one not wearing green. Cheers!