March 18 is heaven for those who cash in on recycled aluminum cans. The aftermath of St. Patrick’s Day always leaves college grounds dotted with ‘Natty Light” cans. For many, it’s a time to celebrate their Irish ‘heritage” which means partying because their great-great grandmother’s maiden name was O’Kelly. But as the son of two Irish immigrants, St. Patrick’s Day has developed into a tough bullet for me to swallow. For me, it’s a day when horrendously false stereotypes surface. So, as March 17 comes and goes, it’s time to put these stereotypes to shame.
1. Everybody’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. For some reason, the Irish population rises exponentially on March 17 when T-shirt vendors make bank on selling shirts that say ‘Kiss Me, I’m Irish.” Italians, Germans, Chinese, more Italians, all steal my identity and then proceed to get love all over campus. How come the entire college population thinks that they can get some love on St. Patty’s Day? Take off the shirts people.
2. The Irish pubs facilitate a country of drunks. No, no, no, no and no. Ireland’s pub culture is fantastic, there is always a game on and the fish and chips can certainly be served with a pint (or two). Sure, we enjoy our Guinness. But I think the combination of fraternity houses and college freshmen lead to a population far more susceptible to drinking problems than the Irish.
3. We don’t fight. My mother, a Waterford native (look it up on a map) refused to allow me as a child to hang up a poster with the University of Notre Dame mascot crouched and ready to fight. After listening to her wisdom over the years, I am inclined to agree with her views. The only people the Irish want to fight are the British (as does everyone) and Thierry Henry (completely understandable).
4. Ireland is populated with gingers. Again, another false stereotype, precipitated by the same Americans whose ancestors came over on the Mayflower and are selling/wearing the ‘Kiss Me, I’m Irish” T-shirts. Yours truly and his immediate family are gingers, but beyond that, the streets of Dublin are spotted with blondes and brunettes. In the market for a ging? Head to Edinburgh, across the Irish Sea.
Willis is a member of the class of 2011.