It's funny. I worked open to close yesterday, as I do on Wednesdays. And though I had many customers later on who told me they were Irish (suppose I might lay claim to the sobriquet myself, having received some twenty-five percent of my genetic material from the Emerald Isle), I had only one who was not actually just an American using his great-grandparents' ethnicity as an excuse for their drunkenness, but an actual honest-injun born-in-Ireland Irishman.
I won't give you his name, not that it matters. But he's one of our happy hour regulars, a small coterie of folks, mostly men, who come in during the slow times, in the afternoon, when the place is empty and the beer is cheap. I see him most Wednesdays, and have known him for years. He's a good cat, happy to talk but more than capable of keeping himself entertained, who has three or four beers and then leaves, usually before dark. And he tips well, so we like him even more.
Being that he was Irish, and we were the only two people in the bar for quite some time, we got to talking about St. Patrick's Day, which is an almost entirely American holiday. He found the whole thing rather ridiculous (as do I, but then, after 14-odd years of bars and bartending, I think most American drinking holidays are ridiculous). Apparently the Irish do not celebrate their island's lack of herpetic inhabitants in the way Americans do, by drinking to grand excess and either vomiting, getting into a fight, or having ill-advised and unprotected sex with a new-found friend (or all three, in some cases). Nor, apparently, do they eat corned beef and cabbage, which everyone seems to think is what Irish people eat. I certainly saw more than a couple of people enjoying such a repast.
It's funny. I've been on the wagon for several weeks now, as part of a pretty major cleanse/lifestyle overhaul, and I worked all last night without taking a drink (which is, as you might expect, a comparative rarity in the bar industry). The other bartender I worked with seemed amazed at that, and sad that I couldn't drink with her after hours. St. Patrick's Day is a big deal for her, I guess, and I think that, though she was glad to make the money, she was also a little sad not to be out there amongst the revelry. Call me jaded, but to me, St. Patrick's Day is just another amateur night, worse than most even, because to Americans it's just about drinking (and wearing something green, I suppose). And this year, what with St. Patty's on a Wednesday, it was more amateur than most, because the responsible adults who might normally leaven the youthful dumbfuckery all had to work the next day. Now, I got nothing against the kids these days, as such. But I do with their parents had taught them how to act. And how to drink, too, while they were at it.
I'll spare the details. Suffice to say, stiffing was rampant, as were stupid drink choices, and I had one guy I had to kick out, who got mad when I told him to get out from behind the bar. "I work in the Industry!" he said. I love when people say that. Like it makes it ok when they don't act right.
Still, I suppose I shouldn't complain. As with all amateur nights, I made money. Not as much as I should have (and yes, sometimes I do), but certainly more than I would have almost any other Wednesday night.
But I do wish our Great American Drinking Holidays didn't bring out the douche in people. I know we drink to give ourselves permission to cut loose and let it all hang out, to just relax and have a good time and be ourselves. It's just a shame that so many of us turn out to be assholes.