The Sledgehammer – Version 2.0

March 17, 2011

The Schlock of the Irish: St. Patrick’s Day Kitsch

Filed under: Holidays — Tags: — Brian Lutz @ 1:14 am

As is the case with many of the holidays we celebrate, St. Patrick’s Day has its roots in religious observance.  The Saint Patrick from which the holiday gets its name (and at least traditionally, its purpose) was a Catholic missionary and bishop who has become the patron saint of Ireland, as well as a number of other places (most notably the cities of New York and Boston.)  St. Patrick’s Day is a feast day held on March 17th, which is generally believed to be the death date of Saint Patrick, and is recognized as an official holiday in Ireland, and is considered to be a holy day of obligation for Roman Catholics in Ireland.  Outside of Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day has become a decidedly more secular affair, which serves mostly as a celebration of Irish heritage and culture, marked mostly by the traditional Wearing of the Green, parades in many cities (Seattle included) and lots and lots of drinking.  Surprisingly, there is actually some basis for the tradition of drinking on St. Patrick’s Day.  Over the years, the day has served as something of a one-day break during the traditional 4o-day period of Lent in which various vices are given up in preparation for Easter. 

Although St. Patrick’s Day is considered to be a minor holiday outside of Ireland, in recent years a fair bit of merchandise for the holiday has begun to make its way into the stores.  Granted, the quantity is still dwarfed by what you’d find on the shelves for Christmas, Easter, Halloween or Valentine’s Day, but the stuff that’s out there tends to make up what it lacks in quantity with quality (of the dubious sort, otherwise it wouldn’t merit much attention here.)   And as you might imagine from the various St. Patrick’s Day traditions, drinking figures heavily into the various merchandise you’ll find.  How much so?  Find out after the jump.

Granted, not all the merchandise out there is related to drinking (well, at least not entirely.)  There are still a few items out there that stick to being tacky in more conventional forms.

As you might imagine, Leprechauns tend to be well represented…  Well, in terms of quantity anyway.  In terms of quality, not so much.  Case in point:  This ridiculously tiny “Party Hat” and even more ridiculously cheesy moustache that, presumably, someone is supposed to wear.  In public.  The package does specifically note that this is intended “for decorative use only,” which is the kind of disclaimer that mostly serves to make you wonder what sort of prior incident necessitated such a warning.  Either way, I’d recommend that you refrain from doing Jello shots out of the hat.

If you’re looking for something that might actually fit your head, you can try this inflatable Leprechaun hat.  You’ll still look ridiculous, but in a completely different direction.  Unlike the previous entry, this one is intended for adult use only.  Of course, if you gave it to a kid I think they’d have to set it up in the living room and use it as a fort or something like that. 

But if you really want to peg the ridicul-o-meter this St. Patrick’s Day, how about wearing a cold one on your head?  Well, not an actual cold one, just a cheesy vaguely beer-like hat, but still.  What could possibly go wrong?  Well, lots of things, but that’s what lawyers are for.

If you are going to be drinking on St. Patrick’s Day, presumably you’re going to need something to drink out of.  Shot glasses seem to be the order of the day, but this handy Luck O’ The Irish  flask should also do the trick.  Perfect for those times when you’re walking between pubs and you want to make absolutely sure you don’t find yourself unexpectedly sober along the way.

I guess I’m not all that familiar with the various carousing that St. Patrick’s Day usually entails, but apparently the unavailability of shot glasses at inconvenient times is a major issue.  So much so that a number of solutions to this problem have been developed, such as this shot glass necklace.

But if you’re worried that you aren’t going to be able to achieve optimum BAC quickly enough (and then  promptly shoot right past it and land somewhere well into “passed out on the bathroom floor” territory) with just one shot glass, you can get these suspenders and have two of them at hand, no waiting.  Oh, and don’t worry what people will think about how they look;  I think that’s the kind of thing beer goggles were invented for.

But remember, this is St. Patrick’s Day.  It’s a special occasion that only happens once a year, so while you’re out drinking, don’t forget to accessorize your beer.

But while you’re out doing all that drinking, don’t forget that you’ve got to wear something green if you don’t want to get pinched.  Fortunately there are plenty of options.  But still, something seems to be missing with that one in the lower left…  Oh, and as for that shirt up in the top right, try puking on the living room carpet and you might have to reevaluate that…

Ah, much better.  At least until the creeps start showing up anyway.

Oh, and don’t forget the special St. Patrick’s Day socks.  Sure, they’re destined to sit in the sock drawer and take up valuable space 364 days out of the year, and then when the next St. Patrick’s Day rolls around you’ll completely forget you’ve got them and end up buying a new pair anyway, but still.

And finally, if you’ve got little kids, don’t forget to let them join in the fun as well.  Well OK, actually you should probably find a babysitter or something.  To be honest, I’m mostly surprised that they haven’t managed to stick a shot glass onto these just yet (I guess that’s coming next year, right?)

Anyway, however you choose to celebrate (or not celebrate as the case may be) St. Patrick’s day, be sure to do it safely.  And watch out for Leprechauns, I hear they can be pretty tricky if you’re not careful.


1 Comment »

  1. Thoroughly enjoyed this post. I’ve only been keeping up with St. patrick’s day frippery peripherally and didn’t realize things had gotten so out of hand! Well done!

    Comment by Linda — March 17, 2011 @ 8:30 am

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