When I was growing up and well into my early twenties, we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in a way that would be wholly unrecognizable to what we see these days. In my day, the day was spent actually honoring St. Patrick and Ireland. There was a special mass, we said our prayers, we cooked a special meal, and then all of the men would meet down at the local watering hole and knock back a few while telling stories about our forefathers. We certainly didn’t get sick on green beer and wear outrageous Irish t-shirts.

You know, they really snuck up on us with this whole “Saint Patrick’s Day is a party day” thing. One year it’s just me and the rest of the old fogies sitting around and having a few frothy beers while we do what we’ve always done. Maybe we notice a few new faces hanging around, but it’s nothing drastic. Before you know it, the pub is swarming with kids in green Irish tees all throwing down shots of whiskey and acting crazy. I’m not really sure I can put a finger on when the change took place.

The main problem I have with the whole thing is that these young people seem just so darn disrespectful about it. They throw Irish whiskey down their throats, they wear offensive Irish shirts, and they raise all kinds of hell all night long. The things they wear and the way they act almost seems like a mockery of my heritage, and I can’t help but get a bit irate at that. None of them would know a real Irishman if he knocked them in the head with a Blackwood stick.

What would really calm my nerves about the whole problem I have with what St. Patrick’s has turned into, is if any of these youth would show even the slightest interest in learning something about Ireland or its people. Instead of showing even the tiniest bit of interest, they seem to look at the new incarnation of the holiday as just another reason the get drunk and flirt with each other. You don’t need my holiday and you don’t need offensive Irish t-shirts for that.

I know you’ve read this article and are thinking that I’m the most ornery man on the planet. Well, I don’t sit on my front porch and yell at kids to get off my front lawn. I just want the homeland of my people honored like it should be, and those silly Irish tees just don’t cut it. It also needs to be mentioned that once I’m good and toasted on Saint Patrick’s Day, I tend to care a lot less about what shirts people are wearing and how young they are. After a few pints, everyone is Irish on Saint Patrick’s Day.