Most of what we ‘know’ about St. Patrick’s Day is pure myth, so Squirrel Patrick’s Day should fit in nicely. (More)
For example, children are taught that St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland, and that’s completely untrue. We know this because he died in 460, or 461, or maybe 463. That was long before the invention of cars or trucks or buses, so the Irish tale of him asking “Are yis all right in the back there, lads?” as he drove the snakes to the airport is just a joke.
Instead, St. Patrick asked my ancestors to chase the snakes away. Specifically, he approached Alroy (the Red) Fitzfluffy and said “Wud yer loike sum extra nuts?” Alroy nodded and Patrick said “Den chase al’ de snakes across de Oirish sea.” The result looked something like this …
… except the sea was wider than a sidewalk. Well, and Alroy also needed friends to help, because they had to find and pack up every snake fossil in Ireland and ship those away too. Fortunately, there were no cars or trucks or buses so they had plenty of time before the next UPS pickup.
As a gesture of thanks, Patrick gave Alroy a day at the Dublin Salon and Spa, and changed his name to Clooney (the Green):
Clooney liked the name but not the color, so he waited until Patrick went back home to England – yes, Ireland’s patron saint was actually English – then returned to the Dublin Salon and Spa, restored his dashing good looks, changed his last name to McGeorge, and became Ireland’s first movie star.
Clooney McGeorge also made the first recording of the world’s best-known Irish song, “Danny Boy,” which isn’t really Irish either. But Clooney learned the song from Patrick – albeit with the bawdier lyrics of “London Derriere” – and McGeorge’s pensive, poignant rendition was an instant hit, mostly because he asked the Leprechauns to sing backup. And we all how beautifully the Irish do harmonies:
Those are, of course, the Celtic Women, and that brings up another myth. Most Americans pronounce it SELL-tik, but in fact it’s KELL-tik, unless you’re in Boston, where it’s pronounced with a wistful sigh.
Anyway, the Irish film industry wasn’t huge in 460, or 461, or maybe 463, so Clooney McGeorge came to America and made St. Patrick’s Day into A Thing. City leaders in the U.S. ordered the original Clooney McGeorge hair rinse from the Dublin Salon and Spa and – when the UPS cart finally arrived in the mid-19th century – began dyeing rivers green. They also dyed beer and potatoes and pretty much everything else green, because lots of ideas sound better after a few pints of green beer, or a few pints of Guinness.
News of these celebrations made it back to the Emerald Isle and they made it into A Really Big Thing and spread it all over the world. But as so often happens, Alroy Fitzfluffy-cum-Clooney McGeorge got left out of the story, even if everyone knows about his backup singers, the Leprechauns.
So that’s the real myth of St. Patrick’s Day. Now where did I leave my hair rinse?
Good day and good nuts