Volume 94, Issue 93
Friday, March 16, 2001
Is it really that easy being green?
I'm as opposed to learning on the weekend as the next person, but this Saturday, school is in session.
Of course this is not just any Saturday it's Mar. 17 - the day set aside for people of all backgrounds to celebrate one nation, by honouring the drinking exploits of the Irish on the blessed event known as St. Patrick's day.
While we have grown to be skeptical of most Irish teachings, there is one lesson that comes through in the actions of the Irish that we in North America would be well advised to learn. Alcohol can be a damn beautiful thing, provided that after a few pints your impaired vision doesn't change the words on your glass from Guinness to "fightin' juice."
I learned from personal experience on a two week journey to the heart of Dublin that having a beer with strangers can result in some very good times.
Let the beer be a lubricant, let your guard down a little, put your arm around people you would ignore in the light of day, but for the love of God don't let the beer convince you that the guy at the end of the bar is looking at you cockeyed.
While in Ireland, I witnessed people of all ages get together over a drink and share ideas on topics ranging from the reasons for the booming Irish economy to whether creating a free standing one legged bar stool would be a project worth undertaking. No fists, just fun.
Why is it that all too often in our "higher education" environment, people lower themselves to a cave dweller mentality after a few brews? I really admire that "me tough, you not" attitude.
Now I know many people will be quick to say the O'Briens of the world are some of the most likely suspects in a barroom tilt and yes, the term 'donnybrook,' used to describe the most severe of brawls was spawned in the land of the leprechauns.
However, at least when things do come to blows, they limit their artillery to body parts. Apparently it's just not good enough for us, as more and more incidents of post-bar stabbings occur on our side of the pond.
Maybe it's just me, but I really don't understand how alcohol correlates to violence at all. My beer must contain different ingredients because fighting is the farthest thing from my mind after a couple pops.
I just want to spread love.
So while you're toasting U2, rugby and all other things green this weekend, make an effort to learn from the culture that embraces alcohol like no other, and let the drinks bridge gaps, not create them.
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