Walter Mencken 6:15 p.m., Feb. 28
San Diego Bureau of Cultural Tourism reports record influx of Irish for St. Patrick's Day
Visitors: "Being Irish in America is so much more fun than being Irish in Ireland."
"Back home," said Dublin resident Miles O'Staggerin as he paused between beers at The Field bar in The Gaslamp Quarter last night, "drinking is a desperate and willfully destructive practice - a mad pursuit of numbed oblivion brought on by the crushing horror of day-to-day life in a chilly country with 14.5% unemployment. A country operating under a brutal array of austerity measures following a spectacular economic collapse. A country almost defined by its devotion to Catholicism, but rocked again and again by awful scandal upon awful scandal. A country whose great legacy is one of loss and failure, famine and want and fecklessness. Sure, we're produced more than our share of fine writers, because when you're Irish, what else is there to do except put your sorrow down on paper?"
O'Staggerin knocked back two shots of Jameson whiskey and whooped before continuing, "But here in San Diego? Here, drinking is something to be enjoyed, something done under the warm sun - in March, no less! Being Irish becomes some kind of badge of pride - I saw a portly, pasty fellow wearing a T-shirt that read 'Kiss me, I'm Irish,' and I'll be dipped if some bonny lass didn't do just that! For one day out of the year, my heritage is something to celebrate, not mourn. If that means traveling 6,000 miles one-way, then so be it. Erin go BRAAAAAARGHLE." O'Staggerin then vomited all over this reporter's shoes before lurching off into the welcoming arms of a San Diego night.
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