Monday, March 16, 2015

why I dislike St. Patrick's Day.

I don't like St. Patrick's Day.

I'm sure that's un unfair statement to make to St. Patrick and Christians in Ireland, but my dislike for the day has very little to do with what St. Patrick's Day actually celebrates.

I had this elementary school principal who loved St. Patrick's Day. She was Irish, and I remember the first year or two thinking it was cool: a day to get out of our uniforms and wear green, eat green-frosted cupcakes and cookies, etc...we also didn't have to have classes for most of the day!

But that's just it: the reason why we had no classes? Because instead of a full day of school, we all went to an extended mass, and then filed into the auditorium or social hall to watch the same movie every single year: The Secret of Roan Inish.

Every. Single. Year.

One year we watched a movie about a horse--the name is escaping me--but the change in routine didn't make the day any more interesting. The Secret of Roan Inish is an acclaimed film, so I get wanting to show it to a school once, but if you think a bunch of 6-13 year olds will appreciate watching the same film projected onto a wall every year, you're out of your mind.

A quick look on IMDb tells me The Secret of Roan Inish is only 103 minutes long, but I swear it felt like a four-hour long movie by the time I hit fifth grade. All I remember is having to sit in a shrinking room with a bunch of other bored kids and get shushed for whispering because by the time you see The Secret of Roan Inish for the fifth time, it gets boring.

You probably think I'm exaggerating, but watch the trailer and consider the fact that the first 30 seconds is just a scrolling list of films the director has also directed:

Now imagine that two-minute trailer multiplied by 50, then multiply that by eight years (well, seven, if you consider the fact we watched that one horse movie one year instead).

And what if March 17 landed on a weekend? Well, we just moved The Secret of Roan Inish Day up to the Friday before the holiday weekend.

You could argue that it isn't that I dislike St. Patrick's Day; I just dislike The Secret of Roan Inish. But it's very hard for me to separate the two, just as it is for someone to separate hot dogs from vomiting on a rollercoaster if the two came back-to-back. The whole holiday became a struggle for me to even remotely enjoy as the years went on. I mean, even if we opted not to wear green and showed up in our uniform, the teachers would hand out shamrock stickers we had to put on our shirts. If we chose not to, then the boys in class would inevitably pick on you until you either cried or threw a basketball in someone's face.

Also, if we were going to essentially cancel classes for St. Patrick's Day, why not for any other Feast Day? Why not spend the whole day breaking out into song on November 22 for St. Cecilia? Or visit infectious disease wards on January 17 to pray to St. Anthony the Great? We didn't even have this level of celebration on St. Francis of Assisi's Feast Day and our school was named after him! (People brought pets to church after school to get them blessed, if their parents were down with that, and that was about it.)

There were many reasons I was so glad to leave grade school behind and move onto high school, but this definitely ranked up there at the top of my list as one of the main reasons.

For all of you out there who want to call me a party-pooper and ask me why I hate fun: you'll have to excuse me. Yes, I appreciate that it's a celebration of Irish and Irish American culture, and I'm all for the food and drink and church services you want to partake in, but just let me celebrate my own annual tradition of thanking the universe for never making me watch The Secret of Roan Inish again.

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