It would appear that I’ll be whiling away my precious Irish holiday by playing St Patrick’s Day games with my grandkids. Everything from Shamrock Scramble to Kiss the Blarney Stone to Leprechaun Trap.
Had I practiced such untainted activities throughout most of my adult life on St. Paddy’s Day, my rap sheet would be miles shorter.
Need I discuss my history as a partier on March 17th? Hardly. It’s all been well-documented. In 16 cities and 11 states. Yup, until recent years, you could count on my name prominently fixated in the newspapers on March 18th, recounting the chaos I had drummed up.
I’m innocent, by blarney. It’s the Dublin-born Rory Regan who has led me astray year after year. He’s my best friend and worst enemy all rolled into 280 pounds.
Regan’s one of those Irishmen who can drink the town dry and still stay relatively sober. Meself, I’m a low-tolerance bloke. Booze grabs me in weird ways. Especially on St. Patrick’s Day when the acting bug suddenly takes a big bite out of me keister, and I inexplicably teeter through barrooms, pretending to become other people.
Or so I’m told.
I’ve no memory of it, but my wildest characterization must have been pretending that I had been born in China and hadn’t learned English until I was in my 20s. According to all reports, I swept about the bar speaking English with a heavy Chinese accent, rendering Regan mortified. Pity.
Actually, ’twas Regan’s moonshine whiskey during our St. Pat’s misadventure of 1998 that brought my St. Pat’s drinking career to a screeching halt. Prior to that year, at least I’d managed to confine my antics (and accents) to North America.
Regan insisted upon flying me to Dublin, Ireland. I can’t really remember much about the trip, but I can clearly recall the look on my wife’s face when she met our plane on March 18, 1998. Drenched in green, Regan was pushing me into the terminal in a wheelchair. Believe me, I was in no condition to walk.
For St. Paddy’s Day, 1999, Regan promised my wife faithfully that, not only would I not drink, but he himself would stay dry.
Regan kept his word. ‘Twas a no-hooch night all right. All I remember consuming were brownies, garnished with little candied leprechauns.
After a few of those yummies, I noted that we were both in even livelier spirits than we’d ever been while downing moonshine all night. In fact, we simply couldn’t stop smiling.
“Rory, me lad, I wish you’d have baked these brownies when we were single because they make me feel so damn good-looking,” I simpered.
The more we munched away, the more we got the giggles. Since we were so joyful, Regan proposed playing what he referred to as Rory’s Glue Game.
“It’s a fun game,” Regan insisted. “Easy. All ya gotta do is remember that, when you come to the word ‘YOU,’ in a song, just substitute the word ‘GLUE’ in its place.”
He was singing at the top of his lungs such hits as “Glue’ll never know just how much I love glue . . .” and many more.
Wouldn’t ya know, I was somehow too screwed up to think of a single song with the word “you,” in its lyric, but I died laughing at all of his.
Oddly, after I arrived home, even with all of those brownies in me tummy, I was still ravenously hungry. During my hunt for munchies, my belt somehow got caught on the knife and fork drawer and, when I staggered away, the entire drawer came loose, the utensils hitting the floor and making a horrible clatter.
I giggled, sat on the floor and started singing at the top of my lungs: “Glue do something to me. Glue got the power to hypnotize me.”
NOW? Now my brain kicked in with a song that had “you” in the lyrics?
I sensed my wife’s presence and looked up.
“Hi, wife! Wakey-wakey?”
“Hi, husband. How hi — are you?”
“Glue know me so well.”
Since 1999, Regan is forbidden to come within 200 feet of me on St. Patrick’s Day.
— Steve Eskew
Retired businessman Steve Eskew received master’s degrees in dramatic arts and communication studies from the University of Nebraska at Omaha after he turned 50. After one of his professors asked him to write a theater column, he began a career as a journalist at The Daily Nonpareil in Council Bluffs, Iowa. This led to hundreds of publications in a number of newspapers, most of which appear on his website, eskewtotherescue.com.