Amoeblog


(In which we learn the true story of St. Patrick.)

Posted by Job O Brother, March 14, 2010 06:52pm | Post a Comment

Rad.

I’ve only just returned from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) where I spent the morning with my pal, Señor Danger. I was eager to visit one of their current exhibits, American Stories: Paintings of Everyday Life, 1765–1915, because it showcases one of my favorite works, Watson and the Shark, by hunky bad boy John Singleton Copley.

I’ll be honest: there was a moment when Señor Danger and I silently tried to work out a plan where we could sneak the painting out under my jacket or something, but my jacket isn’t 35 feet wide, so we opted to just stand there and marvel at it a bit.

The exhibit is fantastic, and anyone who can should check it out. I realize that most people don’t live in Los Angeles, but still, make an effort. As an added incentive, anyone who travels to the LACMA from more than 100 miles away gets a free Colt Model 1873 Single Action Army revolver autographed by Mary Pickford!*

This Wednesday is Saint Patrick’s Day. It’s also the birthday of Nat “King” Cole, John Wayne Gacy, Seneca St. James, Emperor Shijō, and Nalii DeLap. What do all these people have in common? Uh, their birthdays are all on St. Patrick’s Day – are you paying attention or what?


For many of us, St. Patrick’s Day is a mildly amusing 24 hours, most commonly marked by drinking beer the color of anti-freeze and getting to pinch and touch fellow co-workers without being sued for sexual harassment. But this day means more – so much more. So very much more. More. Much.

Much.

The history behind St. Patrick’s Day is rich, and vital to understanding the psyche of the Irish, for whom March 17 is a national holiday. (I don't have anything to substantiate this claim of Irish psychology, but that's okay because... of... um... OH WOW LOOK!!!)

saints
(Taken from his Grindr profile)

Almost nothing factual is known about St. Patrick. Thankfully, this has never stopped the Catholic Church from deifying, believing and creating rules and tradition based upon someone. What we do know is that he was born into a wealthy, Romano-British family whose pottery collection was the envy of every patrician across the Isles.

One day, while dressing up like corned beef & cabbage, he was kidnapped by a gang of hungry Irishmen who shipped him to Mayo, Ireland. While working part-time as a slave, Patrick had a dream in which God told him he should escape his imprisonment. (It’s interesting to note that Patrick didn’t  come up with this idea on his own. I mean, really – you needed Divine Intervention for that? Do you think Jesus also descended from Heaven and advised Patrick to eat food using his mouth and not his elbows? Or to never stick harpoons into his eyes? There’s certain common sense concepts for which we shouldn’t have to rely on mystic visions to comprehend. But I digress…)

Patrick followed God’s suggestion and escaped back to Britain. He eventually got a job being a bishop (which was good – provided full health and dental) and spent his time saving souls from an eternal damnation of hellfire and collecting thimbles.


"God appeared to me and said I should never try to kiss these."

In 432 AD (the same year that saw the death of everyone’s favorite emperor, 赫連定 - boo hoo!) Bishop Patrick returned to Ireland to convert its people to Christianity and maybe grab a tour of the Guinness Brewery. While he wasn’t the most successful of all the early Missionaries, he was the only one that could crack his knuckles two different ways.

clover

Patrick used the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity, assigning one leaf each to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. (This is the origin of our association with shamrocks and St. Patrick’s.) One day, when teaching this very lesson, he unwittingly used a rare, four-leaf clover, which resulted in their being one leaf extra. When the crowd of pagans listening to him asked what the extra leaf represented, Patrick, on the spot, blurted out that it represented his Aunt Gina.

“How is she an equal to God?” the crowd asked.

“Well,” Patrick fumbled, “She’s sweet and... just... she makes real good scones.”

The crowd was displeased with this answer and insisted that their local baker, Dáirine Cétchathach, made the best scones ever – they even had a bit of jelly in the middle “which ye wouldst find most yummy” – prompting those gathered to begin worshipping at the bakery, where the Eucharist was administered on disposable paper doilies with a sprinkling of powdered sugar meant to symbolize the suffering of Our Lord on the Cross, and cappuccinos were sipped to represent His Blood (sugar cubes Transubstantiated into Jesus’ body were optional).

Patrick flew into a rage and threw the four-leaf clover to the ground.

“This turn of events is most unlucky!” he cried to his secretary, a hearing impaired man who quickly made note of this.

Years later, everything that’s happened so far in history took place and that’s how we came to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day now.


And that's the true history behind St. Patrick's Day (except for the untrue parts). Yippee.


*Offer not valid to children under 4 years of age, the sight impaired, pregnant women, or anyone else at all.

Relevant Tags

Christianity (9), Jesus Christ (11), God (8), Emperor Shijo (1), Lacma (7), Los Angeles (169), John Singleton Copley (1), Watson And The Shark (1), Art (87), Painting (3), Señor Danger (2), St. Patrick’s Day (1), Mary Pickford (1), Nat King Cole (8), John Wayne Gacy (1), Seneca St. James (1), Nalii Delap (1), Grindr (1)