SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Long time veteran drinker, Ciaran O’Shea sits in a corner of
The Plough and Stars on Saint Patrick’s Day, and sulks.
“It happens like this every year,” grouses 63-year old O’Shea. “All these children, that couldn’t hold a wee shot of Guinness much less the pints they’re swilling. come pouring in to this place making a right mess of things.” We watched him glaring with a one baleful blue eye while the other eye carefully monitored the progress of precious ale to his lips. “They come here to my home, and it IS my home whether I own it or not, disruptin’ the smooth distribution of alcohol.”
O’Shea claims the revelers make the process of drinking unsafe. “I’ve been drinking here for nigh on thirty years,” said O’Shea. “And I always sit at this table right here,” jabbing at the lovingly crafted, but well used, wooden table. “And I’ve mapped out the most efficient path from here to the bar where I gets me drink.” But we’re all human right? O’Shea has even planned for errors brought on by enjoying just a few too many. “I worked out that the average amount I’ll wobble is about six degrees to the right or left. The most being about thirteen degrees. Any more, and it’s time for a taxi, not more Guinness. This path I’ve worked out through years of study allows for my average amount of ‘tip’ and gives me convenient handholds so I make it to the bar safely, for another beer.”
So what exactly about St. Patrick’s Day makes this plan unsafe?
“It’s all these people in the way, shifting this way and that. Screamin’ and yellin’ not respecting the path of a true drinker. They change the whole calculation for a safe drinking path, making it treacherous. And they simply can’t hold their liquor properly.”
Meaning they get drunk easily?
Aye, there’s that, but mostly they’re spillin’ it everywhere. It makes the floor slippery, and that throws the whole drinking path calculation straight out the window. Ye could slip and fall at any time, and that makes it much harder to drink when you’re on your back.”
It isn’t only about safety for O’Shea, it’s about respect. He gestures to revelers who have a habit of pointing with their drink and spill. “Look at the way they slosh God’s Gift around like that, wastin’ it. Beer is a precious gift from God. Throwin’ it on the floor like that is a waste, and it makes it much harder to drink. ‘Waste not, want not,’ I was always taught, and Guinness doesn’t taste nearly as good when you have to lick it up off the carpet. How can any serious drinking ever be done if ye keep spillin’ it like that? It’s a surprise that any of them get enough down their throat to get drunk!”
So there you have it. According to one drinker, an artiste in the craft of enjoying a foamy brew, St. Patrick’s Day damages the efficiency and safety of careful and calculated drinking. For many the opposite is true, and St. Patrick’s is the day for drinking. We see now how experts are foiled by this traditional drinking holiday.