Getting our Irish up ahead of St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day is the time of year when everyone wants to be Irish for a few hours and their definition of being Irish is being an obnoxious drunk. There are actually a lot of nice things about being Irish and Ireland has given us a lot of great things besides a love of the drink.

Among the many positive contributions the Irish have made to the world is music, and around St. Patrick’s Day every year a litany of Irish groups come through the Big Apple to quench our thirst for authentic Irish art.

The Chieftains have been popularizing traditional Irish music since the 1960s and with some luck of the Irish and the busy schedule of generous in-laws, my wife and I scored tickets to see them at Town Hall in midtown Manhattan.

Most of the crowd at the show were well-dressed middle aged people like me or older. I thought I might be overdressed but I wasn’t, which confirms yet again I’ve reached middle age where I can blend in with a crowd that used to look old to me.

But sitting behind us was a loud, possibly drunk, but definitely rude women who acted as if she were in her living room, talking loudly and even shouting ahead to a woman seated in the row ahead of us. After sitting through several songs listening to this absurdly inane and incredibly impolite chatter, my wife asked her to keep her voice down.

The woman took great offense and spent the rest of the show muttering under her breath about how she planned to confront my wife. ‘Go ahead lady,’ I thought to myself. ‘It’s your funeral.’

The Chieftains put on an outstanding performance. They’ve had many celebrated collaborators in the past and had an impressive cast of guest musicians and dancers joining them throughout the evening. A good time was had by all.

Once the show was over and the lights went up, the woman told my wife that she had no right to ask her to be quiet, that the show was for everyone to enjoy and some such malarkey. My wife told her in no uncertain terms that she was wrong and needed to learn some manners. The woman, embarrassed to be called out for such puerile behavior, wouldn’t let go. But my wife can dish out whatever you send her way. The woman’s friends were horrified and did not want to see their friend get thrashed by a visibly pregnant woman.

One of her friends motioned to me and implored me to get my wife out of the building. I told her it was her friend that needed the help, not my wife. The rude woman’s friends eventually corralled her and we all went our separate ways.

No punches were thrown, no chairs hurled through the air. I’m glad for that, though I think it would have been great to watch my pregnant wife knock out this nasty shrew of a woman. I’d take a video of it and then yell, “WORLDSTAR!!” and post it to WorldStarHipHop web site, a popular place to post videos of altercations.

In the end we walked out into the sweet Spring New York night and walked to Times Square, where my wife once reminded me that sometimes you have to enjoy being a tourist in your own city.

We will survive the stupidity of this St. Patrick’s Day as we have survived all others, with pride in our Irish culture intact and our tempers only a little bit the worse for wear.

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