Wednesday, March 18, 2020

While it appears more and more likely that we will be isolated at home for the next two weeks, we contemplated how this might impact our daily revelry. Without question, it will. We have numerous items on our calendar that involve us heading out to public parties and events – even yesterday I was looking forward to downing a green beer for the first time since I was 20. Provided we can acquire our needed groceries, our cooking celebrations should remain. Goofy stuff like Everything You Do Is Right Day won’t change. But some will be sacrificed to the demon that is COVID. So be it – our attitude and our mission remain the same. Feel free to party with us from your own socially distanced panic room.

St. Patrick’s Day

Oh, for the debaucherous madcap mayhem of our St. Patty’s Day youth. Even when the day has the audacity to show up on a Tuesday, we would still indulge tradition, consume some libations and buy into the stereotypes. Yesterday, as stated above, we had planned to revive this state of irresponsibility and get a little goofy, but our plans had to change. Jodie’s pneumonia has hit cruise control and maintained its debilitating groove, so the party was left for me. Luckily, I had some Irish whiskey left over from Irish Coffee Day, so I enjoyed some of that. I listened to some Van Morrison. It was a fine, if utterly sedate celebration.

It should be pointed out that St. Patrick’s Day is – as the name implies – first and foremost a religious celebration. Specifically it honours St. Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. It has become the most widely celebrated national holiday on the planet, probably because celebrating it can be as simple as wearing green (for kids), right up to severe public intoxication (for the rest of us). I was surprised to learn that in Newfoundland & Labrador, St. Patrick’s Day is an actual off-work holiday for government employees.

As for Pat himself, his big claim to Christian fame was that he allegedly converted thousands of druid-types to Christianity. There were no snakes driven out of Ireland – snakes weren’t really there to begin with. The reason shamrocks are associated with the day is that Pat used them to illustrate the Holy Trinity. Not sure why a visual was needed to illustrate this point, but I don’t know how swift the 5th century Irish pagans were.

The list of worldwide celebrations to honour this day are fantastic. Numerous celebrations stretch out over multiple days, even a week. Montreal, a city so Irish it has a shamrock on its city flag, has held a huge parade every year since 1824. In New York the parade has endured for more than 250 years. This year both parades have been postponed – not cancelled, because you don’t fuck with tradition. But it saddens me that these joyous celebrations will not be rocking the middle of March as they always have. Oh well, we’ll get to them.

National Corned Beef & Cabbage Day

Our original plan for this day involved a traditional Irish recipe of corned beef and cabbage. This was altered – not because of our current state of quarantine, but because we both agreed this looked like a mostly unpleasant meal. And a great corned beef is a terrible thing to waste, so we opted instead for some corned beef on rye, with a side of coleslaw obtained from Da-De-O, our favourite dining establishment, just hours before they closed down for a couple weeks. Dinner was terrific.

Corned beef is beef brisket cured with salt, and usually other spices. The meat is treated with large-grained rock salt, apparently called ‘corns’ of salt. Usually nitrates are used, which gives the beef its pink colour. Ireland was the big producer of corned beef for trade, which is likely why this day lands on St. Patrick’s Day. The twist here is that, while the Irish were producing most of the corned beef for the western world, they didn’t eat a lot of it. It was pricy stuff, and since Ireland wasn’t swimming in cash back then, most of it was earmarked for export.

While corned beef had traditionally been associated with Irish cuisine, it hit its stride in the 20th century when it morphed into Jewish-American food, using brisket as the beef base. If you smoke the stuff (like, using a smoker – don’t try stuffing your brisket into a bong), you’ll wind up with pastrami. Either way, you’ve got yourself a tasty sandwich.

As for cabbage, we covered that on National Cabbage Day back on February 17. The coleslaw is, I believe, cabbage’s highest achievement. It was a tasty celebration yesterday.

National Introverts Week

This couldn’t have landed at a better time. Just as we are all being sentenced to living life as introverts until this virus blows over, we can celebrate the lifestyle.

Introvertism is pretty easy to figure out. Humans are social creatures, but that sort of general statement needs to be considered as a spectrum. Some folks don’t feel comfortable out in big crowds, or even in little crowds. To some, social distancing is something worth celebrating on its own, and if the government is wagging its bureaucratic finger and insisting we all do it, those folks will have no problem adjusting.

Jodie is a homebody, but not so much an introvert. So she’s happiest here within our walls, dogs on hand and tranquility a-plenty, but when called upon she is outgoing and extraverted. I’m somewhere in the middle – I don’t thrive bouncing from stranger to stranger at parties, but I also don’t shy away from conversing with new people. I’m a mid-vert.

But this week we’re all introverts. We’ll yap and share pics and spread our presences around social media, but all from the comfort of home. It’s medically prudent today – though for the true introverts among us, it’s a way of life. We can learn something from these people. Mostly we can learn that we’ll get through this just fine.

How about a quartet of items, all of which we can celebrate from our little bunker?

  • National Awkward Moments Day. Our lives are full of them. We will likely not experience any today, but we can discuss some of our lingering ones.
  • National Lacy Oatmeal Cookie Day. My mom, our team baker, has us covered for this one.
  • National Sloppy Joe Day. I guess we’re having some sloppy supper.
  • Forgive Mom & Dad Day. All this merriment, and now we have to get a bit solemn and serious. Oh well. We’ll follow it up with some lacy oatmeal cookies.

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