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Friday, March 4, 2005

Unofficial St. Patrick's Day

Unofficial St. Patrick's Day is an annual holiday unique to the UIUC. Since the official holiday customarily entails superfluous amounts of binge drinking but only arbitrarily falls on a weekend, some brilliant mind (probably a group of bar owners) conceived of the idea of celebrating it the Friday before... starting at 8am.

As I left the apartment this noon for a meeting I made sure to bring my camera with me in an effort to document the campuswide shenanigans. By the time I was half way to my destination I noticed this guy in a full-blown leprechaun suit walking down Green St. He was holding one green balloon in his hand. Meanwhile revelers were leaning over the balconies of the apartments behind Legends, which itself was packed with people. When I got near C.O. Danels there was a queue of several dozen green t-shirts, skirts, pants, hair, hats and teeth extending down the sidewalk, the same as bars all over campus. The high noon sun shined on a girl selling chocolate vaginas-on-a-stick outside C.O.s. They were for some student organization.

After the meeting I went for a Philly cheese steak at Silver Mine, a submarine joint sandwiched between Kam's and C.O.s, and made sure to get a window seat looking out at the action. An Indian girl wearing a "Kiss Me I'm Irish" t-shirt hobbled past to get in line at Kam's. She was on crutches but wore this steely look of determination on her face as if to say, "Goddamnit I will get fucked up by 2pm this afternoon."

I sat reminiscing on my faded glory of years past. Unofficial for me was like the U of I Beer Olympics with awards in the Farthest Cookie Toss, Best Recovery After Falling on Your Ass, and Fastest To Get Wasted categories. Now I sit on the sidelines proud to watch my future alumni (hopefully most of them graduate) cavort and canoodle their way to intestinal oblivion. As I see the sparkle in their eyes, the stutter in their step, the chanting, the chugging, the bottle-breaking - the all-out disregard for society's policy of polite behavior on a weekday, a tiny explosion of warmth and tenderness fills the inside of my chest cavity until I can no longer hold it inside.

Or wait. Maybe it's just the Philly.

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