Most every year there is a push to move the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day to the weekend, eliminating the inherent conflict between “workday” and “drunk all day”.
Last year, the Irish Catholic Church switched the date of St. Patrick’s Day to Saturday, March 15 so that the national saint day wouldn’t interfere with the first day of Holy Week. The injunction manifested on campus as two separate, equally riotous holidays.
It goes to show that you can’t move St. Patrick’s Day — for many students, the Saturday before a weekday St. Pat’s is only St. Practice Day.
This, of course, leads to the issue of how to treat the school day. Some students just decide to blow off class. But others think, why take an absence just for being a little sauced? And besides, that pitcher of green beer from Charlie’s might be just what they need to finally pontificate their thoughts in discussion. It’s perhaps not the best idea, but evidently a popular one.
Business school senior Brandon, who asked that only his first name be used, said that he and his friends would probably hit the bars around 8 a.m. this Tuesday and then split up to go to class. He said going drunk to class has been an annual tradition that started his first year on campus.
“It was a Friday,” Brandon said of St. Patrick’s Day his freshman year. “Half the class was drunk. I mean they were wearing beads, they were wearing St. Patrick’s Day stuff. You could just tell when someone was drunk. They weren’t sober — I’ll tell you that much. Teachers expect it, though, so it’s not that big a deal.”
Whether lecturers expect it or not is questionable. Most instructors interviewed for this article said that they never notice a difference in their students or that all they notice is a dip in attendance.
But an LSA lecturer, who asked for anonymity because he is up for review, had an experience on St. Patrick’s Day two years ago that he couldn’t ignore. One student in his 8:30 a.m. American Culture seminar drunk dialed him — during the class — and told him to bring the other students to Ashley’s to meet her.
Weekday St. Patrick’s Day celebrations are generally more discreet than their boisterous weekend counterparts. And considering some of last Saturday’s St. Practice Day festivities, that’s sure to be the case last year.
Anyone who walked past many of the University’s fraternity houses on Saturday likely saw the entire brotherhood, along with their many friends, keeping the green-adorned pseudo-holiday in full throttle — like Chi Psi, which roasted a 130-pound pig on its house’s front lawn on State Street.
Tuesday, meanwhile, revolved around bars like Mitch’s, Charley’s and Ashley’s that opened extra early to accommodate the college crowd before classes began. For many students, it was the one day of the year to get up early — they made sure to have time to catch a good buzz so they could spend the rest of the day in a celebratory haze, decked all in green and skating through class happily and unnoticeably drunk.
Of course, each year, some aren’t so inconspicuous.
When he was an LSA junior, Vinny, a law student who asked not to be identified, made a scene in his English class — and not just because he came in wearing green glow sticks.
“My phone was on ringer, which I didn’t know, and in front of my 15-person discussion, it was just going off and I had no clue that it was my phone,” he said. “I kept looking around. The girl next to me kept like kicking me and looking at me. Finally, I realized that it was my phone.”
Vinny tried to play it off like he hadn’t been celebrating before class. It was unsuccessful.
“I used the word convoluted — it’s a good English word whenever you have nothing to say — and the GSI quickly passed over me,” he said.
Perhaps LSA senior Chris Orr has a better approach. Like Vinny, Orr started drinking early and took a few Nalgene bottles filled with Killian’s Irish Red to class just to “keep the buzz going.” Orr gets regularly bored in class on St. Patrick’s Day.
“Generally most of the classes on St. Patrick’s Day I leave halfway through,” Orr said. “Once I was leaving and the teacher made a point out of it because I was wearing green.”
Orr suspects that the lecturer’s comment alluded to more than just his festive clothes.
“I may have been wobbling a little bit,” he said.
In response, Orr just laughed and walked out of the auditorium.
“I was in no condition to say anything smart or have a retort ready so I just admitted that I was pretty much pegged — she pretty much pegged me,” he said.