Wednesday, March 17, 2021

There’s still Irish soda bread and Eugene O’Neill

     Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
     No parades, alas, or packed pubs. Not so many knots of young folk in black plastic bowlers and shamrock-tipped deely-bobbers doing their day-drinking forced marches from one River North bar to another.
     The city did dye the river green, in a surprise bit of late coronavirus festivity — all together now, class: “THANK YOU MAYOR LIGHTFOOT! THANK YOU, PLUMBERS UNION!” — which worked, if only as a reminder that we don’t have to actually see stuff in person anymore as long as it flashes beautifully across Instagram.
     And continuing our festive, look-on-the-bright-side mood, there is still Irish soda bread. Not quite as valuable as Yeats; not far behind, either.  
Eugene O'Neill
     That’s the trick nowadays. Turn losses into positives. For instance, yes, no big downtown St. Patrick’s Day Parade, no smaller-but-more-fun South Side Irish Parade.
     You know what else there isn’t? I haven’t heard a single aggrieved Irish-American complain bitterly that canceling the parades is a genocide against themselves and their culture, how their dead Irish ancestors who made the journey to Chicago will rise up from their uneasy graves to demand that those parades be held, COVID-19 be damned.
     I’m sure both Irish-Chicagoans and Plain-Old-Chicagoans in general aren’t happy about no parades. But even the more lackadaisical, mask-around-your-chin, pack-the-bar-tent-and-pretend-you’re-outside would-be revelers won’t stare grimly into the camera and claim this is being done to spite them. It’s encouraging to conjure sentiments so stupid that people aren’t expressing them. That gets harder and harder to do.

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  1. This life-long Chicagoan hates parades!
    Because other than maybe the Xmas Parade the no longer circus parade, they're not for us, they're actually for the crooked politicians, a classic oxymoron if there ever was, to demonstrate their fealty to whatever tribe was parading that day.
    On top of that, the parades screw up the buses!

    1. You know what I hate? Weddings. I'll be trying to quietly tramp through the Botanic Garden, and here's this BRIDE and GROOM just standing there, in the middle of the path, holding hands and posing for the camera and such. It's SO inconvenient to have to gaze upon their happiness, even for a moment...

    2. Not really. I just thought this is the best way to communicate how hating parades seems to me.

    3. On one of our visits to Chicag we were on a bus heading back to our hotel.
      We were stopped in traffic longer than usual.
      The driver got up and said it looks like it may be a while before we start moving due to a parade ahead. He added that if we wanted we could get off the bus.
      We decided to walk the rest of the way and also see the parade.
      We arrived at the parade and observed hundreds of nude bicyclists bringing attention not only to themselves but to climate change.
      Can’t say I hate parades.

    4. Mister S, how do you feel about the wedding photo shoots? You're sitting quietly with your squeeze, on a sunny Saturday, and you're in a city park or by the lakefront, and suddenly a TOUR BUS pulls up, rumbling and snorting, and disgorges dozens of bridesmaids and groomsmen, sometimes in formalwear, but always dressed to the nines.

      They mill around. They giggle and chuckle. They get organized. Then the photographers start clicking away, as do all the friends and relatives with their goddam phones. The whole crowd actually expects you to get the hell out of Dodge, so they can have their precious moment. Bullcookies.

      There are now some highly-prized locations where the wedding parties DO have that right...certain scenic spots, such as waterfalls and formal gardens, are being RESERVED at certain times on Saturdays, and there are park rangers there, with their steenkeng bahd-jes, making sure the wedding parties have priority and that there are no conflicts. I'm sure the Botanic Gardens are booked months in advance.

      And yet, forty percent of these idiots, after spending outrageous sums of money on one extravagant event, will end up getting divorced, somewhere down the road.

      Big lavish weddings...may as well take your money and set it on fire. At least they could have put a down payment on some kind of decent living space Maybe a condo, if a house is out of reach. There's no vaccine for the moronic plague.

    5. Is it really that common an annoyance? Maybe you need to see things from their perspective. They arrive on the scene, all joyous and ready to take their once-in-a-lifetime shots, and there's this guy sitting on the park bench, giving them the stink eye, spoiling the festive mood. Since you ask, the complaint strikes me as joyless, and selfish, and testy.

    6. My wife, having grown up poor, also frowns on those ostentatious displays of conspicuous consumption, but she says the same things about me that you said. Calls me a curmudgeon and a killjoy, but in saltier language. When I get up and mosey on, it's because she asks me to, not because the bus passengers do.

  2. ive only been to one major parade when the sox won the championship in 2005. other than that I avoid them or am indifferent or agree with clark street. why hold them every year for decades even centuries? thankfully I dont take the bus.

    public weddings are annoying as well . you know me im not a hater , but much of traditional life seems like crap I can gladly do without . as the kids say: miss me with that shit

  3. I'll go with Clark Street on this one, but not for his reasons, never for his reasons. I was a cab driver for several years, futilely saving up experiences for the "great American novel." So I hated anything that tied up traffic, including parades, protests, marathons, snow, ice, pedestrians, bicyclists, drunken sailors, and yes, weddings. Goes to show you what single-mindedness will do for one's enjoyment of life. Though I did march in one, a Gay Pride Parade at that, with my daughter down Halsted Street wearing a Back Jack O'Malley t-shirt and it was great fun, especially noting how O'Malley dexterously and inobtrusively avoided getting kissed on the cheek by any of the drag queens out to embarrass the probably hypocritical marching politicians.


  4. O’Neill is so good that I thought he must be American.

    1. Point taken. He was born here. Of Irish heritage. Studs Terkel was born in New York City. But he's still a Chicago writer.

  5. I don't have the antipathy toward parades that some of the esteemed commenters above do, but the ones I've attended in Chicago always just seemed long and boring to me. Oh, look, a fire truck!

    Creosote's is the comment I was looking for, though.


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