Amateur Night II
English: Picture of a beam in the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin. Taken by me on 22 May 2007. Text reads, “Everyone’s Irish on March 17th”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
New Year’s Eve generally brings everyone out to celebrate the end of one year and the beginning of the next. In truth it is just another day, but we have turned it into a national day of drinking for the vast majority of the over 21 crowd as well as some who are not quite there. Of course, we are not the only ones. Much of the so-called “civilized world” is out celebrating. That makes the perfect opportunity for news crews to get out and record the mayhem. The problem with all this revelry is it brings out people who do not normally go out and party to excess. These greenhorns and newbies become a menace to themselves as well as the general public. With a national average of 140 traffic deaths on New Year’s, this truly is a bad night to take to the roads even if you were not drinking.
Peer pressure certainly has a lot to do with people going out to do little more than drink past the point of intoxication. Everyone is going to a party or bar, so “What are you doing on New Year’s Eve?” is a popular question. You feel the need to have a good answer weeks before the actual event. “I am going to McDrunk’s Bar and Grill. They are having a live band. The Intoxicators go on at 10 and play until 2.” Since there are so many people at the party, it is often referred to by people who frequent the bars as “Amateur Night.” This is so scary to some people who get out plenty of times during the year, that they elect to stay home rather than run the risk of getting run down by the drinking neophyte.
While St. Patrick’s Day is not the second deadliest night of drunken driving fatalities for the year, it is the second time in chronological order that the learners and nonprofessional drinkers go out to drink. This time they may pour down some Irish ale, green-colored beer or other refreshment they are not used to having. Since everyone thinks they are Irish every 17th of March, or whatever day the local bars are celebrating it, everyone seems to thinks it is Amateur Night 2. For many it also turns into Hangover 2 or “Dear God, I promise never to do that again, I’m begging you just make me well.” Since God is not making deals with you, the day after your personal Irish Fest is another day to lay around feeling like you should not move or a time for calling off work. If you do not show up at your job, however, we can only come to one conclusion.
There are other Amateur Nights as well, nicely spaced throughout the year. Next up for most will be Memorial Day. For some it is the entire 3 day weekend. Beware of those that try to cure a Friday Night amateur hour with a follow-up “hair of the dog” cure. It is not helpful to cure your drinking with more drink. According to a past Forbes ranking our third attempt at suicide by alcohol only ranks 4th on the list. The scary thing is the three-day time span that allows freshmen drinkers to hit the bars and maybe a few cars too.
As everyone puts on something green to pretend they are dressing up for the holiday, they should try to keep in mind that the novices are out there too. So take heed. If you ae a learner at the art of partying, I can pass along some advice that you will no doubt ignore. It is best to learn that moderation is a good thing. Designated drivers are a good thing. “Pacing” yourself is a good thing. Do not be the one who has to call friends the next day to find out where your car is or to explain why you got your face slapped by someone you do not even know. Perhaps you need to go to a karaoke bar and sing a lot. You won’t be drinking while your singing and you will find that everyone thinks your off-key melodies sound great after they have been there a while.
If you survive these amateur festivals of alcohol worship all the way to Thanksgiving you will find that you can give thanks the beginners did not get you. Rejoice in the fact that St. Patrick’s Day turned into a pleasant evening. Be thankful that your friends and family survived too, but do not get too comfortable. While taking your wine or beer with your turkey and football do not forget the amateurs. Caution may be the key word not just when you are wearing a silly green hat. Thanksgiving, not St Pat’s, is the deadliest holiday time of all the Amateur nights. Beware the Ides of March too, as well as the days that follow.
Note: There are a lot of deadly holiday lists on the web. While they tend to include all the same holidays, the rankings vary from list to list. The good news is that St. Patrick’s Day does not even make many of the Top 10 deadliest holidays.