Public Intoxication Nation: St. Patrick’s Day in ClevelandPosted: March 22, 2012
It was St. Patrick’s Day, the next Rapid was fifteen minutes away, and I had to pee ASAP. “Why’d you drink a 16 oz. coffee and an entire Smart Water in the car?” my friend Amy—marveling at her own ability to determine the source of my urinary troubles—inquired. Fortunately, a local Shaker Heightsian was waiting at the RTA stop with us. He felt strongly that I should relieve myself in the public shrubbery across the street. After some convincing, I got up to do my business. When in Rome…
I surveyed the residential landscape like a soldier behind enemy lines. Ultimately, I decided not to fire and made my way back across the railroad tracks to the bench in defeat. A decent-sized crowd had materialized at the bus stop and most couldn’t mask their disappointment. “Pussy move,” one remarked.
The Rapid was a jumbled mishmash of marijuana smoke, sweat, and sing-alongs—I guess I should have anticipated the stench of weed on the greenest holiday of the year. Ever the instigator, I encouraged a nearby coterie of drunks to pass the time with “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall”. They made it all the way to ninety-three before predictably transitioning into “Don’t Stop Believing”, which was rendered insufferable sometime in the fall of 2009 by the theatre-types/Gleeks who believe the line “Born and raised in South Detroit” epitomizes lyrical genius.
Once I got off the train I ran to the makeshift porta-potty plaza outside of Tower City, which inexplicably included a Paul Blart the Mall Cop manning (or in this case, womanning) the premises. As if there was an outhouse bandit on the loose or something. She had a “No BS” look on her face, so I covertly snapped a body-shot. Any chance she’s a regular Scrawl So Hard reader?
As I navigated the streets in search of a prime parade-viewing spot, one thing was clear: There were way too many Ed’s and Ignatius kids here. Everyone in my crew agreed on this, but we were split on which school we disliked more. I said Ed’s, because who the hell cares about wrestling? Talk to me when your cross country program is elite. Also, Ignatius students were only downtown because it was Saturday. They’re forced to miss the festivities when St. Patrick’s Day falls on a weekday, or else they run the risk of losing the sense of academic pretentiousness that we all love hate them for.
Was the parade any good? That’s a tricky question to answer. No part of it included candy being thrown into the crowd, which was an atrocity on par with Kony 2012. A cavalcade of Girl Scouts had the audacity to march past me without as much as a complimentary box of Thin Mints. That shit was cold.
On the other hand, I met a vendor selling “St. Patrick’s Day: Bitches Drink Up” tees. Unsure of the return-on-investment I’d get from this shirt, I proceeded to ask the merchant if bitches, in fact, would drink up for me should I wear it. He’ll have some testimonials from previous customers at the very least, I thought. “Haaaa,” he replied. “You’re foolin’.”
Our next idea was to create as many awkward situations as possible for those in the parade. Awkward situations like handshakes that lasted two seconds too long and saying “Happy (fill in the blank with an obscure holiday other than St. Patrick’s Day)”. I wished old-timers a happy Armistice Day and hipsters a happy Arbor Day; both were simultaneously confused and delighted by these sentiments. When the Cleveland Dragon Boat Association made their long-awaited appearance, we knew it was time to join the procession for a segment of the route. This kid wasn’t flummoxed one bit, though:
Alas, my question “Why was something called the Cleveland Dragon Boat Association in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade?” never received an answer.
I returned to the crowd just in time for the WeedMan float. This seemed rather insignificant until I obtained a sheet of stickers from the Weed Man himself. He was like Santa Claus, except better. I planned to extend my hand towards unsuspecting paraders, ostensibly for a high-five. But no! They’d slap my palm and find a fat, round, sticky “W” on theirs. When I saw this woman, I had no choice—she was asking for it:
Immediately, a nearby spectator rushed over to congratulate me on the successful stunt: “That shit was cold.” Damn right it was.