Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I Am Not Irish; Do NOT Pinch Me

Ever since I was a little kid, I hated St. Patrick's Day.

Pinching those who did not wear green on March 17th was THE THING to do at Lincoln Elementary, I'm sure as it was at every damn elementary school everywhere in this country, then and now. Heaven protect the poor fool who forgot to wear green that day, he or she was literally -- I mean literally -- pinched black and blue by the time the day was over. Some teachers took pity on people and passed out paper shamrocks to pin to shirts, but nine times out of ten some creep would rip the shamrock off, shriek "He's NOT wearing green!" and pinch away.

I hated them.

Then, too, there was the lunchroom attendant/recess aid who loved St. Patrick's Day and, in addition, attended church with my mother. That meant I was pinched unmercifully, if tenderly, by a crasy woman not above chasing us through the playground. These were much more innocent times back then; today, you'd get on the news with this kind of shenanigans.

Worse than the pinches, though, were the smug little farts who wore concealed green and lived by the rule that said if you were pinched but had green on somewhere, you got to pinch the pincher ten times. Everyone hated the little creep whose mom bought him green underwear.

I stopped pinching in the third grade, though there was little I could do to avoid being pinched. "I'm not Irish, I'm half Dutch," I'd say to the owners of those stupid pinchy fingers. That is true, my father came from a land where they used their fingers fore more useful pursuits than pinching -- they stuck them in leaky dikes. Not that it did any good. Everybody got pinched, though I'm sure there was only one kid in the whole school who could claim direct Irish ancestry. I had a crush on her. I was too shy to go anywhere near her, let alone pinch her.

So now I'm a grumpy old man with kids of my own. They wear green to school on the 17th of March, simply because there's no getting out of it. I do not wear green to work. I tell people who want to pinch that it's a quaint old Dutch tradition to punch people who pinch. I tell them that with a smile on my face, of course. So far, no pinching. Or punching.

No comments: