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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    The bad luck of the irish

    Andi Berlinarts columnist
    Andi Berlin
    arts columnist

    A myriad of expensive seafood. A genuine taste of Irish culture. Free alcohol.

    The St. Patrick’s Day Guinness and Oyster Festival in Phoenix was going to be the climax of my spring break; an afternoon of fine dining and high-class society. Or at least that’s what I thought until I got there.

    Instead of the Scottsdale pish-posh and soft grass fields I expected, the festival was smack in the middle of a dirty parking lot in Chandler. A large metal fence encircled an area of about 100 feet, bustling with hundreds of glory day yuppies, raging drunk frat guys and rich old white women in tacky green tube tops and stubborn back fat. It was definitely not representative of Ireland. In fact, the whole thing smelled like stale beer and moldy advertisements.

    Outside the fences were a line of fifty people in ridiculous attire that ranged from gigantic cork heels, obnoxious green shirts that said things like, “”You must be Irish ’cause my dick is Dublin,”” to a Renaissance dress on one woman, peculiarly. The scene was freaking me out, but my father, whom I came to see in the first place, insisted on going in.

    After waiting in line for ten minutes, we paid ten dollars each and then realized there was yet another line for raffle tickets once you passed the gate. While standing there, I found out what all the commotion was about.

    At the front of the cage-like fence, a lame ’90s cover band all in khakis and button up shirts that didn’t cover their chest hair, was blasting out Pink Floyd’s “”Wish You Were Here.”” It would have been cool, except every butchered lyric that came out of the guy’s mouth sounded like it was being sung by Blues Traveler right after heart surgery. And plus, the song wasn’t Irish.

    We stood around for a few more minutes until we finally got our raffle tickets, and then walked to the food booth.

    “”No oysters,”” replied the completely bald man with a bright green goatee. “”Just corn beef and Shepherd’s Pie.””

    “”Umm, we’ll have the corned beef,”” my dad hesitated.

    “”Where’s your food ticket?”” the guy huffed. After seeing the perplexed expression on our faces, he pointed over to another line as long as a skyscraper is tall. Then, he laughed sardonically.

    “”Let’s go into the bar. We might be able to get an actual cup in there,”” my dad said.

    But when we walked in, I felt like I was in an underwater cave shelter during the tsunami. People were smashed together like ten Tokyo subway systems in the space of a block; everyone was bumping into each other and shooting beer five feet up into the air. It was so smoky, nobody could see the person next to them, so they were forced to scream their trivialities like they were at a Kiss concert.

    Gasping for air, I belted out and decided just to put up with the line and get over it. When we got to the front, my dad wasn’t sure how many tickets to get, so he randomly purchased $24 worth. When we got to the beer line, we were informed it was $6 worth of tickets for a beer and $8 worth for an “”Irish Threesome.””

    When the overly enthusiastic barmaid informed my dad that the Threesome was just an Irish Car Bomb, he agreed to do it. And that’s when it happened.

    A piercing scream erupted out of the depths of this woman’s stomach. It was so loud it shattered all the tacky plastic earrings of everyone roaming around the area, and actually caused the guy in the three foot tall foam Leprechaun hat to trip over a plastic Blarney stone and fall on his face. The scream seemed to linger eternally in a different dimension of my brain, and I was still hearing it for minutes like some kind of torture treatment at a terrorist camp.


    As her body pulsated, her eyes bulged out like a rubber alien and her hands flailed around in windmills, my dad picked up the plastic cup and drank the concoction.

    “”Thanks,”” he said, and we walked off.

    After a couple more beers and a plate of corned beef and cabbage that tasted like strips of plastic dipped in chemicals, we realized we were $2, or one ticket, short of our last beer. We weren’t about to wait in line again (the band was playing Los Lobos, after all) so we walked out of the fence and got stamped on the hand, as if we’d want to get back in.

    It’s kind of sad that so many Americans think they are somehow experiencing a bit of Ireland by getting drunk in a parking lot cage, but it’s even sadder that these Americans are the people most of us look up to. Sometimes the high-class just aren’t so classy.

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