And Gutenberg Lived Here: The Times of March, And The Plastic Paddy.

March is coming.


The time of the most famous ides of all.

Not to mention the time of year I wait-

well, all year-


The clock moves forward,

the sun comes out of hiding,

the white asparagus shivers

under its plastic sheet in the fields,

waiting to be served as the first,

and very very expensive,

asparagus of the year.

The famous

“lemon juice or butter?”

Easter asparagus.

Which you will definitely need,

to clean the system out,

after that which I wait with bated breath-

or was that baited-

hard to tell with all those adjectives dangling-

my once per year chance to make a fool out of myself

playing Plastic Paddy.

Now, to understand this phenomenon,

you have to be from an Irish-American family-

the ones who put out fairy bottles filled with milk and booze-

of course you readers from Ireland have never heard of it-

see, Plastic Paddy.

Only a yank would do something that daft.

(But it still is a lot of fun.-

since the parents have to drink the bottle contents,

hey, it’s only one of those airplane size minis-

so the kids aren’t disappointed

the next morning.

And afraid,

of all the….

did I mention I’m from an area that sets up the veiled prophet parade each year-

all kinds of floats,

with a man in a gigantic black beard and Leave It To Jeanie costume,

actually, there are also bunches of young ladies,

who look much better in the costume.

And they are all supposed to be reincarnations

of Irish legends.

Thought up by the good founders of St Louis

to sell things like storm windows,

and winter fuel,

and tiles for roof repair

in a geographic area


if you are lucky,

the snow up to the roof

melts in time

to pluck Easter Eggs

from the trees.

The paintings of which

probably also has something to do with Irish legends.

So anyway,

there we are,

waiting for the ides,

and the asparagus,

and the chance to put on an idiot costume,

and do Irish dancing-

hey, some of the local kids are very very good.

And sing songs like Mrs Murphy’s chowder,

which I’m sure no real Irish person knows,

but it still is one heck of a lot of fun.

And all twenty-three verses of

My Wild Colonial Boy.

(When we go plastic, we don’t skimp on anything.)

But then,

just in case you were thinking “Only the yanks”

or “only the Usa”

as the Germans call us,

I saw an article today.

(I was researching something, ok-

not my fault if it got a little bit out of hand.)

And found,

in addition to some fantastic google pictures,

a great whopping fantastic article

in the Skibbereen Eagle,

with pictures of last year’s St Pat’s day-

In chicago, New York, London

(with Japanese leprechauns,

and the London eye lighted green)

And Australia,

And Little Whizzie Georgia-

Everywhere the world

has been made

just a little bit more Irish.

And the thought suddenly came to me:

I wonder if the Irish

had to learn about this

from the newspaper?

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