A couple of weeks ago I was watching the Marx Brothers movie A Night At The Opera and, surprisingly, one little joke struck a chord with me. In the scene, Groucho tries to read a contract to his brother Chico and holds the paper farther and farther away from his face. “I could read this if I had longer arms,” he quipped. “You don't happen to have a baboon in your pocket, do you?”
He was speaking for me, I felt, and I, unfortunately, don't have long baboon arms either.
I've come to believe that there are not two, but three things one can't avoid: death, taxes and … spectacles (the ocular type). Of course, not everyone ends up with windows on their eyes, and I never thought in my boisterous years I would be one of those types. But that was all prior to qualifying for the Wednesday senior discount at John Brooks.
Some people live to a ripe old age and never need glasses, and people say, “You are lucky to not have to wear glasses.” I really can't agree with that statement because that means the rest of us are unlucky. Unless you are blessed with the luck of the Irish, of course.
My first try at glasses was 15 years ago when my wife and I made the three and a half hour drive down to the border town of Palomas, Mexico. The optometrist on the plaza behind the Pink Store tested my eyes and by the time we left a couple of hours later I was sporting $100 bifocals...which, I came to realize, I didn't really need, and which I just quit wearing after a couple of months.
Next was catch-as-catch-can reading glasses that, being blundering at this sort of thing, never quite worked for me. It was only after getting my peepers checked at Dr. Woodward’s and then at the vision place that used to be in Gabaldon Plaza, I went back to off-the-shelf reading glasses. Next time it will be Laura County checking my eyes.
We’re nearing the middle of March and the blessed end of winter - at least on the calendar - and I have to admit I feel like I’ve single-handedly been keeping the coffee business in the black this week. This whole starting work an hour earlier thing is...yawn…never pretty and bad hair day is the usual look for me.
I am, however, looking forward to sipping a pint of green Guinness with some green food, and I’m not talking about that unidentifiable green moldy thing in the fridge.
No, the “wearin’ o’ the green” is coming up this Sunday; St. Patrick’s Day, when a lot of folks lay claim to Irish ancestry and go around pinching people who don’t wear green. Well, not everybody. For my mother’s side McCafferty ancestors who immigrated from County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland, they may have preferred to wear orange instead on Saint Paddy’s day. From what I’ve been told, the wearing of green traditionally applies to Irish Catholics, as opposed to the “wearin’ o’ the orange” which applies to Irish Protestants, the minority religion on the whole Emerald Isle, mainly in the aformentioned Northern Ireland. I’m not sure how relevant it is today since the days of William of Orange are long gone, but the color orange is, in fact, one-third of the Irish flag.
I don’t know if St. Patrick himself had a green or orange coordinated outfit, but I doubt it since it was the 400s when Christians were simply...well, Christians. Anyhow, Saint Patrick’s Day, I like to think, is for the masses and people of all colors and creeds should take part in the festivities.
I guess that means don’t pinch if someone is wearing orange. And don’t punch anybody either. Pinching is a custom that I thought would fade away after fifth grade, but apparently, a good number of grown-up people still get a kick out of it. Legend has it that if you wear green you can't be seen by fairies and leprechauns, so if you're not wearing green, people have the responsibility of pinching you to remind you to be on the lookout, lest a leprechaun sneaks up on you and steals your gold.
Of course, that whole pinching thing could backfire on you. Better yet, wear a “Kiss Me, I'm Irish” pin, put on a goofy green plastic hat and dance a jig. If you don’t jig, clogging might suffice.
And since March 17 is also National Irish Food Day, the first thing that pops into my head is green chile. While having nothing whatsoever to do with Ireland, I figure it might spice up my roast beef and cabbage.
Besides, as far as I know, there’s no orange chile.