The Square Peg - Greenis Envy
© S. Bradley Stoner
Bingo Bob was in fine fettle this morning. It wasn’t even ten o’clock and his red nose and rosy cheeks told me all I needed to know. Yep, he started celebrating early. I saw him sauntering down the street, aimed right at me. Oh great. It was too late to run and I couldn’t pretend I hadn’t seen him. He was hard to miss on the light gray cement of the sidewalk. You might say he provided contrast. Now if he had walked on the lawns, that might have been a different story. If you haven’t guessed at this point, Bob was decked out in bright Irish green. Green shirt, green knickers, green jacket, green striped socks, shiny black shoes, all topped off with a green top hat encircled by a black band with a gold buckle. He looked like a deranged leprechaun.
“Top o’ the marnin’ to you!” he lilted.
“Bob, I hate to tell you this, but your accent is off... you sound like you tripped in a Boston bar and fell into a kettle of cod. Besides, you’re of Italian and German ancestry, aren’t you?”
“T’day we’re all a bit o’ the Irish!” he proclaimed with a broad sweep of his hand.
About that time, Duncan, seeing the green apparition from his front porch, came up behind Bob. Duncan can be stealthy when he wants to. “LOSE YOUR RAINBOW, DID YA BOB?!” he fairly shouted, causing Bob to jump about two feet in the air, which is no easy feat given Bob’s weighty attachment to Mother Earth.
Bob whirled on Duncan. Even with the shock of surprise, Bob maintained his horrible impression of an Irish accent. “Jaysus, Mary, and Joseph... didn’t ya know it’s bad play to sneak up on an Irishman?” he demanded.
I snickered. Duncan sneered.
“Irish? You’re about as Irish as I am Hottentot! Although I will allow that, for a Jerseyite, you’re about as full of blarney as they come,” Duncan snorted.
About that time there was a little shift in the wind and the scent of Irish whiskey wafted up my nose. I waved my hand in front of my nose to scare the devil away. “Been hitting the Jameson already? It’s a bit early, isn’t it?”
“I had an Irish coffee this morning,” Bob said defensively, although I have no idea why. He’s never been apologetic about partaking of the divine sauces as long as I’ve known him.
“More like two or three,” Duncan said, backing up a couple of steps.
Bob stuck out his chin. “Well, it’s a national holiday! I’m entitled,” he declared. “’sides, we get the day off and, like they say, it’s five o’clock somewhere in the world.”
“You get the day off?” I asked incredulously.
“Well, everybody does, don’t they? Like I said, it’s a national holiday. It’s on the calendar and everything.”
“Might be a national holiday,” Duncan offered, “but it sure as Sam Hill isn’t a federal holiday. I don’t know of any businesses that give their employees Saint Patty’s day off... at least not with pay. Hope you asked for the day off. Remember what happened when you took the first day of Oktoberfest off?”
I nodded in agreement. “I’d call in sick right now, if I were you.”
“You guys are kidding, right?” Bob said nervously.
“Not a chance.”
“But there are parades and everything... just like the fourth of July.” Bob’s face, now creased with worry, turned a bit redder.
Charlie stopped on his way home, took one look at Bob and asked, “What’s the matter Bob, somebody steal your Lucky Charms?”
“Naw, we just told him that today isn’t a federal holiday... and he doesn’t get a paid day off,” Duncan grinned.
Charlie shook his head, “Boy, talk about the luck of the Irish...”
“What’s that mean?!” Bob demanded.
“I was just thinking about the potato famine...”
“Ah,” I interjected, “there’s the old history teacher!”
“The what?” Bob looked annoyed.
“You know, the big reason so many Irish immigrated here,” Duncan said.
“You learn well, Grasshopper,” Charlie rejoined.
“Hey,” I offered, “grasshoppers are green too... wonder if they get the day off?”
Bob started to fume. “You guys are all...”
“Don’t say it, Bob,” Duncan warned, “or you’ll be contributing to the swear jar again.”
Bob threw a dollar at Duncan and finished his sentence. “...assholes! By the way... that dollar is green too, so if you pin it to your shirt, maybe nobody will pinch you.”
Bob eyed me.
“Don’t even think about it Bob, I’m standing on my lawn.”
“Not to mention, he’s holding a shovel,” Charlie added.
Bob frowned, spun on his heel and headed home, calling over his shoulder, “You know what you guys have got?”
“What’s that, Bob?” we chorused.
“You’ve got greenis envy, that’s what!”
Happy Saint Patty’s Day, y’all!