PATRICK MCVAY

WRITER

Destination: Unknown

I should have plotted my family’s summer vacation well before these early hours of May. What the hell was I thinking? Now all the vacation spots are taken. Every resort booked; every campground full; every friend’s couch occupied (yes I checked). It’s like the latest crisis is that there’s nowhere to go. Maybe it’s a CDC plot to keep me from leaving New England. I’m under house arrest in these six states!

OK, slight exaggeration. But the CDC is well aware that spending 16 months straight in New England is harmful to one’s psychological health, if for the weather alone. Even Rochelle Walensky, the head of the CDC herself, has been granted leave from the region; surely I can leave town for a week or 10 days too.

But where to go? My many years in Catholic school taught me that angels have a penchant for coming to people in dreams and visions to provide useful information, such as announcing the birth of a savior. So there’s a chance that an angel with some time on his hands might pop into one of my frequent dreams to suggest vacation places for my family, with star ratings and user reviews. I like to know what kitchen implements are provided when I rent someone’s space. I’ve stayed in one or two places that had no wire whisk on the premises, confounding plans and diminishing the vacation’s karma. So it’s important that the angels be transparent, providing all the necessary pros and cons of each vacation opportunity. Of course, they are angelic, so one should be prepared for them to be somewhat cryptic in their messaging.

Also, I’m hoping they take into consideration cost. We don’t have wings so we’ll have to book seats on commercial airlines to get from here to there, which isn’t necessarily cheap.

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President McVay

I’m aware from the chatta on many of the social media channels I tune into that the American people want a list of my priorities in case I were ever to become President of the United States. Also, how much time would I take off from the job for leisure activities or hobbies?

Would I get into macrame, for example? Or perhaps be a kegler?

Look, it’s really not safe for me to be bowling in my spare time. First, it’s indoors, so not great COVID-wise. Second, think of the security cost. They’d have to shut down the whole facility to protect me from my enemies.

And anyway, can you imagine if there is international crisis brewing and I’m spending time rolling balls down alleys?

Here is where I confess that, nevertheless, I’m inclined to continue brewing beer in my spare time. Because although American needs to get back to work, America needs a beer worse. So, in effect, I’m leading America by example: working hard, and drinking the beer I’ve spent time brewing right there in the White House.

In addition, I plan to create a social media app called “Chatta.” Stay tuned on that one.   

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Lest We Forget

This current hellish pandemic seems destined to be tamed in the coming months and years, and I’m expecting that as we emerge from the abyss an effort to establish a new American holiday will be afoot, a holiday that will require another day off from work.  

Let’s assume that there is at least a tacit effort to get public input on the name for the holiday, via a poll of all Americans who may choose between “COVID-19 Day” or write in a holiday name of their choice. My write ins include these:  

 

·       Foggy Glasses Day

·       National Mask Mandate Day

·       American Sour Dough Starter Anniversary

·       The 19th of March

·       Birthday of American Kombucha

·       March Madness

·       Hell Year Day

·       National Amazon Prime Membership Renewal Day

·       Lysol Injection Anniversary

·       The Day the Music Died

I don’t really care what it’s called, as long as I get a day off.   

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Ghosts of St. Patrick's Day Past

In the not-so distant yesteryear, when I wasn’t so much a wee lad as an underdeveloped adult, I’d find a random St. Paddy’s Day falling on a weekend and would drive home to meet mom and Dad at Coleman’s Irish Pub in Syracuse, NY. Syracuse wasn’t a town known for being Irish, at least in my mind; everyone I knew seemed to be Italian, and the people who weren’t (like me) wanted to be Italian (like me!).

But to hell with any other tradition on March 17th. Friends of all stripes were keen to pack the bars and throw up all over each other. Slight exaggeration. Still, it was a pretty tipsy scene, and there was often an earnest singer crooning “Danny Boy” on a cheap PA system, enjoying his once-a-year day in the sun. And outside Coleman's, the traffic light had the green on top and red on the bottom, blowing people's minds. 

At home, someone (not me) would put “The Irish Rovers” on the record player and we’d sing along to songs like “No, Nay, Never,” which the Dropkick Murphy’s reprised a few decades later. Later my Dad would fall asleep with a toothpick in his mouth (substituting for a cigarette) to John Gary crooning the very sad “Molly Malone” on our console record player.

Years later, when we kids were out of the house, my parents would throw wild parties where everyone would strip naked and drink Irish coffee, because that was life in the 1970s and 1980s. OK, no one ever stripped naked thankfully, but the Irish coffees flowed like coffee. Thankfully, most everyone was walking home (although, I’ve recently read it’s better not to be tipsy when walking).

All these years later, I find the old John Gary “A little bit of heaven” album still intact in my basement, deeply scratched, bearing my long deceased parents’ fingerprints, and coaxing me to YouTube to relisten to the old songs. Hard not to miss mom and dad on this St. Patrick’s Day. 

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