by JGT with a little help from Chip Chantry
Larry* is a 24-year old telemarketer from Media, and he is waiting in line at the Irish Pub with a plastic green bowler hat and a green Bud Light shirt on. It is 10 a.m.
“Bro, I’ve been drinking Bud Light Lime since, like 8 a.m.”
“Bud Light Lime?” hollers a faceless voice in the crowd. “I love that shit!”
“It’s so good, bro,” says Larry. “It’s got all of the flavor of a Bud Light, with a little bit of lime thrown in. It’s like a Corona but without having to cut up limes and shit.”
Larry suddenly changes his tone, and hollers at the crowd. “WE ARE…”
“Penn State!” holler back 10 people in line.
“I fucking love it, man. So many real soldiers here today, bro.”
I ask him what St. Patrick’s Day means to him, if he is honoring St. Patrick’s mission to help the poor.
“Nah, not really brah. I’m mostly just looking to…” He raises his voice. “GET FUCKED UP!” The crowd around him gives a hearty cheer. The stories these Erin Expressers have to tell are so vibrant, so unique, I felt like I had to tell them.
A little bit further back in line, Jackson remembers his first Erin Express. “It was, like, so epic, bro. I mean, we got so shitfaced I ended up puking behind McFadden’s Wake for like an hour. That’s when I fell in love with that bar. They’ve got all that good shit on draft like Miller Lite and Bud Light, not a bunch of craft beers for pussies.”
A guy with a green shirt that reads “Fuck Me! I’m Irish” named Darren comes over and puts his arm around Jackson. Darren is barely able to form coherent sentences. “Bro, this guy…” He belches. “Is like my fucking brother! I love this guy!”
“Don’t be such a fag, bruh.”
“You’re right bro.” Darren takes a sharp turn to the left, then collapses on the pavement. He breaks into laughter, then vomits on himself.
“That’s gonna be me later. Two more Jaeger shots, and I can totally start having the kind of fun that Darren is having right now.”
“I just crapped my pants!” yells Darren excitedly, laying in the parking lot in his own filth.
Their perspectives strike me as so rich, so real. In a city that is filled with people who are scared to say what they really think, these Erin Expressers are such a breath of fresh air.
Carey came in from Manayunk with her “homegirls” for the Erin Express. “I love Manayunk,” she yells at a remarkably high decibel level. ”Love…IT! But this is just a chance for us to class this shitty city up a little bit.”
“This city is so shitty. Too many, um, urban types,” says her friend Sally. “Remember a few years ago when they had all those flash mobs? Can you imagine, a whole street full of those people? So scary. I stayed out of the city after…” She was interrupted by a taxi horn, as she and six of her friends were standing in the middle of Walnut Street.
“Fuck you!”Sally screamed at the taxi driver, then swung her purse at the window of the taxi, miraculously not shattering it, before turning to me with a drunken sneer. “Fucking towelhead! Where was I? Oh yeah, so those flash mobs. Those people are animals. But I’m not racist.” Sally then vomited on her feet.
It is these perspectives that our city has ignored for so long, while trying so desperately to appease the poor and disenfrachised. These fine young white partygoers feel like they’ve been ignored, forgotten by the mass media.
I went over to Kildare’s, where I ran into Josh from Cherry Hill smoking a cigarette. ”Philly’s cool to visit, but I’d never wanna live here. It’s so violent- people getting into fights constantly. I got into three of them today already, and it’s only 11 a.m.” He then whistled through his teeth, took off his green tank top, and threw it at a moving car.
I walked into Slainte, where a girl, her face a smeared mixture of green face paint and tears, was screaming into a telephone. ”DADDY! YOU NEED TO COME BAIL OUT NATHAN AND GABE RIGHT AWAY! NO, NOW! THEY ARRESTED THEM, EVEN THOUGH SOME ASSHOLE ATTACKED THEM OUT OF THE BLUE! NO, I DIDN’T DO ANYTHING TO START IT! BESIDES THROW GUACAMOLE AT THE GUY!” She ordered a double shot of well whiskey and a Harp to calm her nerves, before continuing on her tirade to her father. It had been quite a day. “COME GET ME! I DON’T CARE IF YOU’RE AT FUCKING CHURCH!” She then vomited all over the bar, knocked her beer over, fell out of her chair, and screamed at her dad “I FUCKING HATE YOU!” as she laid in shards of broken glass, vomit, and beer on the floor. She then yelled at the bartender to “CLEAN THIS SHIT UP NOW! BEFORE MY DAD SUES YOU!” before passing out.
So many young people don’t talk to their parents, and yet here this young woman was, in the midst of the best day of her year, speaking with her dad. I could tell she had been raised right. It gave me hope for the future. And it served as a powerful reminder that our local media, instead of vilifying these young people, needs to hear their stories. They’ve got a lot to say, bro. Like, a lot.
*We only used first names, so these brave souls could speak more openly.