When I was in high school, a friend and I devised a game to break up the monotony of walking to and from class. The rules were simple: Walking between two people conversing earned a player five points; if you split two people holding hands, you got 20; no points for groups of three or more.
The person who had the most points upon arrival at the next classroom was the winner. Future evaluation would reveal that the “winner” was not actually a winner — instead just the person who walked between the most conversations in lieu of, you know, having them — but the game served its purpose, and we were entertained.
Enter St. Patrick’s Day. Great holiday: There’s drinking, parades and so much green. For most people, that would be enough. But after a conversation with someone who found the day too monotonous (Erin go blah, amirite?), I searched for a way to make the day more entertaining.
Inspired by that dumb hallway game — moreso the points than the social ineptitude — the St. Paddy’s Points Race/Scavenger Hunt/Counting Game of Numbers was born. On March 17, as you encounter the following “Irish” tropes, keep tally:
Green shirt: .1 points
Green pants/dress/skirt: 1 point
Oversized green glasses: 4 points
Green shoes: 10 points
Green underpants: Why did they show you?
“Kiss me, I’m Irish” shirt/button: 5 points
Kissing that person: 10 points
Kissing that person solely on account of his/her heritage: 20 points
Being kissed: 30 points
Shamrock: 1 point
Kilt: 5 points
Bagpipes: 10 points per bagpipe
Person dressed as a leprechaun: 10 points
An actual leprechaun: Catch him!
You caught him? 5 points per piece of gold, 25 points per lucky charm
Santa Claus: Not a leprechaun
Pint of green beer: 1 point
Pitcher of green beer: 4 points
Keg of green beer: 50 points
Keg of green beer painted to look like the Irish countryside: 200 points
“Irish car bomb” shot: 10 points
Shot of Jameson: 5 points
Shot of Bushmills: 5 points (10 if somebody says “That’s Protestant whiskey”)
Irish coffee: 15 points (-10 if they go out of their way to tell you it’s Irish coffee)
Plastic green hat: 1 point
Green beads: 2 points a strand
Cloth green hat: 10 points (Cloth is an investment)
Bowler hat of any color: 15 points
Hair dyed green with spray dye: 5 points
Hair dyed with actual dye: 30 points
Only the hawk in a mohawk/fauxhawk dyed green: 10 points
Only the faux in a fauxhawk dyed green: -10 points
Dog in Irish costume: 30 points, but give 10 points to the dog. Poor thing’s earned it.
“Irish” potato: .01 points (30 points if you can come up with a viable story listing cinnamon and coconut among Ireland’s chief exports)
Irish soda bread: 5 points a slice
Why did you slice the Irish soda bread? Break it with your hands
Did you wash your hands? 10 points
Corned beef and cabbage: 15 points, 30 if all the cabbage is eaten
Shepherd’s pie: 20 points
Actual potato from Ireland: How did you get it past customs? 50 points
“Cheers!”: 1 point
“Top o’ the mornin’!”: 5 points
“Blarney!”: 10 points
“L’chaim!”: Mazel tov
All jigs: 20 points
Professional Irish dancing: 50 points
Semi-professional Irish dancing: 25 points
Amateur Irish dancing: Don’t you dare move your arms
I’m sure I left out one or two; feel free to add any I omitted. The first person to reach 461 (the year in which St. Patrick is recognized as dying) wins in the technical sense of victory. But everyone who plays the St. Paddy’s Points Race/Scavenger Hunt/Counting Game of Numbers is a winner. Unless they can’t add.