RUSKI'S, 11 AM The plan was simple: pub crawling, drinking beer, and watching March Madness basketball games with friends. A perfect way to spend a Saturday St. Paddy's, right? Yes, except, of course, if your alma mater, the Memphis Tigers, blow their game the previous night, losing in the first round to the underdog St. Louis Billikens. (And what the hell is a Billiken, a Kewpie doll, or some such crap?) When that happens, you feel empty, and your fun plan transforms into a concussed, hazy day of despair, spent among crowds of drunks who only want to talk about the early exits of Duke and Missouri.
The only thing I had left was to cheer half-heartedly for other friends' schools, and, of course, rooting against teams I hate. St. Pat's is a drinking day, and my drink of choice was Hater-Ade. Despite that, as the day wears on, Kentucky and Ohio State win, while Kansas State (the alma mater of Steve Grogan!) is sent packing. There is no justice in the world. I usually love St. Pat's, but instead of singing "Danny Boy," I was thinking, "Fuck My Life."
DISTRICT, NOON Closed until 4, said the dude smoking butts out front. Really, your bar isn't open on St. Paddy's Saturday afternoon, during March Madness? Fine. We keep walking.
ROSIE'S, 1 PM We sit in the window and I try not to follow the scores on the TV. Out on the sidewalk, I was surprised by how many young ladies walked by (barely) dressed, like strippers in leprechaun costumes. I don't know about the pot o' gold, but the rainbow might end between their legs, because the honey pots were right there! Come on, ladies, I know the day was unseasonably warm, and that you've been dying to set the ta-tas free, but is every single holiday an excuse to dress slutty now? I guess it is. On the TV, another team I love is losing, Vanderbilt. I leave my bracket in the bathroom in case Rosie's runs out of toilet paper, and we move on.
COMMERCIAL STREET PUB, 3 PM Intense drinking. Blocking everything else out. In terms of the inverse relationship between anticipation and disappointment, this year's March Madness is approaching Return Of The Jedi scale.
DISTRICT, 4:20 PM They are open when we're working our way back to the West End, so we stop in. I tried to order a side of their roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon and apple, but the kitchen wasn't open until 5 and they were kind of unfriendly, so we leave beers unfinished and return to Ruski's, where the revelry is going strong. Later, I spot Justin Ellis, who used to write for the Press Herald. A Missouri alumnus, he's also glum, and I almost go commiserate with him, but don't for two reasons. 1) We're Facebook friends, but don't really know each other. 2) I'm afraid that he would bring up Missouri beating my Memphis Tigers to advance to the Sweet Sixteen in 2009, which would make me cry. Can't have that.
ROMEO'S PIZZA, SCARBOROUGH, EVENING The guy sitting beside me at the bar as another team I loathe with all my being, Louisville, wins, has at least four brackets in front of him, and is wearing a New York Giants T-shirt. He wants to talk Super Bowls. Great. On the other TV, the UMaine Black Bears are losing the Hockey East championship to Boston College. Except for Saint Patrick's Day of 2010, when Alex Chilton died, 2012 is officially the worst ever.
Better luck next year, I guess.
Rick Wormwood can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.