In trying to put together the perfect green outfit for tomorrow, we took an informal, highly unscientific audit of all the St. Patrick’s Day t-shirts for sale, and according to our estimates, approximately three-quarters of them reference getting drunk.
Let’s go ahead and get this part of the way: Going back to the holiday’s religious origins, yes, the consumption of alcohol sort of has a role. The day commemorates St. Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, and religious observances of the holiday include a temporary lifting of the lenten (of or relating to lent, the period of religious observance between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday) restrictions on food and alcohol.
Somewhere along the line though, St. Patrick’s Day became a holiday that’s mostly about binge drinking. At least according to all those t-shirts.
Our point isn’t to vilify joke t-shirts or other people’s clothing choices. The point is that especially as you get older, you’re going to encounter way more of these types of messages that encourage unhealthy – and unsafe – behaviors, like binge drinking, than you consciously realize.
It’s not like one little green t-shirt that says “Keep Calm and Drink On” is a terrible thing. But what’s the cumulative effect of receiving lots of similar messages via different subtle cues – like the many, many song lyrics that glamorize drinking – all the time? The more you learn to recognize these messages for what they are – another form of influence – the better you’ll be at rising above it.