By Johnny Firecloud
Rather than the same old, lame old tradition of celebrating St. Patrick's Day by pounding copious amounts of "green beer" at the local pub, this year Guinness is giving you a cause worth drinking for. It's a petition called Proposition 3-17, a national online campaign to make St. Patrick's Day an official holiday.
When I was first approached to do this story, I decided that some immediate research was the only course of action. Can't half-ass this one, no sir; I had to infiltrate the scene and become a part of the experience to better understand this whole "3-17" thing. What does it all mean? Is St. Patrick's Day not a real holiday? Will I care more if I get raving, staggering drunk?
An untold number of Guinness pints, a fistfight with a transvestite and a vicious display of upchuckery later, I can't read more than a few jumbled words from the "notes" I took down on bar coasters and cocktail napkins, but there was passion there, I can tell you that. What I learned, however, is that March 17th is not a federally regulated official holiday, despite the fact that there are nine times the amount of Irish Americans here in this country than there are people in all of Ireland. In honor of those millions of proud Irish Americans and in celebration of the spirit of St. Patrick, Guinness is on a mission to collect a million signatures on a petition, which the beer makers will submit to Congress in the hopes of making St. Patrick's Day an official holiday.
Signing is easy to do; just go to proposition317.com, enter your birthdate and "sign" the online petition with their mouse-operated pen (which produces a signature more butchered than my drunken scribbling ever could). If you want, you can add a comment and a photo to the site, and browse the embarrassing pictures that others have uploaded. The catch is that it has to be done by midnight on March 16th, and Guinness has collected just over 210,000 signatures so far. With only a few days left, every signature matters, so hurry up and add yours here.
Sure, the whole thing is a blatant Guinness marketing ploy, but it's a good cause nontheless.