Chicago: In the Throes of Shamrock Shenanigans

New Year’s Eve at Times Square in New York City definitely comes to mind…and I never ever had a desire to be there.

Why, you ask? Because it looks like my worst nightmare.

I like to get loose every once in a while – just not with everybody, especially amateurs. This is something I’ve always known without previously experiencing such a hellish ordeal firsthand until…

Chicago. St. Patty’s weekend. Cringe.

Nobody drugged me, tied me up, and strapped me to a bright green party bus covered in leprechauns that said, “Honk if you’re after my lucky charms”.

I went there voluntarily, on my own accord. (Damnit.)

So, how did this happen? How in the hell did I end up in the second most popular U.S. city for St. Patty’s Day debauchery?

Saturday was Mr. H’s birthday. (Mr. H is the artist formerly known as hubby.)

We needed a getaway, and luckily for us Milwaukeeans, Chicago is a hop, skip, and a jump away. The logistics of St. Patty’s Day didn’t resonate with us as we were arriving the day before, and we wrongly assumed we would be safe.

We seriously thought Chicago would be romantic.

amtrak to chicago

My book I’m currently working on, The Bra Game, takes place in 1950s Chicago. And what better way to do research than to immerse yourself in the chosen setting? I imagined myself pointing at a beautiful monstrosity of a building and jotting down the surrounding street names just so I could include the moment in a future scene.

I seriously thought Chicago would be inspirational.

Romantic? Inspirational? Oh, how naive I was.

Twenty-somethings ran amuck like it was their last day on earth and the only way to ease the pain was to drink everything in sight.

Thankfully, I didn’t see any of them leaning over the side and lapping up the frigid, green river…

green river chicago

In fact, I believe their day started very differently than ours.

First and foremost, we showered. We ate breakfast. We dressed in chic outfits, which were warm and practical.

They rolled out of bed with glee…no time for cleanliness. They guzzled their cheap beer breakfasts. They layered on their emerald adornments: antennas, tutus, glitter, hats, and foul t-shirts.

Most did not bother with coats, therefore frozen arses were out in full force. And it was bloody cold, you guys.


These dense hooligans wandered into you like it was acceptable, stepped on your feet for sport, walked in front of cars to look cool, and picked fights in the middle of busy intersections even though they threw wimpy punches.

Now I’m actually a wee bit Irish, and I’m half Czech. I know how to pour a proper beer and I know how to keep my shit together.

I found out that my great-grandmother’s last name was McSperitt.

And, Britt McSperitt was one pissed off lassie.

The shouting and belching echoed through the city like someone just learning to play bagpipes, overshadowing the intermittent hum of the “L” and the rhythmic tooting of the buses with the most horrendous sounds.

When you’re worried about some clover clad half-wit spewing on your arm, the romance is gone…long gone. And, any daydreaming about my lovable novel was replaced by a basic need for survival…survival of the fittest.

But, something magical happened after we found refuge in a pizzeria for lunch and the parade fizzled out.

The windy city blew the lightweights away to their questionable hostels and their stained apartments, to either land spread eagle on the floor, profess their undying love to the toilet, or in many cases…both.

They looked like this at Union Station the next day…

asleep in union station

And I, Britt McSperitt, lived to tell this spirited limerick of shamrock shenanigans in Chicago.

Stay tuned for the second part of my weekend trip…Chicago: Beyond the Shamrock Shenanigans.

22 thoughts on “Chicago: In the Throes of Shamrock Shenanigans

  1. I have never been to Chicago, let alone Chicago on St. Patty’s Day. Doesn’t sound like my cup o’ tea either. 😉 Can’t wait to hear about the rest of your trip!

  2. Yeah….what’s the other city you don’t want to venture into on St. Patrick’s Day? Boston, I think? Hope you ended up having a good time at some point. Happy belated to Mr H!

    1. Oh, good! I hoped people would laugh at the sheer ridiculousness of it all!

      Just checked out your post…LOVE! I could use that detox right about now…ahem. : )

      Chicago really is amazing though. I just couldn’t not mention the chaos we were smothered with. It was there, we were there, so I had to write about it.

      1. It is a crazy phenomenon. But every other day of the week it is a great, and pretty stable, calm, wonderful place. Hope you had a chance to see that side of it. But thanks for the laughs!

  3. Well fancy that, the drinking Irish, imagining they’re cute and lovable, disgracing the country again. Who would have thought it. I love Ireland but it sure produces some eejits.

  4. Shoot. This is something I actually have thought about going to see myself. But I forgot about all the drinking binges that accompany a green river holiday. Guess I’ll enjoy it vicariously through pictures like yours instead.

    Hope you got some writing inspiration while you were there!

    1. Hey, by all means. Grab some body armor and go for it. LOL!

      It’s always fun to live to tell the tale, right? I think if you avoid downtown, and visit one of Chicago’s awesome neighborhoods instead, it would be a much happier time.

  5. For some reason people will use any excuse to get smashed. It’s a pity because they tend to ruin it for others. I’m glad it ended up okay and you didn’t get spewed on! I can’t stand crowds and just reading about this made my heart rate jump! 😉

    1. Yeah, what’s with that?! I don’t need an excuse…just kidding.

      Yes, thank goodness we didn’t get spewed on. That would have been a real bummer.

      I’m not really into crowds either. I’m a bit like a wild mare – I get skittish and I start kicking with my buff horse legs. NAY! : )

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