James Joyce Orders a Shamrock Shake.
BY COLIN NISSAN
[Originally published March 16, 2012.]
Like the fleeting majesty of a lunar eclipse over the Cliffs of Moher or the long-awaited migratory return of the Shelducks from the North Sea, it is time once again to herald the arrival of Uncle O’Grimacey for his annual tribute to the people of our nation, to ready my weary tastebuds for the frigid, minty mirth they have so dearly missed.
For twelve dreadful months, I have longed for this glorious respite from the cursed monotony of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry, for a window of time, albeit grossly curtailed, in which to cleanse my palate of this criminally humdrum triad, and indulge in the delight of your glacial, golden-arched potable, emerald as the boundless azure pastures through which I frolicked as a wee lad, replete with the very clovers that bear your name.
Dublin moans ‘neath the merciless weight of noontide hunger, a gnawing in the bellies of man, a thirst burning in their barren gullets, while I, alone, must navigate the further indignity of an ill-scheduled 1 PM meeting, looming before me like the trained bow of Artemis.
Alas, here I sit, idling my automobile, overwrought and hollow, a single vertebrae in the collective serpent of my famished brethren curled anxiously before your speaker box, proclaiming my desire for a pattied ground beef sandwich, one-fourth of a pound in size, and sliced potatoes fried and salted like the gentle snows atop the crests of the Carauntoohil mountains. Obligatory victuals, it seems, only to accompany the true object of my excursion—to suckle the toothsome strawfuls of your wintry Celtic-themed libation as briskly as I can manage, a carnal act performed with full awareness that such pace shall certainly heighten my risk of developing an Arctic cranial ache of epic proportion. No matter, the suffrage will be brief and deserved and pale in compare to the forthcoming Grimaconian rapture.
As our transaction has reached its conclusion, I am faced with a wholly unenviable decision. Shall I suffer the ignominy of gorging in isolation within the confines of this very vehicle, shielding my visage so that no man may glimpse the barbarism I have succumbed to ‘neath the oppressive cloak of capitalism? Or shall I return to the labyrinthian three-walled prison of my employ to ingest this noble fare, subjecting myself to the scrupulous eyes of my colleagues, namely Sandra from Payroll who will surely inform me, in her loathsome Sandra manner, of the 840 “empty” calories contained in my beloved, viridian frappe. Perhaps Sandra should attend to her own caloric affairs, as her backside has expanded to near bovine proportions, of late.
It is now, at this precise moment when I become woefully aware of the cruel transience of this seasonal offering, rarely lingering beyond the Marigold blooms of latter March, and at once I am lost amidst a magnificent vision, one in which our hallowed Saint Patrick himself is riding shotgun alongside me in this very Camry, with his own Shamrock Shake in hand, the chartreuse froth seeping down his wooly beard, the confirmation of sixteen centuries of legacy and consequence coming to bear upon his face in a grin of immeasurable gratification and sharply elevated glycemic index.
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