March Madness is All About Chasing Snakes

by Emily Kemme

I’ve always felt that the month of March is a sustained downward spiral into derangement, and I have plenty of facts to back up this belief.

For starters, it’s windy.  This isn’t something that I’ve made up; it’s rationally observed in a trite idiom, “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.”  This idiom is “rational”, everywhere except for Colorado, where I’ve only found confusion when it comes to seasons. There are plenty of nice, lamb-like starts to March, with windstorms sprinkled liberally throughout, all the way into May.  I know this because I went to college in Boulder, home of the Chinook; we spent most of spring semester struggling against the winds that blew down off the Flat Irons, and holding down our skirts.  There’s nothing like a skirt for getting into a springy mood, after wearing jeans and clunky boots all winter, and yet, Boulder’s weather patterns strongly discourage that.  Wind rattles my brain and scatters my thoughts, even more so than usual.

I digress.  There are many other examples of March’s craziness.  Here are just a few:

–March is traditionally reserved for Spring Break, a time of year when students and their teachers are no longer able to contain themselves within the four walls of a classroom. Collegians typically head somewhere south to carouse and act silly, all in the name of getting ready for finals.  I know I was equally guilty of engaging in such activities, all the while insisting to my parents that a little break from the books was good for my head.  As long as I didn’t fall off a balcony and smash it.

–To usher in Spring Break, we have one of the rites of Spring:  St Patrick’s Day.  March 17th is regarded by many as a religious holiday venerating Saint Patrick of Ireland, and yet, it is celebrated by most as a day to wear green, pinch friends and neighbors, and drink beer.  For some unusual folks, it’s a day to chase snakes. Johnson City, Tennessee makes a regular event of it, hosting its annual Chasing Snakes 10K road race and 4K fun run.  If you don’t think this isn’t a prime example of derangement, I can’t help you there.  What is fun about chasing snakes? I do realize, because I wasn’t born yesterday, that one of the reasons St. Patrick is celebrated is due to the myth that he eradicated all of the venomous snakes in Ireland.  I agree that’s very cool, and I commend him.  However, it’s pretty unlikely you’ll find me ever running towards a snake. Away, yes, for sure, but I’m never going to purposely cultivate a relationship with one.

A Guinness draught calms March Madness

–We can travel way back in history, to March 15, 44 B.C. to witness great derangement, when on the Ides of March, Julius Caesar was stabbed (23 times) to death by his buddies in the Roman Senate, and supposed best friend Marcus Junius Brutus, who was irritated with the Emperor because Caesar had refused to dismiss the Senate for the week to allow the Senators to go on Spring Break.  One little Piña Colada was all he’d asked for, geez.

–Finally, we have March Madness, the label the press has given the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championships, because everyone is dancing around in excitement over their team.  Go Bears! (I had to get that one out of my system, sorry.)  The phrase was popularized by H.V.Porter, who worked with the Illinois High School Association, creating a familiar link when he called it the “Basketball Ides of March”.  He was clearly trying to get his point across that this time of year is crazy.

Nevertheless, I’m game.  I’m planning on watching the UNC Bears play San Diego tomorrow afternoon in Tucson, and washing it down with some electric blue lemonade.  Then I’ll turn to the serious stuff:     New York Strip Steaks with Guinness Sauce, Roasted Potatoes and Malted Cabbage and a Black and Tan. Or two.

After all, getting rid of snakes is reason enough for me to dance a jig.

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1 comment

Kelley March 20, 2011 - 11:04 pm

Really funny this one. Made me laugh all the way through. I am with you on the snake chasing, though if I had enough Electric Blue Lemonade in me, I might just do it!

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