The long lines at the liquor store, children on the knee of Italo Svevo, the faint scent of urine in your breakfast; it's beginning to look a lot like Bloomsday (June 16): the day the world celebrates James Joyce's Ulysses. It's a day full of wonder and coprophilia, as children go to bed early hoping Mommy will once again make a cuckold out of Daddy.
Certainly, Bloomsday has grown to eclipse other holidays of fictional origin (e.g. Christmas), but its popularity now overshadows its spirit. Commercialism has bled its heart dry. The Irish American Heritage Center in Chicago promises "Plenty of beaming Irish faces as the life and work of Dublin's favorite son is remembered through readings, songs and more." Reading and singing with strangers? And what new hell could the "and more" promise? Of course, this kind of boredom costs 10 bucks. Since when is reading more expensive than gas?
In an effort to pry the literary from the leeches, follow these seven tips (arranged by degree of difficulty) to rediscover the spirit of Bloomsday:
Watch Your Dreams Turn into Bitterness: Remember when you were going to do important things? Now you just hope to get through one morning without crying in the shower. It would be sad, if we weren't laughing at you.
Hang Out with People Who Hate You: Everybody agrees -- you're only fun when you're drunk. Even then, there's something that still sucks about you. Find the people who feel an overwhelming contempt of your existence and share a pint or maybe a funeral. (Hint: check the contacts in your cellphone!)
Send Creepy Missives: In the digital age, the amount of disturbing, pathetic messages you can send in a day is limitless. Don't worry: this desperate attempt to connect to another person will never stave your loneliness.
Pick a Fight with a Nationalist: Love it or leave it, or maybe engage "it" in conversation. Lucky for you, nationalism isn't known for its tolerance or rhetoric. You'll know you're on the right path when you hear "What are you lookin' at, asshole?" Just keep pushing buttons until you see fists. Remember, this isn't a fight you can win. Run away!
Masturbate in Public: Uh oh, looks like someone's a little anxious. It takes a true die-hard fan to pull this one off. Remember, your enthusiasm for Bloomsday might not be shared by everyone, so it's best to conceal this activity under a light jacket or jutting rock face. Extra points if the object of your affection has a physical deformity.
Get Drunk in a Maternity Ward: Did you ever notice how vodka looks like water and whiskey just disappears in coffee? Of course not! Those pesky doctors and nurses won't notice either. Granted, you might be bothered by the screams of mother and infant, but you're witnessing the birth of the English language (albeit metaphorically).
Let Your Spouse Sleep with a Rockstar: Congratulations, looks like you married way above your station in life! As the years passed so did the love in your spouse's eyes: just in time for all those summer music festivals. Sure he/she is cheating on you, but why be a spoil-sport during the holiday? Make sure you're out of the house. Even if you're not there to see it, nothing says Bloomsday more than a tour bus on your lawn and a stranger in your sheets.