Montreal’s Saint Patrick’s Day parade is the oldest celebration of Irish drunkenness in Canada. For almost two centuries, police don’t just look the other way—they practically wear blindfolds—as everyone from the full-Irish to non-Irish fill downtown sidewalks to drink green beer, pee and puke everywhere, and cheer on old Shriners guys wearing silly hats as they swerve around in miniature cars.
As if wandering through the unpredictable and potentially volatile crowds wasn’t scary enough, our friend Taylor decided to crank it up a notch by dropping acid.
Taylor dropped the first hit around 11:30 AM. He was still wearing the eyeliner he wore on stage from playing a show the night before. He looked like an acid-dropping Alice Cooper leprechaun.
As we walked downtown, Taylor gave a pack of McGill University frosh students an odd, fixated look and mentioned to them how he’d once seen an old lady peeing in public at 2PM right at that spot. After expressing an urge to hug a weird Native homeless man, he realized that the LSD was starting to kick in, saying, “Yup, I’m starting to feel a little bit tingly, and it’s getting kind of acid-y around here.”
We asked him how he was feeling once we got down to the parade, and he said, “Giddy, weird, acid-y. But I’m not frightened yet.” Then some dude in an Irish flag morph suit who was holding a bottle of Jameson’s came up to us, and Taylor started laughing and looking around nervously.
In a matter of seconds, Taylor went from stoked on the Irish music to thoroughly startled by a group of bagpipers. “The bagpipes guys, they’re all staring at me. They’re freaking me out a little bit.”
This was the first elaborate float. Taylor liked it, and added: “Check out that mullet!” After everyone told him there was no mullet, cool as a cucumber, he said, “Yeah, he does. Christopher Lloyd style!” That wasn’t the first time Taylor hallucinated a hairstyle that wasn’t really there. He later thought that a girl had dreadlocks when she really only had a ponytail. When he looked again, he thought she had braids. When we told him she had a ponytail, he made a weird LSD-induced compromise when he said, “Okay, then, draids!”
A giant leprechaun rolled by, looming down on Taylor. He responded appropriately to the monolithic creature of good fortune and horror: “That’s a fucking evil-ass leprechaun. Leprechauns aren’t supposed to be that big. They’re supposed to be little. This real huge leprechaun is like a giant who’s wearing a leprechaun costume.”
Taylor didn’t like Dawson College’s float either: “I hate this float. It’s chaos. There’s no order. It’s like, what the fuck? Everyone’s doing something completely different, dance move-wise. On the other floats, they’re waving or whatever in unison.” At that point, it was clear that Taylor’s acid trip was really starting to peak.
Even though he wasn’t crazy about some of the floats, he was pumped for these cheerleaders spinning and flipping in the air. With dilated pupils, he put it simply: “This is balling.”
Taylor wasn’t afraid of speaking with strangers. When he saw a guy with a microphone, fake-interviewing people, he asked to have it. There was no cord. We couldn’t hear what the guy asked him, but Taylor replied, “If I do it again, I’m going to jail.” We were all very confused and the random guy looked ultra freaked out. “I was obviously just kidding.” Taylor said, without further explanation. So we bailed, and moved on down the street.
Taylor spent 20 minutes in an awkward bathroom line-up at a McDonald’s that was packed, predominantly with drunkards. He thought it was, “Completely gross. Everyone was acting dumb. Though, the light reflecting off the cake and the water in the urinal was really tripping me out.” He dropped another hit of acid after leaving the bathroom and then struck a pose with it on his tongue outside in front of a bunch of cops. “That was scary. I was kind of frightened to take that picture. If I turned my head and they saw the acid on my tongue, I was convinced I’d get tackled to the ground.”
By the time Taylor had taken that last hit of acid, the last of the cool things to come down the street were suped up cars with retarded paint jobs, driven by soccer moms blasting hip hop. Everyone was trying to get their last photos of the parade, especially after the cold weather thinned out the herd a little bit and there was finally room for proper picture posing in the middle of the street.
After the parade ended, we found people congregating on the lawn of some church. People were pissing, puking, and drinking with a false sense of impunity, shouting, “Sanctuary!”
Uh, it doesn’t really work like that anymore, guys.
But whatever. A guy blew his horn and, with a raised arm, Taylor exclaimed, “I am the Jesus Christ of Church Law!” Everyone started repeating “Church Law” instead of “Sanctuary,” as if it were some kind of St. Patrick’s Day mantra that would protect them from open container fines. Eventually, there was sincere—albeit acid-y—talk about getting “Church Law” tattoos.
In one magic acid miracle fluke, while he was taking a piss on the church wall—under the protection of Church Law, of course—the wind blew his plastic hat off, only to land upside down between his legs, directly in the line of his piss stream. It was as if God said, “Oh no, you don’t!”
He described pissing in the cold on acid as, “Fucked, ‘cause your dick gets all weird and crazy, and your piss flies all over the place.”
Taylor ran into his friend Gabe who, after laughing about the fact he was on acid, wanted to do it too. He still had the tab on his tongue from McDonald’s, even though it had probably been more than enough time for it to have fully absorbed. You can see the crowds getting thicker in the background, as more people took advantage of what Taylor perceived as “Church Law.”
Gabe pointed out that he wasn’t wearing any green, so she picked up a green bandana thing from the ground and wrapped it around his head, like the Ninja Turtles. Taylor said he didn’t really need to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day because, “I’m kind of a Ninja Turtle already, so it doesn’t really matter.”
With the intention of going to find a tattoo parlour to get Church Law tattoos, Taylor and Gabe walked off only to begin dancing in the streets. The chaos of the parade had suddenly vanished, but they were too deep in acid confusion and the only option seemed to be dancing. He tried to dip her but it didn’t work out. “It was too cold to dip, especially in the middle of the street on acid with cops around. And she dipped too far. I tried to catch her, but we both fell.”
Getting away from the parade, the horn-blowing, public drinking, urination, yelling, and crowds, they mellowed off the idea of getting Church Law tattoos. Instead, they decided to go for a big walk as the effects started to wear off. Faced with the sobering cold wind and squint-inducing sunshine, they held hands, ventured onto the McGill campus, and came down from their trips together.
Photos by Jordan Henri
Follow Greg on Twitter @GGRPike
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