Every year, when the national news inevitably has an item about Chicago turning its river green for St Patrick's Day, I chuckle a little.
A couple of decades ago, when I was just out of college, my brother worked in an office that overlooked the Chicago River, and he had invited me to watch as they dyed the river green before we headed to the parade. When I arrived at his office and looked out the window, I was disappointed. I thought I'd missed the big event.
"They already put the dye in the river. I missed it." I said.
My brother came over and looked out.
"No, that's the normal color of the river." he laughed. "I assure you, you will know when they put the dye in."
And indeed, although the Chicago River normally has a sort of sick green, reminding everyone not to get too close, and certainly not to think about taking a swim, the St Patrick's Day green is a color not found in nature, or even polluted rivers.
Thanks to the NBC affiliate in Chicago for the photo.