LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - March 17th is St. Patrick's Day, which - in America - is about Catholicism, leprechauns, the color green, the luck of the Irish, and throwing back ale. But then there's the one uncomfortable tradition, pinching.
There are varying reasons on how pinching got started. However, for some people, being victim to this touchy tradition could mean an injury.
Dr. Matthew Rowley, who has practiced dermatology in Lufkin for 21 years, put pinching in biological terminology.
"You are obviously going to compress some nerves, and you're going to compress some blood vessels," Southwest Texas Medical School graduate explained. "And you might even burst some blood vessels."
Rowley knows a lot about pinching and St. Patrick's Day. He is Catholic and attended Catholic school. So, he was often pinched on the holiday while growing up. He says certain people are at risk for pinching injuries.
"In the elderly, their blood vessels are very fragile. They're at risk for getting bruising," Rowley said.
The dermatologist said healthy people should be OK. However, if you have allergies, be careful.
"Like urticari, for example, which is caused by hives," Rowley said. "And pinching may call for them to take some Benadryl."
Today at the under-construction Pineywoods Community Academy in West Lufkin, students and staff wore pops of the color green.
Academy director Bruce Marchand said, despite the school uniforms, there were some people being subtly festive.
"We have girls with little green bows; there are some green shirts under our blue shirts and white shirts," he said as he looked around the playground at kindergartners enjoying the midday sun.
At the academy, they, too, have a code of conduct when it comes to students touching students. This includes pinching.
"I think one of the first rules that we teach any kiddo, certainly with this age of child … kindergarten, is to keep your hands and your feet to yourself," Marchand said.
With potential for liability issues, he said all school districts pretty much have a "hands off" policy as standard operating procedure.
"I can remember times being pinched…" Marchand said with a laugh about his school days and St. Patrick's Day experiences.
One of his kindergarten students shared with him about what is supposed to happen on St. Patrick's Day.
"You are supposed to wear green, or you get pinched," the brown-haired, brown-eyed boy said. When asked how he knew this, he added, "That's what my dad told me."
Meanwhile, Rowley warned against pinching your coworkers because you could catch a sexual harassment case. And the luck of the Irish won't be able to help you there.