I’m Irish. I can prove it. A couple hundred years ago, somebody in my family tree came to America on a boat from Ireland. Cite my sources? This isn’t high school. This is the real world, where our answers are vague and our victories unclean. But if you insist, I have rock solid evidence: an old relative in another town who sometimes asks me to fix Flash Player on her computer. What? No, I don’t fix it. Then she’d corner me at that little computer desk and I’d have to fix her printer. Huh? Because my clothes would get all dusty and I’d get frustrated and go buy a new printer. Suddenly I’m out fifty bucks plus the ink cartridge.
Right, I’m getting to that. She’s the one who told me I’m Irish. She said, and I quote, “and his father’s father came over on a boat from Ireland, and I guess they landed in New York.” Yeah, that’s because it is only the second half of a sentence. I drifted off and sipped my coffee and politely raised my eyebrows while saying “mmm-hmm, mmm” during the first half. So I could ignore her with empathy. I don’t know, alright. Maybe because it was a big, weighty run-on sentence with 14 different characters in it, at least two of them being Robert E. Lee. Maybe I don’t want talking to be like a game of chess. And maybe I like a sentence that’s under 400 words, Bill Faulkner.
Name a town in Ireland other than Dublin? Unbelievable. This is an insult to the integrity of my old relative in another town. You do that again and you’ll have a feud on your hands, kid. Just as a gag, huh? No judgment, huh? Alright. Glasgow. No, there’s one in Ireland. It’s spelled different, that’s why you can’t find it. There’s an H after the second G and a symbol over the O that’s only available on European keyboards. It’s in the east part.
Yes, of course. The Irish Potato Famine was, hold on, getting a text message, yeah, it was a dividing line in the Irish historical narrative that – Jennifer’s gonna be late – led to the struggle for independence. Every time I eat a potato, I do, I think of the Irish people, all of their hardship. That basket of potatoes over there, it represents something. Call me cheesy, but that stuff affects me. Symbols affect me.
No, that sign isn’t a symbol. That’s Gaelic. It’s a language. What’s it say? Well, you can read. It says céad míle fáilte. English, right. Well, it’s colloquial, and has a few different interpretations depending on who you talk to about it but I know it to translate to faith, love, hope. It motivates me. Reminds me I’m Irish.
I’m going this summer, you know. To Ireland. Yeah, Dublin, definitely. The heart of everything. That’s where it all happened. Uh, it’s just such a different culture – so much earthier. I mean, I already love Guinness, but the Guinness they serve there, it’s supposed to be so much better. More hearty. You wouldn’t even want to get drunk off the stuff. It’s too hearty for that. It feels almost disrespectful. Same thing with Jameson. You can just keep drinking it without feeling drunk, because that’s not really what it’s for. No, it’s not “reappropriation.” It’s all there in my family history.
Now, if you’re done with your interrogation, cough up that gas money you owe me. And give me back my Zippo lighter with a four-leaf clover on it. I’m off to O’Malley’s. There’s a U2 tribute band playing and there’s a five dollar cover at the door, cash only.
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