St. Patrick’s Day is the day when everyone is Irish. But for anyone with any Irish in them at all, you are always Irish. There is always some sort of rounding up involved when we describe ourselves. I live in Matthews, North Carolina which borders Charlotte. But if someone asks me where I live, I tell them Charlotte because people know what Charlotte means. And for most of white America, it seems like the only two nationalities people like to round up to are Irish and Italian.
Not that there aren’t people who are proud to be English or Dutch or whatever Melania Trump is, but people seem to be VOCAL about being Irish. You know of any other nationality that is its own #1 export? You see people going out of their way to paint French flags on their faces on Catherine de Suède’s Day? No. You do not. Because even though they are tiny compared to lots of countries, their ability to market themselves is unparalleled.
I mean, how great could the country be if the best thing their people ever did was leave it? We can’t just keep milking James Joyce until people stop asking what’s so great about Ireland. Part of the obsession, I think, is that we love people who can absorb tremendous amounts of punishment and still keep smiling. I am not sure why we love that but we really really do. And so it makes sense in a way that the Irish sort of…made themselves seem more downtrodden. I have written about this before but I think it’s worth repeating that there has NEVER been any evidence of the whole “No Irish Need Apply” thing. None. But there’s a legend and a song written around it!
So where does this all leave me? Well, if we go by great grandparents (of which I have 8), this is what I am:
English = 5
Irish = 2
Norweigian = 1
So as you can see – I am Irish. Now someone hand me a beer.
Note: I am sure my brother will see this and correct me in some way. But where was he when I was writing this? Huh? NOWHERE TO BE FOUND!