“He was a terror to any snake that came in his path, whether it was the cold, slimy reptile sliding along the ground or the more dangerous snake that oppresses men through false teachings. And he drove the snakes out of the minds of men, snakes of superstition and brutality and cruelty.” ~Arthur Brisbane
Well technically, as my father would say, I’m American, but that’s neither here nor there. I’ve green eyes, the map of Ireland can be seen across my face (my freckles), and I even have red hair—though it’s from a bottle. My entire life I have heard about “how Irish” I look. It’s a bit stereotypical, but I don’t mind.
Recently my grandmother passed. To say she was proud to be Irish would be a huge understatement. Growing up, each time we would visit with her, she would remind me that I was Irish. My brother, sister, and I even called her Irish grandma, and if I remember correctly this was because she wanted us to.
This will be the first year in my entire life that I will not receive a card in the mail for St. Patrick’s (Padraig’s) Day, stuffed with a one dollar bill, and signed Irish grandma and grandpa. On the inside of her coffin an Irish blessing was embroidered in green, her six children donned identical shamrock pins in her honor, she was buried with the Irish flag, and we said our goodbyes with classic Irish music playing in the background.
I cannot tell you how many times people have
most times incorrectly assumed that because I am Irish I drink like a fish. I have to tell you, that bothers me a bit. I am not trying to be heavy, and I know it’s all in good fun, especially on St. Paddy’s day, but if I am being honest here, it’s pretty aggravating. I get even more pissed off when I think of how it’s always been a gross generalization.
“All these kids from New Jersey and the five boroughs
And hundreds of cities, all drowning their sorrows,
With bottles and glasses and heads getting broken
(Believe me, just ask the mayor of Hoboken)
All that mindlessness, shouting and getting plain stocious —
That isn’t Irish, that’s simply atrocious.
I’ve another word too for it, this one’s more stinging
I call it “racism.” See, just ’cause you’re singing
Some drunken old ballad on Saint Patrick’s Day
Does that make you Irish? Oh, no—no way.” ~ Frank Delaney
The excerpt above is from a poem I came across today, and it so adequately expresses how I feel I was compelled to share it.
I won’t attempt to lie and say that I have never used St. Paddy’s day as an excuse to get stewed, but that was then. Now I can’t help but feel that there is something fundamentally wrong with the encouragement of binge drinking, and the trouble that total inebriation inevitably ensues.
“They’re not of Joyce or of Yeats, Wilde, or Shaw.
How many Nobel Laureates does Dublin have? Four!
Think of this as you wince through Saint Patrick’s guano—
Not every Italian is Tony Soprano.” ~ Frank Delaney
Encouragement takes on all different shapes and sizes, and by not speaking my mind about this I feel like an enabler. This is simply just me finally exploring and stating my opposition, unafraid of how “uncool” it makes me seem.
Bonus: 10 Irish inventions that changed the world!