In honor of March's 20-Something Bloggers Blog Carnival, and St. Patrick's Day, I am going to tell you why it isn't easy being green, and Irish, in America.
Hello. I'm Irish. Okay, I'll be real. I'm French-Canadian (Quebecois?!?), Italian, Irish, Scottish, English, and Polish. But. I'm Irish, man, and it's really hard to be Irish.
I'm not kidding. Being Irish in these United States is a life-long competition, and unless you're willing to put your all into your competition, you may as well drop out and turn in your pot of gold and pint of Guinness at the birth canal.
I think people forget that Irish is the most common heritage in the United States. Seriously, there's a really ridiculous percentage of Americans who proclaim to have a little Irish in them (giggle), but I won't bore you with the statistics. We all know how this happened. Irish folk are also Catholic folk and traditional Catholics don't believe in birth control, plus, you needed all the help you could get on those potato farms.
What I don't understand is the competition to be MORE IRISH than your fellow Irish Americans. My last name might not be O'Neil, or O'Hurley (quite the contrary, my mom's side of the family was probably O'Connolly and left the O at Ellis Island), but I do know there were some boot-leggers and horse thieves in County Cork who made babies, who made babies, who made my mom, who made me. I'm also from Rhode Island, which was pretty much founded by Irish/Roman Catholics and Jews. I guess I'm proud to be Irish, but it seems whenever I say I am, I'm not quite Irish enough. Everyone who is Irish has to be so Irish. I don't have this problem with any of my other backgrounds. (except maybe Italian which is a completely different can of beans all together)
To be Irish in America, and I mean really Irish, you need Celtic knots out the wazoo. Celtic knot tattoos, Celtic phrases. Celtic trivia. You need to drink everyone under the table, or try to, and you have to claim to have long-lost relatives in Ireland. (By the way, I MET my long-lost Irish relatives this summer)
Oh REALLY?! Me too. My family has a pub over there and we go over there every summer. My mom made me take Irish dancing lessons as a kid and have you seen my tattoo?! Oh? Yeah, my mom's mother's maiden name is O'Flannigan.
ME TOO! Yeah, we heard my grandfather was left on the door-step of the Statue of Liberty in a potato sack with nothing but a barrel of beer and a green marble rosary.
Yeah, I'm Irish. When I bleed, leprechauns, gold, and rainbows fly out of the gash. I like beer!
So. To all of you hardcore and not-so-hardcore Irish folk (and those who wish they were) go get your green on, knock back a few beers, and tell people to kiss you.
Happy St. Patrick's Day.