Luck of the Irish(?)

This coming Sunday is St. Patrick’s Day, and many of you will be whooping it up to honor the Irish. I have mixed feelings about the holiday, mostly due to what I’ve learned about my heritage over the years. Some of my roots can be traced to Vikings (Norway), some to Ireland, and some to Austria-Hungary (<–huh?  Click the link). Perhaps you have read about how the Vikings conquered the Irish during the American Revolution?

Ah yes, I remember it well. Way back in October of nineteen hundred and sixty two, Columbus sailed the oceans blue, Of course any schoolchild can remember the three ships he used to discover Atlanta: El Niño, the Pinto, and the Sacagawea. Having finally been discovered, the residents of Atlanta rejoiced with great happiness and had cause for wildly joyous celebration. It was at this time Coca Cola was invented by mixing wonderfully flavorful ingredients with the melting snows of March just before the eve of St. Patrick’s Day. Then of course the Vikings came from Minnesota and conquered everyone involved by kabonking them on the noggins with their footballs.

Perhaps I am a little less than accurate with my history, but if you don’t believe me the burden of proof is on YOU!! HAHAHA!! So THERE!

Seriously folks, I just flew in from the coast, and boy are my arms tired. Doctor!! It hurts when I do this! (DON’T DO THAT!!)

Anyway, you see, it’s like this: Dad was 100% Norwegian (a Viking). Mom was a mix: our maternal grandfather was straight from Ireland; and our maternal grandmother was Austro-Hungarian (she grew up speaking German), which means absolutely nothing to today’s schoolchildren. Anyway, Mom used to celebrate St. Patty’s Day like any good Catholic should. We each had to wear something green, had to say “Erin go bragh” at least once on the special day, and ate corned beef and cabbage. St. Patty’s Day was kinda fun, and it also meant something very important to us kids: spring and of course the Easter Bunny were right around the corner. Life as a kid was simple, everything had a very brief explanation, and you were cool with it. And as a kid growing up on Long Island, New York I hung out with lots of Irish kids. We were not only good friends, we even had some physical traits in common: freckles for example. I had lots, they had lots. They had red hair. I had really blonde hair as kid which turned reddish brown as I got older.

So then I made a big mistake: I grew up. Am I a ninny or what?? I did what so many others did while growing up: I sought answers. I did crazy and exotic things like watch public TV. And there on Nova or something was this history of the Vikings. Those crazy guys were the gang members of yesteryear, and they terrorized much of Europe and beyond. And I learned that of one of their favorite hangouts was: Ireland. No big deal, right?? WRONG!!! It yanked the innocence carpet right out from under me. From what the historians had to say, the Irish never really had freckles or red hair until the Vikings came a-conquering and started messing with their gene pool. All that raping and pillaging left its mark..

OK so like, what’s the big deal?? Well I’ll tell ya, it spoiled St. Patty’s Day for me, awright?? Vikings on my Dad’s side and Irish on my Mom’s side. Hmmm…. According to history, my ancestors raped and pillaged my ancestors!! Gack!! I hope they have apologized over the years. The Irish have endured many hardships over many, many years; which appears to be how the phrase “Luck of the Irish” originated. My mother used to say that to us if we fell off our bikes and got all scratched up or something. “You got the luck of the Irish, boy!!” she’d exclaim.

Lots of folks get into the spirit by eating a meal with corned beef and cabbage. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t totally dislike corned beef and cabbage, but once a year is definitely enough for me. We usually have some for each St. Patrick’s Day because my Beautiful Girlfriend enjoys it.

What appears to be a primarily American custom is green beer. Well none of that for me thanks; I’m allergic to alcoholic beverages (they make me break out in traffic violations) (among other things) (you wouldn’t want to go there, trust me) (OK enough with the parentheses already!!). When I was much younger I set out to prove I was allergic to alcoholic beverages; but even then green beer never really sounded yummy to me.

I truly hope all the Irish enjoy their upcoming holiday. All of my silly bantering cannot take anything away from the importance of St. Patrick to Ireland and its wonderful people. Those who know me understand that I’m pretty much full of cabbage soup (or something) much of the time. If I have offended anyone please allow me to invite you over and I’ll try to make nice… we can sit by the fireplace and dip our corned beef in some lime Kool-Aid, and I’ll even let you draw a shamrock on my arm with a magic marker. Then we could sing a few verses of “When Irish Eyes Are Smilin’.” I’ll even wear my Viking hat and clunk myself silly with my reindeer antler shillelagh.

Or not.

Erin Go Bragh!!

This week’s “Irish” cartoon is pure fairy tale, but I remember enjoying it in glorious black and white as a kid.