Ah... St. Patrick's day. Thank goodness it only comes once a year. In the spirit of the 'holy' day, I thought I'd share with you what I'd like to celebrate about Irish culture. Surprisingly, it wasn't all too difficult to come up with ten things, (unlike Swiss culture, which has a steep down-curve after choclolate, that Swiss Miss, those nifty knives and neutrality).
What I Love About the Irish
1. My wife & in-laws - I've got to put that one first, lest I unleash my wife's Irish temper once she reads this. I mean it honey. You is tops, and so's yo clan. Even the half-Polish ones.
2. 50% of each of my boys - Though I'd say that their finer attributes are the Venezuelan ones, there aren't a finer pair of half-micks anywhere.
3. The music - The Pogues, The Wolfe Tones, Phil Lynott, Van Morrison, The Chieftains... Yes. I will allow the Irish to own guitars and other musical instruments. I have yet to lift the moratorium off of Canada. Though I'll allow Sloan and Gordon Lightfoot to continue utilization of such, I still haven't forgiven you for Triumph, Chilliwack, Kim Mitchell or Celine Dion.
4. Guinness - Okay, at first, this sh*t tasted like an oil-change, but after a while you grow used to it. I've heard that pregnant women in the UK were given Guinness to drink in the Post WWII era, and it's not as caloric as one might think. Apparently it's got some nutritional value, so anything that nourishes me while making all the other rummies in the bar slightly more interesting is okay with me.
5. The myths and legends - Balor, the one-eyed god of death and Cuchulainn, killer of vicious mutts... now that's good folklore.
6. Scones - What do you get when you cross a muffin with a cookie? Dee-lish. (Oh. Did I just say "dee-lish? That was a little high on the 'Brokeback' meter)
7. The art - Though I find the overtly religious imagery a little tiresome, Celtic designs are cool as sh*t... (though sh*t probably measures at somewhere near 98 degrees when it comes out, so I correct myself. Hot as sh*t.)
8. The literature - James Joyce is a bit thick to trudge through, Yeats, Beckett and Wilde could string together some verbage. Frank McCourt also gots game.
9. The hot redheads - (and the accompanying freckled chests... growllll)
10. The cop that says, "Ye' might, rrrabit. Ye might." to Bugs Bunny. It has provided me with an all-encompassing catchphrase with which to tease my wife.
Okay, now that the warm and fuzzies have all been itemized, here's a short list about what chafes me about the Emerald Isle and its inhabitants. Now before you make a St. Sebastian out of me... It was (stifled laughter) difficult to come up with ten things I dislike.
What Chafes me About the Irish
1. The temper - You give the Italians a good run for the money, without the vendettas and concrete shoes. The Middle East might seem to have the edge, though, strictly from a male perspective - but I'd pit a pissed off Irish broad against any irate Muslim dude and comfortably put a C-note on the lass.
2. That potato thing - I'm not going to demean the significance of this event and the millions of people it affected, but you shot yourselves in the foot by:
(a) relying heavily on one crop for your nutritional needs and
(b) allowing effete a**holes to dictate your landowning policies.
3. the Celts - Though this is only partially Irish, when the Romans invaded in 43 a.d. you got your asses kicked. That didn't take long, but you ended up adopting their religions, ooh-ing and ahh-ing their roads and buildings and even went as far as to join the Roman army while the Picts continued to wreak havoc on the invaders.
4. Speaking of Religions - Though I can wholeheatedly say that all religions suck equally (except the Church of Latterday Prego), you fell vicitms to the lethal combo of religion and politics. Then again, so has half the planet. Also, keep in mind that the snakes that St. Patrick was purported to have removed from Ireland are widely considered to be a metaphor for pagan religions. How's that for brotherhood and tolerance?
5. Corned Beef and Cabbage - What the f**k is up with the boiling? There goes the flavour and the nutritional value... up in steam.
6. The Kennedys - I can't fault them for an overwrought affinity for fine tail, but does it have to have a body count? If Clinton was a Kennedy, that chubby-ass 'ho Lewinsky would have been throw in the Potomac faster than you can say "Chappaquiddick."
7. Lucky Charms - Hands down, the worst cereal to grace supermarket shelves, and therefore Leprechauns - A blight on an otherwise illustrious and rich folkloric tradition. The only amusing depiction of such was in the Simpsons Treehouse of Horror XII. Other than that, they're about as charismatic as the mascot of the 1996 Olympic games in Atlanta.
8. Those plaques with Irish blessings and prayers. May the Lord Bless you and Keep you Irish and all that sh*t. I'd rather hang a Velvis on my wall.
9. That goofy-ass dance - Thank goodness I have boys... Otherwise I know my wife would want our kids to learn that steppity-step sh*t. I was at an "Irish" pub in Toronto a couple years back, and they a live band. A couple patrons brought their daughters to do that 'Raindance' bullsh*t in front of them. It was cute for about 3 minutes. After 17 more minutes of the same routine It was downright nauseating.
10. The alcoholic persona - Every mid-March I have to hear every Irish acquaintance tell me how sh*t-housed they're going to get at the parade. Great. Have fun, Paddy. Why don't you perpetuate another classy ethnic stereotype, such as belligerence and lack of height? If you were an Italian woman, would you grow a moustache on your thirtieth birthday?
*11. Dishonorable mention - U2