Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Pusillanimous Pomposity

There is a bug that is up my posterior end. It is the day before St. Patrick’s Day and I am trying to find words to write to regale the masses with the wonder that is being of noble Irish lineage. I have tried to read wise words from famous Irish men and women with little good fortune. The best thing I could really find that might sum up my feelings on being Irish wasn’t even said by an Irishman:

"This is one race of people for whom psychoanalysis is of no use whatsoever."
- Sigmund Freud

I am obsessed with ancient Irish stories and myths. I know that I have an ancestor who fought and died next to the great Ard Ri (Irish High King) Brian Boru. I have read book upon book about the struggles Ireland has suffered at the hands of the Empire under whom the sun never sets. I have an equaled obsession with the Troubles and the ultimate victory of the thousand year war waged with the English. The atrocities and the belligerent attitude the English have held toward the Irish has fueled a racial bigotry in me to the point that if I were to travel to Europe, said trip would definitely exclude a stop at Heathrow International airport, or any other bloody ‘fookin port of embarkation or disembarkation the rotten Brit bastards might have in my way.

I have an ancestor who escaped the battle at the GPO in Dublin in 1916, and was a close associate of both Michael Collins and Patrick Pearse. I have several ancestors who were kings and princes of the Emerald Isle. I also have progenitors who were brigands, pirates and, in more modern times, gangsters.

My most recent family tree is of a more common nature. Truck and bus drivers, tug boat captains, and bartenders. My own checkered past has mirrored my most recent antecedents in the areas of professional cargo driver and tender of the jar. I missed the tug boat thing, but I believe I received my love of words from My Uncle Buddy who read voraciously and was the most intelligent person I have ever met. I also took delivery of his affinity for “the drink” as my sweet Deifiúr commonly refers to our (his and mine) obsessive predilection with spirits of the grain.

I write with an Irish accent in my head. My fiction is heavily laced with Irish flavored wit and Gaelic words that probably do not accurately embody in context, what I wish them to signify. I am believer in a unified Ireland, even though that sentiment is not necessarily the prevailing desire of the residents of Northern Ireland.

Growing up, March the seventeenth was the one day all year that Uncle Buddy did not drink. We never really asked him the reason for this, we were mostly happy to have him sober. I conjectured that he failed to see the point of announcing for the world that which he knew without having to prove. I, in the latter years of my life before recovery, ceased imbibing also. My reasoning was from a decidedly more academic stance. Prior to my sweet Deifiúr and me, no one in our family had ever attended college. We took our studies seriously and still approach life from a more or less intellectual/academic point of view.

I, still curious as to my uncle’s liquid fast every year at this time, researched St Patrick only to find much confusion and irritation. HE WAS NOT EVEN IRISH!!!!! Best accounts, or rather the only factual thing historians can agree on is that he was a young boy living in a Roman family in either England or France who was kidnapped and forced into slavery by Irish brigands. (Perhaps, one of my ancestors???)

He did not drive the snakes from Ireland because there were not, nor has there ever been, snakes in Ireland.

Being a Catholic saint, and probably a Catholic priest or bishop, he would have never been in favor of a celebration of his life that included droves of people worldwide getting completely legless and befuddled with drink while acting foolish on the feast of his sainthood. They turn the river green in Chicago for the day for God’s sake! As if any northern river running through an industrialized town or city needs to have anything of a foreign nature dumped into it.

I could go on but seem to have come to a wall in the middle of the road. I began this piece with a much different intent. I many time choose my topics from the Word of the Day I receive from I am also an alliteration fanatic …an extremist that is pugnacious when confronted with complaints about “big words that sound the same.” I then attempt to guide my topic from the alliterative title I come up with.

Writing is an art and discipline. It is a practice that craves and requires both exercise, and nurture. The title of this piece reads to me as “Fearful Belligerence” Something tells me that when writing on the Irish in me I must respect that which I fear, and act belligerently in order to defeat the tragedy that is ultimately at the heart of all true Irish literature and history. Humor is the tool to combat misfortune. I write what I see, and I see that being Irish is central to what I am. The humor I see is the myth of St. Patrick, and the hordes of drunks that are celebrating the feast of an ENGLISHMAN!

I leave you with this Irish prayer…

"May those who love us, love us; and those who don't love us, may God turn their hearts; and if He doesn't turn their hearts, may he turn their ankles so we'll know them by their limping."


1 comment:

Becky said...

I'm led to seek the Lithuanians, my lineage, as you do the Irish. I get it.