Time to shout Éirinn go Brách
When I was a kid, I wasn’t Irish. I’m still not. I wish I could say I’d been to Ireland, but no such luck. As a short digression, let me say that my family can draw multiple lines back to Scotland and what that means is this: I was disappointed when Scotland didn’t vote for independence last year. If they had, maybe Ireland would be voting for independence this year.
Okay, now that I’ve gotten the politics out of the way, I can say that it’s always time to shout “Ireland Forever” and to smile about the whole leprechaun-pot-of-gold business and drink Irish coffee and eat soda bread and listen to Enya’s music.
The whole notion of St. Patrick’s Day always seems to put a smile on people’s faces even if they’re not drinking green beer and Glendalough single malt.
As you can see from the picture, tastefully taken using the mirror in the hall bathroom, I’m wearing green for the day. Sorry, but I’m not speaking Gaelic because (a) If I could, it would be Scot’s Gàidhlig in deference to my ancestors, (b) From what I hear, most people in Ireland no longer speak Irish, and (c) People around here would assume I had a bad sinus condition.
If you want to appear wise at the pub, here are a few phrases you can use as pickup lines:
- Níl aon tóin tinn mar do thóin tinn féin. (There’s no sore ass like your own sore ass.)
- Is iad na muca ciúine a itheann an mhín. (It’s the quiet pigs that eat the grain.)
- Ní thagann ciall roimh aois. (Sense does not come before age.)
Aside from the drinking, fighting, profanity and lechery (which are also very Scottish), St. Patrick’s Day in the U.S. just seems to lend itself to smiling and saying things that put a smile on other’s faces. It’s a pause (this year, at least) in all the politics and discord and the commuter traffic and the other “benefits” of modern life.
We can pretend we want to return to a gentler, simpler time even though none of us will get very far without texting, WiFi and “Survivor” on Wednesday nights. It’s a family and friends kind of day even for those who don’t know where Ireland is.
I grew up in north Florida where there weren’t a lot of Gaelic speaking folks. One of my best friends in high school was a girl named Erin. The first time I heard the phase “Éirinn go Brách,” I thought people were telling her to go buy a bra. It’s hard not to think of that now on St. Patrick’s Day.
P.S. My novel “At Sea” is free on Kindle this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.