Kill me, I’m Irish.
A couple of Friday nights ago, I was made to sit down and watch that genealogy show, Who Do You Think You Are? After a few minutes of learning uninteresting things about Lionel Richie’s heritage and annoying my girlfriend with comments like “Holy cow, that’s a nice house. More like ‘Dancing on the Cathedral Ceiling,’ am I right?”, I crept off to the computer and started looking up my own family tree, which was more interesting because it was about me.
I turned up some interesting details — for example, that one of my great-great-great-great-grandfathers was a famed Cornish wrestling champion. But then my world collapsed. After a lifetime of boasting about how not a single drop of Irish blood polluted my body, I went back and looked at the 1881 Canada census, and there was great-great-great-grandpa Linn listed there. Birthplace: Ireland.
And yes, I did just write “Linn”. Apparently I’ve been spelling my name wrong my whole life.
All these years I’ve been calling the Irish a “filthy, subhuman race” and boasting about being a full-blooded white man. Now I have to take the “No Dogs or Irish” sign out of my window and take back everything I’ve ever said about that apelike race.
It’s not that I actually believe any of what I just said or that I actually have anything against the Irish. I just hate the conveniently Irish, the poseurs indigenous to North America who suddenly discover their supposed heritage just in time to have an excuse to drink green beer every year. I liked not being one of those guys. And here I am conveniently finding out my own Hibernian ancestry in early March, and here I now sit, already wearing a green shirt. Although I have been told that green is my colour. And now I know why.
I’ve finally gotten my comeuppance. Go ahead and mock me. Just now, my girlfriend’s father sent me a message to wish me and my people a Merry St. Patrick’s Day. Up until my humiliating discovery about my heritage, I said, I never would have called the Irish “people”. He agreed, but said that you can’t change your family or heritage. Sure you can, I say. All it takes is a time machine and a grandmother who likes to party. And the Irish do like to party.
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