Fake Irish

I was going to blog on Disneyland, Part II, but it was so freaking depressing, I decided to wait until later, when I am better able to see the humor in it.

So, instead, I’m going to blog on my status as a frustrated, wanna-be Irishman.

I say wanna-be, because, like all Americans, there’s Irish in there, but it remains to be seen precisely how much. My dad may be a quarter Irish (he claims half, but his grandmother was actually Welsh. He refuses to believe me on this front, no matter how much evidence I put in front of him. I’ve given up). My mother may also be Irish, at least in part. I like to claim Irish heritage, with the dark hair, hazel-green eyes and pale, freckled skin. Really, I’m just another pale, freckled American.

So, honestly, while I think I can safely claim Celtic origins (or, even more safely, ancestry in the British Isles), I don’t think I can necessarily claim Ireland as my ancestral home.

It’s too bad, because I love all things Irish. The Book of Kells, the Blarney Stone, the Cliffs of Moher. Dublin and Trinity College. Waterford crystal. Whiskey. Guinness. The accents (yes, I did once date a guy just because of the accent). I freaking love the Pogues, Flogging Molly, and The Chieftains. Huge U2 fan (but who isn’t? I don’t think that should even count as a love of all things Irish). I even liked the heather, though I discovered that I’m allergic to it (but then, I’m allergic to almost everything that grows, so it’s not like that’s a shock).

In short, like most Americans, I’m a frustrated Irishman.

I’m not the only one in my family with “wanna-be” roots. My aunt, who may or may not be part Scottish, insisted we get a freaking bagpiper for my grandmother’s funeral. That would have been fine, but my grandmother was Dutch. 100%. No Scottish in there–both her parents were straight off the boat.

Clog dancers in wooden shoes would have been more appropriate. I’d even have made allowances for a yodeller (it would have been funny. I’d totally go for a yodeller at my funeral). But a bagpiper? Since I’d planned the funeral, I had nixed the idea of a bagpiper completely. So when a guy in a kilt showed up and starting piping away, I was completely caught off guard.

After all, my grandmother, as I’ve mentioned, was Dutch. And really wasn’t into the whole Scottish thing. She once told me she only tolerated Braveheart because she thought Mel Gibson had a cute butt.

(Talk about throwing me for a loop. I couldn’t even say the word butt in front of my very proper grandmother. I just about did a spit take when she said that)

My dad is worse than anyone. I can at least entertain the notion that I’m not really Irish, but he can’t. My dad’s people have been here since before the Revolutionary War. I think, after at least 300 years, maybe we should be thinking of ourselves as American.

We have no ancestral homeland. Or, if we do, it’s Boston.

So I guess there are three categories of Irish: Irish, black Irish, and Fake Irish.

I am proudly the third.


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