Jay Meehan: Hey, St. Patrick, America has a snake problem
“If it was raining soup, the Irish would go out with forks.”
~ Brendan Behan
March is that time of year when I plug Irishness into most all my deductive thoughts. It just comes naturally. Like, if I’m up to my download port in raging against Trump’s machine, I immediately default to the fact that Irish Americans played a rather large role in voting him into office. Various forms of self-loathing invariably ensue.
I mean, there is really no way of dodging the issue. My sister, within the last year or two, organized much of the Meehan clan into partaking of the DNA test groundswell that had gained a trending foothold across the country. My first test came back 99 percent Ireland and Scotland.
Not long after, a notification arrived that adjusted it to 100 percent. The accompanying map was more specific in placing geographic responsibility. Areas within the Munster counties of southern Ireland were to blame, with north Munster, north Tipperary, Southwest Clare, and west Clare absorbing most of the brunt.
As one who swoons over diversity in most all its manifestations, my initial reaction was how boring my ethnicity analysis appeared at first glance. I’d always thought that, with a history of being raped and pillaged by, seemingly in sequence, all the invading hordes of Europe, the Irish gene pool would be more of a gumbo.
I had always pictured this never-ending line of Vandals and Huns tracing across Europe waiting their turn to jump on a boat and ravage the “auld sod.” I’m sure there is an explanation for all this and I’m also sure it will come a knockin’ shortly. More than likely, it all relates to some vast reservoir of ignorance on my part.
I guess there has to be some sort of universal balance at play in these things and it shouldn’t come as any great surprise that a country rewarded with the literary grandeur of Ireland would also share in the stain of Trump. But, Gombeen, man, it’ll take generations for this to wash out.
So, St. Patrick, do I have a gig for you. You recall the snakes you drove out of Ireland back in mythological times? Well, with both inner and moral compasses on the fritz, those very same serpents arrived upon America’s shores a couple of years back and they are destroying most everything in their path.
Adopting a most hateful God, they have run roughshod over mankind’s empathetic notions and carefully acquired knowledge. They have colluded with the greediest among us to the point where concepts to the contrary are deemed fake or un-American. All this while their falsely elected leader champions the ungodly life of self-obsession, lust, and pleasure. He even autographs Bibles and boobs on the side.
Whataya think, Patrick? You think you could gather some wily leprechauns to sweep out the hate from our nooks and crannies and blarney stone crevices. A caveat here, these snakes are insidious and prone to mistaking late night gibberish for Gospel.
Not that it will keep me from hoisting a few with many of these usual suspects over the next week or so. Sharing the predominant biases of most of white America, as a clan we Irish evolve at a slower pace. There are many sharing our ethnic makeup, of course, who keep a kinder faith.
Now that I’ve got my dander up to a good “Irishness,” I’ll probably check the liquor cabinet and bookshelves for additional spices. With most of a week to prepare, I’ll be ready to hold my own. Some grand concoction of Guinness and Jameson with Tullamore Dew on the side, possibly. Doesn’t look like Redbreast will be making an appearance again this year.
Although “Bloomsday” is a ways off, no doubt the shadows of Leopold and Molly and Stephen will emerge in some form from James Joyce’s Ulysses. I try not to be too parochial during St. Paddy’s feast days. Inclusivity is the key, especially after a couple of “Irish Car Bomb” beverages.
The “terrible beauty” of Yeats’ “Easter 1916” will also be pulled down, although, like “Ulysses,” doesn’t really have much to do with St. Paddy’s Day. But who cares? We Irish have never really let those disassociations stop us before. Didn’t we once stagger from the Elks Lodge to the Post Office belting out songs of the IRA before adjourning to the Alamo?
So, I’m going to be on the lookout for you St. Patrick. Let’s hoist one! Slàinte!
Jay Meehan is a culture junkie and has been an observer, participant, and chronicler of the Park City and Wasatch County social and political scenes for more than 40 years.