You know I can’t resist dropping a proverb on you that was dropped on me: “If wars were fought with words, Ireland would rule the world.”
Of course, there are a couple of variations on what’s keeping Ireland from ruling the world, but it’s hard to argue that it rules a good chunk of Rockaway this week, including this column.
I’m guessing a lot of people who live in New Orleans hate Mardi Gras. They can do without the crowds and the madness. I’m guessing a few feel the same way about Parade Day in Rockaway. But New Orleans without Mardi Gras, Rockaway without St. Paddy’s – they just wouldn’t be the same.
Among other things, the parade presents me with the chance to regurgitate some Irishisms. I get to say things are grand and brilliant and ask people, where’s the crack? (And they don’t point to a drug den or suggest rehab).
Everyone knows that with Irish Alzheimer’s you forget everything but your grudges. And the grudges live on until you read the name of your nemesis in the Irish Comics otherwise known as the obituaries. (Sometimes people ask why we don’t publish obituaries. Well, I just get too sad when I lose another reader).
You know, good Irish old-timers might express frustration by saying Jesus, Mary, and Joseph while the new, saltier, generation expresses it with: for feck’s sake.
I can’t remember (see Irish Alzheimer’s) who told me this one but I get a kick out of the cockiness. He said, any Irishman worth his salt, walks into the room, and convinces himself he’s either the smartest or funniest guy in the room. If he’s neither, he knows he’s the best looking. And if none of those fit he can still believe he’s got the best singing voice.
Such cockiness or arrogance is actually kinda rare in Irishisms. The Irish are usually more comfortable putting themselves down or making light of tough circumstances. When you pack your clothes in a trash bag and call it Irish Luggage you’re not exactly boasting.
There are Irish Twins (children born within a year of each other) and Irish Exits (you know, slipping out without saying goodbye). There are Irish Wakes and Irish Tempers. And there’s even Irish Camouflage – otherwise known as freckles.
There are a few that can’t be said in church. And easier said after a pint.
And while Irish-this and Irish-that are common enough, there are some words and sentiments that seem appropriate as the parade takes shape.
Do not resent growing old, some are denied the privilege.
Irish women are like tea bags, they don’t know their strength until they’re in hot water.
A silent mouth is musical.
It's often a man's mouth broke his nose.
May good luck be your friend in whatever you do, And may trouble be always A stranger to you. May the lilt of Irish laughter lighten every load, May the mist of Irish magic shorten every road, May you taste the sweetest pleasures that fortune ere bestowed, And may all your friends remember, all the favors you are owed.
All very nice. But I’ll end on some practical advice:
Your kilt should be short enough for a jig and long enough to hide your lucky charms.
(This column first ran in 2015. Here’s hoping you got a case of Irish Alzheimer’s and forgot!)
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