ROCKAWAY’S FAT TUESDAY
Unless you live under a rock or a four leaf clover you know it’s Irish Season in Rockaway. But it’s over tomorrow, March 18th. Fat Tuesday is the last day of revelry for Mardi Gras or Carnival. It’s the last day everyone can go a little nuts and not be noticed. March 17th is like Fat Tuesday. It really marks the end of Irish Carnival in Rockaway. If you’re still celebrating St. Patrick’s Day after the 17th, well, it’s time to tone it down. Enough already.
If you celebrate after St. Patrick’s you’re just a blue sticker. Remember them? If your house was structurally sound after Sandy the Buildings Department put a blue sticker on your door or window. Some houses still have their blue stickers. Enough already. We get it. Your house is okay. It’s three and a half years. Jesus, Mary and Joseph took down their stickers, it’s time you did, too.
But I’m writing this before last call so there’s still time for me to Go Green and remind us all of some magically delicious quotable quotes from the silver screen and places unknown. In Braveheart a man is asked if he converses with the Almighty. Well, the man says, “In order to find his equal, an Irishman is forced to talk to God.”
Of course, God makes his way into many an Irish insight, some of which you have to read twice to make sure you get the gist, like this: God is good to the Irish, but no one else is; not even the Irish.
That’s the thing about a lot of Irishisms: some of them are like riddles and others seem like they might have made sense three centuries ago. I think my grandmother used to say, “Saints preserve us.” Which I guess is kinda like “God help us,” but the whole preserving thing makes me think of Walt Disney or Ted Williams’s head. I suppose before cryogenics, the saints did the preserving.
Samuel Johnson said, “The Irish are a very fair people, they never speak well of one another.”
Which is the real reason the Irish have such a hard time being politically correct. If you speak ill of your family and your best friends then what’s the matter with doing the same of people you don’t know?
The Irish and the politically correct are often like chocolate chips and orange juice, they just don’t mix. And sometimes they shouldn’t mix. The PC police outdid themselves last year at a Pennsylvania college. Students demanded that Lynch Memorial Hall have its name changed because of the racial and violent overtones of the word “lynch.”
I’m hoping my Lynch cousins in Skibbereen don’t get wind of that one. The building, in fact, was named after a school president, Clyde Lynch, who’d helped steer the school through the tough times of the Great Depression.
God knows what my Irish friends would call the students who tried that genius move. It’d be absent diplomacy, to be sure. Oh, and what is Irish diplomacy? It’s the ability to tell a man to go to hell, so that he will look forward to making the trip.
A fun bunch. But complicated. You know what Matt Damon, playing Colin Sullivan in The Departed, said: “What Freud said about the Irish is, we’re the only people who are impervious to psychoanalysis.”
As Irish Carnival winds down I leave you with a toast: As you slide down the banister of life, may the splinters never point the wrong way.