As a growing boy I learned that the Irish are good at doing 4 things:
3. Turning everything into a competition
4. Carrying grudges to the grave
At a recent seminar, when I told this a man raised his hand and said, “Do you know how to tell when an Irishman has Alzheimer’s?”
“No I don’t,” I said. “But this I gotta hear.”
“An Irishman with Alzheimer’s forgets everything but the grudge.”
Now THAT was a good one.
Truth is that if it weren’t for God creating whiskey (and yes, that is the correct spelling in Ireland), we’d have conquered the world a long time ago. Afterall, according to one famous author the Irish saved civilization itself – see “How the Irish Saved Civilization” by Thomas Cahill.
And now, for what I really think about the Irish …
I think of a true Irishman as someone who is an expert at telling a story, either in writing or orally. An Irishman who cannot tell a story will go broke. A true Irishman is a fighter, or a politician, a priest, a policeman, or an actor/comedian, or some sort of performer.
An Irishman will be opinionated beyond belief. He will have a comment about almost everything – as well as a theory, principle or LAW.
And an Irishman, most of all, will have a sense of humor, even during times of extreme adversity.
My father once told me a story about his days in the Philippines during World War II (and this is the ONLY story he ever told me about that war – couldn’t get him to speak about it if you threatened to beat him).
Here it goes: “One day we were in the trenches and there was a lot of fire. I was right next to a couple of Irish and right during the heat of battle, after a couple bullets just missed them, one looked at the other and said, “You know, if these bastards keep this shit up I’m going to get mad. They’re really starting to piss me off.”
My dad told me that story for a reason. It has to do with an orientation toward life itself. You can be negative about what is happening to you. Or you can find a reason to be positive, laugh about it – but keep on fighting.
To the “Fightin’ Irish” and to all Irish – Happy St. Patrick’s Day.