I’m not wearing any green today. I’m not Irish. I’ve never been to Ireland (though I’d be happy to go if you’re paying). In fact, I’m told we have some Scottish somewhere up at the top branches of the family tree. Don’t the Scots and Ires have some sort of blood sport rivalry anyhow? Eh, don’t care. I’m not Catholic either. And, though I’m sure Patrick was a complete angel and one of the finest humans you could ever want to meet, I’m not sure what was so saintly about him. Did he win a big soccer match for team Ireland one year?
Nope, no green here. It’s a day like any other. And, yes, I’m one of those guys.
We did dress my filly in green. If it saves her a few pinches, I guess that’s a good thing. Besides, it’s more for the other kids’ protection than hers. She’s the type to punch some innocently teasing child in the face. And then ask questions later…probably while standing over the recently punched kid, with the blood spewing nose, still clenching her fist. Daddy taught her that. My colt likes to play Call of Duty. Sometimes, he’s not sure who he should be shooting at in the fog of war. I like to remind him that he should just open fire on everyone. ‘Kill ‘em all and let God sort ‘em out.’ If I don’t dispense this advice to my foals’ tender ears, who will?
Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t have anything against St. Patrick’s Day or Ireland or Irish folk. Dress up in shamrock hats. Drink green food coloring. Whoop it up. Knock yourselves out. For me, however, a day isn’t a holiday unless it comes with a free day off from work. No day off; no celebration on my part. Valentine’s Day anyone? No thanks.
I’ve never been sensitive about my heritage. I did have occasion to run into someone hyper-sensitive about their heritage once. It so happens, he was Irish though I didn’t know that at first. And since this is Patty’s Day, why not share that story now?
Several years ago, I was sitting on the couch at some in-laws house “celebrating” his kid’s tenth birthday by trying to stay awake watching the NBA All Star game and checking my watch every five minutes to determine the socially acceptable time to leave. Some guy, a friend of the relatives or something, was sitting there watching the game modeling fashionably green shaded camouflage pants, shirt and hat. Keep in mind, despite the camouflage, I could see him perfectly. He really popped against the white leather couch though I didn’t have the heart to tell him.
At some point, this complete stranger decided to start sharing his person views on black people. Let’s just say, he didn’t seem to like them. Every highly-successful, multi-millionaire black player was belittled with a withering, disgusting comment from the dude without a job and an aversion to soap.
I ignored the first half dozen or so remarks. It’s a child’s birthday party. Let it go, right?
Finally, after fifteen minutes of non-stop racial commentary, I looked over at him and said, “I feel the same way…except about the Irish.” Now, I had no idea this guy was Irish. Before I said it, I knew he might be Irish. But I could have picked any other group. That was just the first name that came to mind. I was simply trying to make a point.
As the kids raced around the house full of birthday cake and presents, this highly visible, green monster stands up and says to me, “I’m Irish, you want to step outside?”
All that I could do was laugh. It was completely surreal. Fortunately, my laughter broke the tension and seemed to remind the camouflaged racist the he was at his friend’s house at his friend’s child’s birthday party. Now might not be the best time for a whiskey fueled bar fight.
Thank God, too. It would have been him standing over me with a clenched fist while my nose spewed blood. That would have been a real lesson for my kids: Don’t fuck with the Irish. They’d probably wear green every day thereafter.
I would have still taken my chances though…unless it came with a free day off.
Happy St. Patrick's Day!
(No, I don't want to step outside.)
Saturday: 4 x 400m (1:19, 1:19, 1:18, 1:17). Starting small on the intervals.
Sunday: 14 miles @ 7:06 pace.
This week: 3 x 800m w/warm-up/cool down, 8 miles tempo, and 17 mile long run.