A Pint of Plain Is Your Only Man


I used to tell people I was half Irish and half Jewish, and that there were days I got so drunk that I forgot I ruled the world. Then I learned that I'd been misinformed: What I'd taken to be my Irish half hailed actually from the north British borderlands. That's the beauty of America—you stay here a few generations, you forget where you came from, the old prejudices fade away, and you have to start hating people on their merits. But it really broke the back of my Jewish-Irish joke. I need to start working on a Jewish-Redneck one instead.

Anyway. I may not be a proper Irishman, but I join my Gaelic boss in wishing everyone a happy St. Patrick's Day. I offer these seasonal thoughts from my favorite Hibernian writer, Flann O'Brien:

JIMMY: …He says there's a whole crowd of people goin, some of them clever wans that writes books that say there was never anny Saint Patrick that it's all a yarn and a cock and bull story. There's another crowd that says that St. Patrick was a Protestant and thought nuthin of atin' half a sheep for his dinner of a Frida. Hah? But listen here, Ignatius. There's a couple of fellas in th'university that says all the dates about St. Patrick is wrong and furthermore—FURTHERMORE—that ther was TWO Saint Patricks. Can ya bate that? TWO of yer holy men from across the say!

IGN: Well, I suppose that means that we should have two St. Patrick's Days, two processions and two shell-outs of a tanner for a bit of shamrock. If y'ask me ya can have too much of a good thing.

JIMMY: And here's a good wan. The brother met an oul fella below in Wiekla town and yer man said straight out of that there was no Saint Patrick and that the whole yarn was invented by Strongbow or somebody. The brother asked him, if that was true, how come ther was no snakes in Ireland? Know what th'oul fella done? Laughed in the brother's face. Me dear man, says he when I was a young man settin out to make me fortune, I first emiograted to Australia. There was work to be had there but it was too hard and the grub was something fierce. With the result was I continued me travels to New Zealand. Ever heard tell of New Zealand? Right. I'll tell ya wan thing about New Zealand. There isn't a single snake in the whole place.

IGN: Is that a fact? Don't tell me there was a third St. Patrick that went out there? In a currach?

JIMMY: Well the brother checked on that in the National Museum and he gob th'oul fella was dead right. There's not wan snake in all New Zealand.

IGN: Well, that seems to be a vote against a genuine Saint Patrick in Ireland.

JIMMY: Now looks here, Ignatius. If there was no Saint Patrick, how do we know we're Christians at all? If there was no Saint Patrick we might be no different than the heathen Chinee.

If that's not to your taste, follow this link instead, courtesy of frequent Hit & Run commenter Warren Adams.