But, I’m Not Irish

17 Mar

Well, we all know what today is, don’t we? It’s the time to go searching for some article of green clothing, or jewelry, to make good on St. Patrick.

For me, though, this religious-turned-party-celebrating day holds a slight uneasy feeling, taking me back to my earlier elementary school days, where so many of my fellow students did, in fact, have Irish blood running through their pre-drunken veins. I, on the other hand, did not. Not even close. Mine were 100% Middle Eastern–Lebanese, to be exact. Heck, I wasn’t even Catholic. In fact, I was the Christian nemesis of Catholicism. I was an Orthodox Christian. (These days, I’m without the “Orthodox” part.)

While others, who may not have been truly Irish could pass as such, my Middle Eastern features denied me such access. The 60’s were not a time of multiculturalism acceptance. There were no banners, restaurants, or models (the human kind) to acknowledge such differences, let alone to celebrate them.

So, when I came to school wearing a small piece of Irish green, those of Irish decent glared at it…and then at me. How dare I attempt to represent. Laughing ensued, among other hurtful words. Once in college, these lines of demarcation dissolved. No one cared. It was a party free-for-all. And, I took full advantage of it. And, for years afterward.

These days, I look on St. Patrick with nary a bother. Sure, I like the idea of green. It’s close enough to usher in spring. I like looking at all the cute, green party paraphenalia and pretty, green foodstuffs. But, I’m not going to fool myself anymore in the idea of celebrating my “Irishness.” So, you all have your fun. Drink in the green river while you drink from your green beers and nosh on your green-colored foodstuffs.

I’ll be home, noshing on my naturally-green Mediterranean stuffed grape leaves. Although, Kaukab won’t approve. They’ll be coming from a can. Don’t I know it!?


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