St Paddy’s Day

I think everyone is a little Irish this week,

Except of course the Dutch. They don’t care about being Irish. I can make fun of them because they don’t care about that either:)

It’s funny how some countries of origin are known for different things, some of which are actually true.

My father’s side of the family are Dutch Mennonite which typically meant a hard working love of efficiency fed by meat and potatoes.

My mother’s side came from Irish roots and were a bit crazy. Fun, but crazy. Ate potatoes too.

I’m stuck in the middle of two opposing world views: Hard Work and Anything Else.

My Irish side thinks that’s hilarious because it is.

I inherited most of my temperament from my mother, meaning I’m quick to laugh, fight and laugh again all in about two minutes. There’s an artistic side that is always aware of the mood of a place and has the ability to wade into emotional waters with a sort of reckless humour that prefers trouble to boredom.

Some would call this complicated and others insane.

So.. sadly I’m suited to function in my current calling quite well, but we have fun… oh do we have fun!

In the recesses of my Gaelic mind, which is constantly poking fun at the ironies of the world in its self-professing cleverness, lies a very mature Dutch life outlook whose claim is “I AM having fun because work is fun!”

This sits at the seat of my sub conscious like a ticking bomb and its voice rarely wavers: “Corey, you didn’t DO enough today. Get it together man! Make a decision! Emotions are for children! Real men get stuff done!” Etc etc. My Dutch side is never truly happy unless it is proving the world wrong about things like “You can’t build a country on the sea”.

“Yeah? We’ll see about that!” (Irish is helping out with the word plays there but would rather not claim claim a country from the sea because that sounds like a lot of work. Dutch doesn’t have time for word plays because it’s actually claiming a country back from the sea).

My wife is half Dutch and my goodness she can be stubborn! I know all y’all are in the Erin Kope fan club, but you don’t even know… She’ll smile and dig her heels in and good luck to ye!

I’m half Dutch but not stubborn at all, rather a pliable, mindless human being if I do say so myself who just wants to get through life without a disagreement. A peace maker really.

None of that statement is true because A. I’m Dutch and stubborn (“Wooden shoes, wooden head, wouldn’t listen” said a Dutch guy I used to know), and B. I’m Irish and nothing I joke about is true EVER.

St Paddy’s Day is a celebration of the Irish. We normally head down to the Irish Cultural Society to listen to the amazing music, watch the incredible dance schools come through, and laugh at the quick witted humour heard throughout that can only be described as coming from “around the corner”.

Listening to an Irishman tell a joke is hilarious because the punchline is rarely obvious. The thing twists and turns and they hold you in the palm of their hand, wait for the right moment, make you wait for it just a little longer, and then smile just a little and say what they’d been hinting at the whole time and you were beginning to suspect was coming.

But it always comes around the corner. People who tell straight forward jokes are seen as too obvious and met with lidded eyes.

Most of the Dutch guys I used to work for had senses of humour, but the ones straight from Holland were VERY straight forward, and most of the time making fun of how what you just did on their farm would never claim it back from the sea, and would you please not charge them full price for it?

If you’re not Dutch you’ll take offence on their behalf but I’ll warn you that they’re more likely to take offence that someone would suggest they’d actually pay retail for something!

Ply a few pints into the Irish and they’ll pay whatever you want, but then proceed to talk you into selling them your prized horse for half of what it’s worth by applying their considerable powers of persuasion with an incredulous “Sure look at this old nag, aren’t I surprised and you lucky I’m offering you anything at all at all for something that’ll die on the ride home! Now buy me a pint while I talk you down even further on the price!”

This of course is irresistibly spoken with bright eyes and and a wink as they cheerfully burst into a cheerful song about the horrors of their ancestors being dragged from their homes and shot by the Black and Tans.

All the Irish revolution songs are cheerful and the love songs mournful. A complicated bunch, but perhaps much of their temperament was their way of adapting to the hardships of hundreds of years?

All that is far too serious of course and will be met with my favourite line from Michael Collins:

“Oh well do I remember that bleak December day the landlord and the sheriff came to drive us all away.

They set my roof on fire with their cursed foreign spleen…

And THAT’S another reason why I left old Skibbereen.

(Twelve more verses now:)”

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