By Dan Fitzpatrick
Many moons ago, my Irish forefathers set foot on American soil with nothing to their names except for a pocketful of dreams and a raging case of smallpox. Similarly, I landed in Ireland with nothing in my pockets except for a large wad of American dollars, utterly worthless in the Emerald Isle, and a lightly used iPhone 4, whose advanced electrical technology would only frighten the native savages and turn them against us. My wits were my only weapon in my quest to retake my ancestral homeland, or if necessary, flee the country within an inch (2.54 cm) of my life. Fortunately, I disguised myself as the combined form of Ireland’s most sacred figures–Bono and Sinead O’Connor–wearing sunglasses to charity events and ripping up countless photos of Pope John Paul II. I made friends everywhere I went. Then it started raining.
I hoped to find my lost family fortune in the cultural heart of Dublin, on the tour of the Guinness Factory. The brewery’s tour guide was an eccentric inventor similar to Willy Wonka, except that he often broke my piggy bank for beer money and beat me for no reason. It was basically a condensed version of my childhood (my sister was a drinker and a fiend). The management later asked us to leave after Joe and I stole the fizzy lifting drinks and stained the ceiling (with vomit and tears). Then it rained again.
If my dreams of conquest are to be realized, I must perfect my Irish mores and social skills. The most important thing I have learned on the subject is the national speech impediment, which leaves the islanders unable to maintain a consistent pitch in their speaking voices or pronounce multi-syllable words. Everyone here says the word “third” as “turd,” which would be hilarious if it was not already so very sad. This bleak reality demonstrates the Irish obsession of collecting and subsequently burning excrement, a compulsion that still lives on in members of my family today. Tragic. At least it’s not raining.
(Note: If you were to ask me about the second most important thing I have learned so far, it would be about the leprechaun vs midget dilemma: All leprechauns are midgets, but not all midgets are leprechauns. It’s like the square/rectangle thing. If I knew that before, then I would still have both pinky fingers. Those are some sharp little teeth, like a raccoon’s or something.)