ConstantCommentary® Vol. I, No. 1, **Greatest Hits** 1997-1999

So Sue Me . . .

by Mike Jasper

Ireland's the Mexico of Europe

I'm only half white. The other half? Irish.

"You're not Irish, you only wish you were Irish," my buddy Sean barked at me one day. Sean's a real Irishman, born and bred in Dublin. Like so many others before him, he came to America to seek his fame and fortune, just like a Canadian would.

"You're American, a fuckin' American," he said. "America's been around for over 200 years now. Get used to it."

I glared at him. "Right. I only wish I were Irish. I only wish I lived in the most sexually repressed country in the world, where civil war is a way of life, where kids get to live with their parents until they're 30, where the economy's so bad that Yankee-hating fucks like you have no choice but to move to the States."

That's what I wanted to say. Instead I asked him, "Sean, how many times do you masturbate in a day?"

He turned beet red, downed his Guinness, muttered "Fuck off," and walked to the other end of the bar. If you ever want to stop an Irish-Catholic boy dead in his tracks, just mention masturbation. Works every time. Irish-Catholic guys will talk all night long about fucking their women or getting head in the back seat of an Oldsmobile. But masturbation? That's a straight-to-hell sin.

When I lived in Sebastopol, California (north of San Francisco, for the geographically curious) I used to hang out at a bar called Jasper's (no relation) where I often drank many beers with three Irish expatriates: Sean, Mullen and Eddie. Both Sean and Mullen considered themselves political militants, and both were musicians hoping to strike it rich in the States. At the very least, they wanted a steady gig.

Eddie didn't harbor any such plans or convictions. As far as I can tell, Eddie came to America to drink Southern whiskey and fuck California girls.

Sean supported himself by working as a counselor for wayward boys (no doubt preaching against the sin of self-abuse), while Mullen worked as a waiter at Jasper's. Since his visa had expired, Eddie took any construction job he could get, as long as the company was willing to pay him under the table. (Little known fact: After Mexicans, the Irish are the biggest group of illegal aliens in California.)

"Jasper," Eddie asked me one day. "Do you think I'm in danger of being deported?"

"Naw," I said, taking a swig of beer. "You just keep on not being Mexican and I'm sure the government will leave you alone."

Sean didn't have to worry about getting his visa renewed. He had a system. Every six months or so, he'd go up to Canada, get his passport fixed, then re-enter the United States. He played that game for about five years.

Mullen didn't care about getting his visa renewed. He was going to stay in the country one year and either get a recording contract or head back to Dublin and resume his day job as a city clerk. Like Sean, he had a problem with Americans of Irish descent calling themselves Irish.

"You know, every time I wait on a table someone will hear my accent and ask if I'm Irish. So I always ask them what nationality they are. They usually say Italian, German, French or whatever. Today, for the first time ever, I had someone tell me, 'I'm American.'"

"And you think that's good?" I asked.

"I do," Mullen said.

"Look, cheese dick. If you want to understand America you should understand this: We're a young country and since many of our forefathers immigrated to America within the last 100 years, we tend to relate to our great-great-grandparents' nationality. It's a very American thing to do. Only Native Americans can say they're American and mean it, although they're more likely to say they're Cherokee or Iroquois or Pomo or whatever. The kind of asshole who says, 'I'm American,' is the same asshole who wouldn't hesitate sending a stealth bomber to Dublin and blasting the fuck out of it, should oil ever be discovered there."

That's what I wanted to say. Instead I just asked him, "Mullen, do you masturbate with your left or right hand?"

St. Patrick's Day at Jasper's was the biggest money night at the bar, even bigger than New Year's Eve. I hated both holidays. Those were the nights I'd lose my bar stool to some social-drinking fuck in a party hat. But I usually showed up in the early evening to sip a green beer before going home and drinking myself into a stupor.

On one such St. Patrick's Day -- 1989 I think -- I started to leave the bar when Sean called after me.

"Mike, you work for the newspaper, right?"


"Do you know a columnist there by the name of Larry Murphy?"


"Well, last year he wrote some things about the Irish and I made a bomb threat and sent him an anonymous letter saying his family would be killed if he ever wrote about Ireland again."

"No shit? Can you make another bomb threat? I could use a day off."

"I'm serious. I've been feeling guilty ever since. He probably has a wife and kids and I have no right scaring him like that."

"Naw, he's gay, but I get the point. What did he write about, anyway?"

"He wrote how Ireland's a violent country and how we all hate each other."

"And you responded with a bomb threat?" I laughed.

"I can see the irony," Sean said. "Anyway, can you tell him that I didn't mean it? That is, without telling him who I am?"

"Yeah, I can do that. Besides, he's Irish... ahhhh... he has an Irish name, so he's probably sympathetic."

"Good on ya, Jasper," he said.

That was one of my last conversations with Sean. A couple of weeks later, he and Mullen moved back to Dublin. Sean moved in with his parents and Mullen resumed his clerk job.

Eddie? He's now an American citizen. He sneaked in under some special illegal-alien amnesty bill a few years back. When asked, he still refers to himself as Irish.

Fuckin' American.

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STANDARD DISCLAIMER: This column aims to be funny. If you can read anything else into it, you're on your own.