I was adopted and never had the burning desire to research my natural parents. I’ve always been fine with the fact that I was adopted, and my lack of desire to pursue the truth isn’t based on resentment — rather, the opposite: I’ve always assumed there was a good reason for what happened and left it at that.
When I was a kid, a lot of people guessed that I was German because of my platinum blonde hair and blue eyes — practically Hitler’s wet dream. But since my hair darkened around age six, the guess I hear the most is Irish.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve actually found myself drifting toward many Irish traits and products.
I definitely like to have a few drinks, and my beer of choice from the first time I tried it has been Guinness.
I love Irish whiskey — John Powers, Jameson, Tullamore Dew, Bushmills.
I took a liking to Irish music after initially playing it on jukeboxes to annoy a friend of mine who hated it, and I consistently listen to The Pogues (just saw them this past Friday), the Dropkick Murphys, Black 47, the Wolfe Tones, the Clancy Brothers, The Tossers, etc.
And I love the way the Irish express themselves. They always seem to find a nugget of humor, often self-depreciating, in the direst circumstances.
I was brought up Jewish, but my family isn’t very religious and, after my Bar Mitzvah, I pretty much dropped religion. I still consider myself Jewish, although I love to tweak people by telling them Yankee baseball is my religion.
I’m certainly not ashamed of being Jewish, and I’d never even think about converting to another religion, but I find religion in general, frankly, to be a gigantic bore, and nothing I’ve ever heard in a house of worship ever really moved me.
Yankee baseball being my religion isn’t that far from the truth, actually. I’ve been far more moved by Yankee rallies, Nets buzzer-beaters and Cowboys sacks of the opposing quarterback on third down than by anything from any religion. If this offends anyone, it’s not meant to, but that’s how I feel.
So is it strange that I feel so much more in touch with the Irish — which I may or may not actually be part of — than with the religion of my childhood? Is it weird that being at the Pogues show Friday night almost gave me a sense of pride, or that I’m extremely excited to go to the St. Patrick’s Day parade tomorrow, while nothing in religion has ever given me feelings like that?
Before anyone makes any suggestions about specific houses of worship, religions or whatever for me to try, please save your energy: It won’t work. At the age of 41, I’m not about to suddenly see the light and find inspiration in something that I’ve found to be nothing but a bore, a chore and a task for most of my life. Religions in general make no attempt to change with the times, and they’re not for me.
Writing this almost makes me want to find out if I am, indeed, of Irish descent. But after 41 years, I will more than likely leave things alone.
That being said, I will not feel the least bit guilty while I’m hoisting a pint of Guinness in a pub somewhere in Manhattan after tomorrow’s parade. I just wanted to get this off my chest, I guess.