Monday, March 17, 2014

The Scots-Irish Leprechauns

Did you know that there are more people of Irish descent living in the United States than there are in Ireland? Here's a map showing the places in the United States with the highest concentration of people claiming Irish heritage:

via The Washington Post
This explains why I assume that everyone (except me) is Irish. Where I grew up, everyone is Irish. It's funny that even though I lived around all those Irish people it wasn't until I moved to chartreuse-colored Georgia and had kids that I learned about the St. Patrick's Day leprechaun. Just in case you've miraculously missed out on this addition to the ways-to-make-overtaxed-parents-even-crazier department, I will explain. The St. Patrick's Day leprechaun is brought to you courtesy of the people who adore Elf on the Shelf and need a mid-year fix. Your leprechaun materializes on St. Patrick's Day eve, trashes the house, dyes your toilet water green, sprinkles glitter hither and yon and creates a mess that you'll still be cleaning up when you reach for you first Guinness at noon.

Monday, March 10, 2014


As soon as the daffodils start poking through the ground here in Georgia, the calls start. "Call from RUT-A-JERS," says our caller-ID lady in a flat monotone. "Call from Anne Marie." Who's Anne Marie, I wonder and then glance at the phone. Oh, Emory. I usually let the first few of these calls go because I know what they want. First, the pretense of checking to make sure my contact information is still the same, then the gracious thank you for my previous gift, and then the real reason for calling, hitting me up for more money. "I see you gave $100 last year. Would you care to bump up your donation just a bit to $10,000?"

I'm not sure what got into me lat week, but when "Rut-a-jers" called, I decided to answer. I spoke to a junior named Carmine. Sometimes the callers ask you about yourself: (Caller: "I see you majored in English, do you work in that area?" Me: "Yes, I speak English every day"), but Carmine was all business. He also said "you know" so many times that I wondered if he was playing a drinking game with someone in the call center who had to do a shot every time he uttered the phrase. Trust me, if this were the case, his friend would be dead. He also said, "I see you live in DECK-A-TUR, Georgia," which is fine because there's no reason that he should be able to pronounce Decatur correctly. But New Jersey is so full of towns with weird names (Paramus, Piscataway, Ho-Ho-Kus, Parsippany, Hoboken, Weehawken, Moonachie) that it's funny to hear someone struggle with Decatur, which is pretty much pronounced the way it looks (aside from the long "a"). Despite Carmine's less than suave delivery, I ended up donating to Rutgers because, well, for kids like Carmine who could use a decent communications class before they hit the working world.

Not to be outdone, Emory called the next day and I got to talk to Meredith, a freshman at the college. Bless her heart, Meredith was just about everything that Carmine was not. She was so chatty that I started to worry that she hadn't made any friends at school. She asked what I missed about law school. (My answer: Great professors, being in an academic environment. Truth: Going to a bar after my last exam.) She asked what activities I was involved with at Emory. (My answer: Activities weren't really common among law students, but I did work on a journal. Truth: I worked on a third-rate journal and was a functioning alcoholic.) Why did you decide to go to law school? (My answer: You learn skills in law school like critical thinking and persuasive writing, that are useful in any job. Truth: Why did I go to law school?)

I blame Oprah.