Okay, this one could be interesting today. We are Americans, or at least the majority of us tuning into this are. There are a few readers out there from Italy, Ireland, Persia, Thailand, the Philippines, so it’s very American to think the world revolves around the U.S. of A. Well I’ve been to a few places around the globe…and spoiler, it doesn’t. The globe is an interconnected grouping of cultures and ethnicities where daily I believe we are more alike in our human experiences than different, despite politics, despite ethnicities, despite cultures. Stay with me here.
At this point you probably want to know, Z&Me’s heritage. It’s important isn’t it? Maybe, maybe not so much. So as far as I know, I’m not unique and also wholly unique. I think you poll any American and we are mostly Heinz 57 Mutts. A mixture of all these things. Just go to 23 & Me or so many services that are willing to have you send them a mouth swab or what not and bam….you get a report back on where all your DNA came from. Mine? I’ve never done it but my Bro the Salty One, Benjamin Clayton Swinney, has. For the most part the Swinney-Johnson clan is some parts, Irish, Nordic, English, and then there’s some Chickasaw Native American tribe thrown in there for good measure. Just like the majority of Americans, all these things. And this is a political thing…but it was hard for me to understand how we have treated immigrants the last 4 years when we are a country founded by immigrants. Seems like all that statue of liberty and Ellis Island stuff only applied to those of European-American descent? It’s something that has been glossed over at the highest levels or our national government, so seriously wtf???
So a personal story. I grew up thinking our clan was mostly nordic. I don’t know why this is such but it’s what I thought. Maybe the Johnson’s are a Viking name, I dunno? But if I was a more self-aware individual I would have done the homework…. okay there are some Riley’s there, some Swinney’s, a whole lot of Johnson’s…yep American, Mutt, Heinz 57. It should have been glaringly obvious. But this really wasn’t terribly important to me. It didn’t affect my daily life. And then adulthood happened. And then fatherhood happened. With my first son, Connor Ryan Swinney, we called Ma Swinn and Pa James Clayton Swinney from the delivery room.. hey folks, you now have a grandson. Sure he is tiny, sure he needs to stay here in the NICU for a bit in California and yes, eventually you can visit… but the point is, his name is Connor Ryan Swinney. Dad: “Great son, you’ve named him after our Irish heritage.” Me: “What to the what???? I thought we were nordic american and all, wtf, Dad???” Me: “You know Connor sounded cool, it translates to the “lover of hounds,” we like dogs…it works. And Ryan of course after Nolan Ryan, greatest pitcher for the Texas Rangers, it makes sense, nothing to do with the Irish!!!” But still our name is Swinney and all that Sweeney Todd business, you know… The Fleet Street Demon Barber. Dad… please tell me that’s not our lineage. For the sake of the Lucky Charms character, we aren’t related to that crazy hair cutter Sweeney Todd are we? Dad: “Don’t worry son, we are all good.” Thank the Good Lord up in Irish-American-Native-American Heaven!!!!!
So what’s the point to all this? That’s a good point actually. Is this just some Irish-Native-American-American rambling? Is this someone that succumbs to all the stereotypes. Bottle of Jameson’s Whiskey and some other brand of Fire Water in the other hand….just waiting for governmental handouts on the Rez and forming some kind of Gangs of New York/Luck Charms/NYC Policeman sorta thing?Those are the stereotypes right? Reinforced by Hollywood and our perceptions of those two sub-cultures. Okay, since I specialize in the random, go ahead and listen to this, before the discussion turns serious again and we seek a wrap-up, a conclusion.
Okay, on this Saint Paddy’s Day…what do we do? We wear green, we try not to get pinched. But Saint Paddy is a Saint right? So there must be something more to it than the Lucky Charms guy? There’s a million of memes out there on why the Irish don’t get offended by Lucky Charms when us Native Americans take offense to the Washington Redskins. It might be too much to think about and the “offense” society may have given way to what made the ascendency of someone so anti-PC like Donald Trump to gain the throne. That’s the dark side of America’s struggle with race and ethnicity. We don’t like to think about it or talk about it….but the truth is…. we better, or we get some other divisive figure like Trump in the future and end up with everyone fighting everyone else over racism and what not. You think that’s a dystopian view? It’s not. It, I feel, is more pragmatic and something that was not too far off happening in the land we love, the land we call America. Without open discourse, kindness, respect, and the valuing of the “other” I fear we are doomed. Just my Irish-Native-American-Nordic-American-Mutt-Heinz-57 take on things. I suspect, dear reader, you are much like me. Our commonalities, greater than our differences.
So Saint Patrick is so much more British than Irish and was actually slaved by the Irish. What to the What? If you haven’t figured out the way of the 999 Good Things to click on the pictures and the Heading that goes with them….here it is: watch this Ma Swinn: Saint Patrick.
So let the rambling cease. Hopefully you’ve found something of use and interesting here. The bottom line is, we are all different and unique. We are all bound by the commonality of the human experience. On this day, can we realize that we are all connected and bound together in kindness, despite all the darkness about. The Irish and Lucky Charms… a good thing???