I spent some time with a dear friend of mine last night. As the sun began to sink lower towards the horizon, constantly shifting the colors and feelings of the Irish landscape, we drove to a very special spot by the sea. If the retreat fills, this man will be our driver. But last night, I drove. He told me a story about a quick-witted conversation between some people. It went like this:
“Hey man, what’s up?”
“The ceiling.” (Man was being a wanker…see definition above)
“No, I meant what’s up your hole?”
Can you see the strange and wonderful genius in this? It’s scary how fast the Irish wit is. The first question was asked in a genuine way. When the second man replied with nonsense, the first question was easily twisted into a funny and jabbing return.
Irish people are fiercely independent in parts of their nature. They can spot lies and bullshit from a mile away. It’s uncanny. I won’t get into the why I think this occurs right now, I’ll let you mull over that one for yourselves. On a bad day their humor seems to be this magical and biting defense mechanism. On a good day? Be prepared to pee your pants with laughter.
I once heard a great quote that, having lived over here for a year plus, rings true:
“Irish diplomacy – the art of telling someone to go to hell in a way they’ll look forward to the trip…”
All of this laughter and wit and words got me thinking. Coming to Ireland (especially as an American) is like going into humor reform school. We, the offenders of slow wit, take on Irish tutors to help us grow and sparkle and jab with the best of them. It’s a slow process. But I’ll give you a tip on how to begin:
When you want to get angry at a situation, get funny instead. If you can’t think of a joke at least acknowledge that a joke could happen.
Here’s an example:
Two summers ago I was heading back to America from another 8 weeks spent in Ireland. I’d had an amazing time and was feeling relaxed and happy. As I waited in line to check my bags at the airport, a man in shorts and funny socks ditched me in line. There was an American couple behind me and at first I could just feel the woman’s irritation. Then she pointedly told me NOT to let him get away with it. Her irritation grew, but all I could think was, “Shit! I wish I could think of a joke right now.” I could feel my own smile growing across my face. And then the funniest thing happened. An airline attendant came over to help the next person and without hesitation took me and no one else.
Do you need a humor overhaul? Sign up for Retreat to Ireland 2016 and receive your very own wit mentor. Choose from a variety of shapes and colors. It’s no extra cost. Your family and friends will thank you. And most of all? So will I:)
Have you been to Ireland before? What was your sense of the Irish wit? Leave your stories and comments below! If you’ve got a good joke, go ahead and leave that too.