Wednesday, April 12, 2006


What do I identify as? Heritage-wise, nothing. I don't care enough about any cultural partition to be thought of as that. With today being the first day of Passover, and coinciding with this story in today's Times, there seems to be a lot of thought in the world today about "what you are."

My boss took the day off to observe. Of course, tomorrow he'll go back to eating bacon oyster cheeseburgers, so you see how far his piety travels. But, he offers, "This is a big one. You have to observe it." And then, you have my father-in-law's take on hearing the boss took off today: "For that bullshit?" I prefer the latter Judaic outlook, myself.

Everywhere I peek, someone is wrapping themselves in some intangible cultural signifier. "I'm Irish-Catholic." I'm Roman-Catholic, Italian from Brooklyn." "I'm Brian Dennehy." "I'm West Indian." "I'm Trinidadian." So what? What does that do for you? How's that whole Ukrainian thing working out? Do you get some sort of special password to drink free at Samovar? Why do you care so much where grammy and grampy came from? Don't the goddamn labels just divide and cordon people off into ever smaller populations? Why do we have the instinct to do that?

My families come from Italy, Ireland, and Poland. And I don't give a fuck. I don't think of myself as Italian-American, Irish-American, or Polish-American. I am, however, a tremendous jackass -- and that's the only signifier that matters to me.