Tuesday, February 12, 2008

With or Without You...I Got You, Babe.

This is one of those periods of drought....Holiday Drought, that is. After New Year's Day, my employer doesn't have another official holiday until Good Friday. So during this time of multiple calendar flips between now and when THE MAN tells me to stay home for a paid day of celebrating Rome’s preferred method of Capital Punishment from 2000 years ago, I have to focus on things that will keep me going. So, I am thinking about Ireland a lot.

In four months I will be in Ireland. I am interviewing for a Chaplain position with some company called the Ulster Defense Association. I am assuming they are some kind of Defense Contractor but I suppose I need to Google them and do a little research before I show up for the interview.

Okay...I'm not actually going for a job interview. I really just wanted to mention the UDA to see what kind of Google Traffic I get.

In June, Gail and I really are going to Ireland for a couple of weeks. However, we're not going alone. We have been planning this trip for a while and last year we were back home in Indianapolis, and I was talking to my best friend (Matthew) and his wife (Marikay), and I said, "Ya know, if you guys didn't have all of these kids you could go with us. But you guys can’t leave your kids for two weeks.” Immediately there was the stereophonic sound of Matt and Marikay saying, “We’ll go!!!!!!!!”

So in June, I am not only headed to Ireland with my lovely wife Gail, but I get the pleasant company of Matthew and Marikay, too. Now, Gail travelled to Europe with me once back in 1998, but Matt and Marikay do not have even that much European travel experience. So I have developed a plan whereby our little group of four will be able to visit the Emerald Isle and get an especially good dose of the local flavor and perhaps get a true picture of life in Ireland. I think that if we embrace the Irish culture and truly become Irish for those two weeks, we will be able to seamlessly blend into the Irish population.

I’m going to explain my idea by giving you a glimpse of how a typical conversation in an Irish pub might go as the four of us sit down to dine with the locals. Here is the plan:


Oh, no, sir. The four of us are not swingers….at least not yet. Let me introduce the group. These are our friends Matthew and Marikay, this is my lovely wife Gail and I am Bono. Just Bono...nothing else. Just a stagnant pause after that first and only name. Just Bono __(pause)___________,

My wife, Gail was originally a Baine, but when we married she took my name so now she is Gail __(pause)___________, For a while she hyphenated and went by Gail Baine-__(pause)____, But she gave that up because it seemed a little pretentious. (The hyphenating seemed pretentious...not the pompous attitude of only using one name.)


Is that brilliant, or what? At first I thought that Matt and I would each go by Bono during the entire 11 days we are in Ireland, but that might seem contrived or fake to the natives if our group had two Bonos, so we have decided that only one of us will go by Bono per day. On the odd number days, I will be called Bono, and on the even number days, Matt will be Bono.

Personally, I have decided that on my non-Bono days I am going to go by the name Seamus Americus, which will show my willingness to embrace the Irish culture while maintaining ties to my roots back here in the States. Matthew, it is your choice if you want to use a travel name on your non-Bono days. Perhaps you could use the moniker of the greatest Irish singer of all-time (or of 1972 anyway)...Gilbert O'Sullivan.

I informed Gail of this plan tonight and now she wants to go by Sinead for the entire trip. So, when we check into the fancy hotel I think I’ll have to use our real names, but as soon as we ditch the luggage, we’re going to hit the town…just a couple of local, native Irish couples: Seamus, Sinead, Bono, and Marikay.

I think this is a brilliant plan. The natives will never expect we’re a bunch of Yanks come over to enjoy their 19 hours of Irish Sunlight per Day.

‘Hello, my name’s BONO, and I would like a table for four.”

“Taxi-man. My name’s BONO, and we’d like to go to a place that serves either Budweiser or Pabst Blue Ribbon.”

Blend right in…

With the trip less than four months away, I have started to focus on pronunciation, because for the last 22 years I have pronounced the name of the U2 guy like the last name of Sonny and Cher. So, I have to fix that before I get over there and start using that as my given name.

Because one thing I know…after years of traveling internationally… avoid at all costs coming off as an Ugly American.


Al R said...

To complete the illusion, you're going to have to find a pair of yellow tinted goggle/sunglasses that he wears. Oh yeah, and do some kind of humanitarian thing while you're there.

You may also want to get a couple of tee shirts made up....some with the pope on the front and some sporting a nice action image of Martin Luther, just to cover all your bases....

Jason said...

Good luck with that... How's your accent coming?

Casey said...

I'm so jealous. I was last in Britain two years ago and I'm having withdrawals.
The Guinness is WAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYY better there. So you must, of course, drink your weight in it everyday.
Otherwise, they'd know you weren't Irish.