Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Jameson v Bushmill

This is my friend Rich Cronin. 

In addition to attending Catholic High School, he graduated from the University of Notre Dame. He hails from a very large family in Chicago. I believe he has 14 sisters and 23 brothers, five of whom are priests, three of whom are nuns. I forgot which ones reside in Vatican City. 

Rich is to Irish Catholic, as I am to Jewish.

He is also one of the funniest people I know on the planet. And has wisely mined his gift of humor into a wildly successful career, spearheading Nick at Night at its inception. And was also the former CEO at GSN, which used to be located within 1/2 mile of my house.

To fully appreciate his daring sense of humor and can-do fortitude, he once staged a mock election debate in the parking lot of GSN headquarters between Gary Coleman and adult film "star" Mary Carey. 

You can read about it here.

Rich makes me laugh until it hurts. So naturally he wanted to do what he could to bring some of that joy into my life. And what makes for greater joy than a night of drinking wildly expensive scotch and bourbon-- thanks again to all my friends who have filled my liquor cabinet to the gills.

As we sipped our various whiskeys, I sprung the news on Mr. Cronin that I was not exclusively Jewish. In fact, thanks to the good folks at 23andme, I discovered that my roots in Glasgow extend across the North Channel linking the North Atlantic and the Irish Sea. More specifically some of my DNA sprang forth from Donegal County and Cork. 

Shockingly, Cork is also where Rich's family hails from. I think that's what he said or it might have been,

"Let's pop the Cork on that Macallan." 

Who knows, by that point in the evening we had both been self-overserved.

In any case it led to an interesting discussion about Irish Whiskey. 

Rich told me the story of an American couple touring Northern Ireland and walking into a pub full of colorful locals who were already three peats to the wind. In accordance with the maxim "when in Romans do what the Irish do", the unknowing couple ordered some Bushmills. Well, the bartender was aghast. And the patrons all turned in unison to lay some serious stinkeye on the Protestant bastards.

In Ireland, there are two brands of whiskey, Jameson and Bushmills. 

Jameson is distilled in Southern Ireland, which is predominately Catholic, while Bushmills is owned by Diageo Beverages based in English and therefore associated with colonialism, Neanderthal dentistry and people who drink with their pinkies extended.

How fucked up is that? 

People from the same country, the same culture, the same religion (albeit different branches of Christianity) can find fault and fight over a magical elixir that can actually make us sing together, laugh together and enjoy the best life has to offer.

That's meshugana.

Let's just say, you'd never find two Jews squabbling about their preferred brand of Slivovitz. Or even seltzer. 



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