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When Irish Eye’s Were Smilin’

     Of the many things that can be said about Buffalo, one of the truer is that there is no shortage of pride in being Irish.  Herein lies the tale of my personal journey from the rigid constructs of University sanctioned Hibernianism of the Irish SA to the unfettered pagan Celtic revelry of Mooneyism that led to the door of Comstock and beyond.  Pour yourself a glass of the greenest ale or stout Guinness, patiently wait for St Paddy’s day, and read this tale.                        

     By sheer force of coincidence, or perhaps divine malice, I found my employment first semester of freshman year making subs beside one Mr. Keith. Chris at the time was a jolly old soul, considered aged and decrepit by me at the advanced age of 28, but full of good humor nonetheless. While I enjoyed the idle banter at work, I became more intrigued by his persistent invitations to join the Irish Club on one of their weekly outings to Shirley’s O’Aces. Explaining my underage liability condition, he laughed and assured me not to worry. Not completely assured by the behemoth, I coaxed Knaus to also consider coming out despite his non-Irish heritage, as it had been explained to me that the green is in the soul, put succinctly by the Irish Club’s 100% Italian president.                        

     That first year was admittedly rather enjoyable as the group accepted Knaus and I as one of their own. We had weekly trips out to Shirley’s with Chris, Elvis (his real name was Pete something, but he was a ringer for Elvis Costello), Heather, Laura (our Italian prez), her brother Chris, Allison Barone, Wayne someone, and some others who’s faces, but not names, I recall. In addition, weekly meetings were held in Capen where we had stashed a bottle of Bushmill’s that was passed around at the conclusion. Occasionally we would have a beer fueled fund raising party or a field trip out to the South Buffalo Irish Center to hear the sounds of the auld sod and drink authentic Guinness and Harp black and tans, expertly poured and spoon divided.                       

     The penultimate experience that year was the highly anticipated horror classic, ‘The Leprechaun’. We were outraged, or for the sake of good press and liberal university standing, pretended to be. On opening day we made our way over to the Maple General Cinema 8, our homemade picket signs in tow, and marched loudly about the front, bitterly decrying the defamation brought to our noble heritage by the wee horror. That the supply of Bushmill’s was depleted once, and then again, in anticipation of the event I’m sure did nothing to enhance our image. While all local press had been contacted prior to the outing, all from the revered Irv Weinstein to the lowly slackers at Channel 2 declined to cover the event.                        

     The season end for any good Irishman is the holy day of St Pat. Freshman year it proved every bit as spectacular as one could expect. As the official representatives of the flagship of the SUNY system, the Irish Club was expected to make a proud and noble showing at the annual parade downtown. It was also imparted upon us to construct a most memorable float, and although the steering committee had been charged with the task since fall semester, we somehow found ourselves furiously working the very morning of the parade to prop up a half-ass and poorly painted Blarney castle on to the back of a trailer. Enticement was given to all in the form of screwdrivers.             

     In my own defense, I would like to make note of the fact that I had never had vodka previous to this event, and given what transpired, have eschewed it ever since. The screwdriver is an insidious drink in that it goes down very smoothly and has a powerfully delayed effect. I immediately noted the former, and not knowing the latter, thought them weak, and thus liberally drank my fill. I first noticed something wrong on the car ride down. From the back seat it appeared as though both Italian Laura and her brother Chris, who were kind enough to give me a ride, had sprouted additional heads. Numb, I didn’t think much of it until I tried to exit the vehicle and fell immediately to the pavement, skinning both knees. Looking up, I could tell it was going to be a beautiful day, and even more so if they would just be kind enough to let me lie.                       

     Somehow they managed to drag me to the staging area where I was grilled incessantly regarding my ability to march. A team player all the way, I vehemently affirmed that I could, and demonstrated by adding additional damage to my clothing and skin. There was some debate as to what to do with me and it was finally decided unanimously (as no one was willing to depart to run me home) to stuff me in the 18 inch wide space between the 2 walls of the float. The ride was bumpy and the incessant shouting as well as the cold (about 50 degrees and I wore only a sweatshirt) kept me from passing out. From time to time a face would appear to see if I still yet breathed. At the end, I was extracted, still the worse for wear, and handed over to my sister and cousin who had come to watch me march. For the sake of my pride and general welfare, I avoided the club for some months after.            

     As full of blarney and tempered good cheer as the ISA were, they did espouse the restraint and values expected of young university men and women. All hijinks and shenanigans fell well with those expected of the stereotypical collegiate types. Think ‘Beach Blanket Bingo’ vs. ‘Animal House’. I was soon to become acquainted with Bluto.            

     The first time I met Dan post high school, I was genuinely surprised to see him as I thought we already lived in the same suite. You see, I had seen Dan before, but only from the Wargames days in high school where I was under the mistaken impression that he and JP were the same person, given that I had never seen the two of them together and both had the same nappy haircut. As I can already hear the outraged cries coming from Carolina, let me clarify and say that my facial recognition abilities fall beneath those of even the lowest end software making the claim. I would be the one idiot fooled by Clark Kent. To put it in perspective, I once apologized to a woman who came to Comstock for not calling after I made out with her at a party several night prior (another story all together). She accepted and then admitted it was not her to my chagrin.              

     The first time Dan dropped by, I have no doubt it was for some gamer geek reason (A term I use at risk as the other contributors here like to be pretend to be elves on weekends. What are they going to do, smite me with a vorpal sword? Ha!) He came in with no introduction and immediately made himself comfortable. I was at my desk at the time trying to figure out how to glue my left nut to the wall. I looked back to see that Dan had taken his muddy shoes off and placed them atop my bed for safe keeping. I reacted politely that first time and asked him to remove them, which he did. Not 5 minutes later, I turned again to see he placed them on my pillow this time. My reaction was more forceful in this instance and I threw them off and warned him. This scenario repeated twice more until I was driven to a furious frenzy, primarily due to the interruption. My nut needed to be held in place for some time for the glue to take hold and Dan was making this task much harder than it needed to be. I flew at him in a rage, grabbed him in a headlock, and rammed him against the door, then out of it, slamming and locking it in his face. After 10 minutes of punishment time, I let him back in and we have been friends ever since.            

     I came to find that Mooney’s world was somewhat more ‘chaotic evil’ (a nod to the fuming g.g.’s) than that of the Irish Club and I soon began deliberately ignoring them in favor of the new. Granted, the ISA had whiskey and silliness, but Mooney’s world had Rocky, evil clowns, and strange characters with ridiculously well descriptive names. The tale of the clowns has been told and Dan himself will present on these denizens of his considerable social circle, hopefully including Ms. Tracy “In the Brown” Meme herself. Given the title of this article, however, I feel it necessary to bring up everyone’s favorite fucknut, Sean McMahon.             

     I have no idea where Dan found this guy and assume he was one of the illustrious M.O.H.’s both Dan and Dave Walsh claimed to be. He was an ignorant douche and the living stereotype one has of south Boston type Irish if one truly has a prejudice against them, but without the endearing ‘let’s go down to the Haavaad yaad and beat up some smaat kids’ accent.  The one time Dan brought him by, I recall him immediately setting in to giving JP a hard time regarding his orientation. Granted, JP’s coming out process had an irritating ‘in your face’ quality to it, but he was one of us and having an outsider come and harass him in his own home we considered unacceptable. Such a negative impression this cum stain made that even to this day we spit upon saying his name, like old Italian women who brought up the devil.            

     The only other instance he came into play is the time Dan brought Aaron over to his place for the apparent party of the century. Why the rest of us were not invited I do not know; perhaps it was the intense hatred of him we espoused. Aaron later related to me that they found Sean and some loser friend of his curled up on the couch in blankets watching old movies as he was expecting his parents to be home soon. In a classic Psycho move, Aaron before leaving managed to steal a goodly number of his father’s beers. It was later discovered and Aaron was banned from the premises for good and to our applause.            

     As the Ides of March in 1992 hit, St Paddy’s day was on us once again and we decided to have a dorm celebration. The celebration still to this day remains fresh in my memory even though it only involved cans of Schlitz, a bottle of green food coloring, and an endless repeat of the Pogue’s classic album ‘Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash’, played ad nauseum. As we didn’t have glasses, we made due by pouring the food coloring directly into the can, which may have defeated the purpose of visual effect, but was philosophically sound nonetheless. At one point someone found it amusing to empty the entire contents of the bottle into Dan’s half finished beer to the effect of coloring his mouth and the drool running down his chin a deep emerald green. The image of Dan dancing about the room to ‘The Sickbed of Cuculhain’ with big shit eating grin full of big green teeth will remain indelibly etched in my memory forever.             

     They say one Irishman is lonely sot and two is a fight. Truth be told, it was only a matter of time before there was a class of subcultures. Where the rest of the ISA drifted off to hither and thither, CK continued to come around well into the first year of Comstock. While most of the occasions were to watch Bill’s games on Knaus’s enormous 8 inch TV screen, he did make himself present for a party or two. While he and Dan never quite got along, things came to a head that fateful night when Carrie first donned her Chef Motherfuck hat and Dave crashed the Cavalier. Dan tells the story best in ‘The Most Obvious Thing’, but it was a land mark moment as I turned to watch CK’s pudgy fist slam into Dan, Dan’s head slam into the wall, and glasses go flying. It was a KO blow, and insurance that the two would never be in the same place at the same time again, and so ended by involvement with the organization, leaving CK to wander lost and adrift, until snared by his cultish church.


11 Responses

  1. I also had a case of mistaken identity. I thought Wolf and Mooney were the same person, and what’s more, I thought those two were the infamous “Booger”.

    To be clear to the casual reader, the left nut was a literal nut of the nut-n-bolt variety, that Wolf glued to his dorm wall with a sign indicating it was his “left nut”.

    My beer stealing was only hidden behind the counter with my semi-drunk ducking down. Dan spotted this immediately and quickly ran interference for me. When you team up with Dan it works marvelously, but like any drug it will burn you if you are a frequent user.

  2. Can anyone relate the story of the time Mike tried to dive into the bucket of vomit?

  3. The reason I didn’t introduce myself was because I thought you knew who I was. I guess I do make a strong first impression.

    I met Sean McMahon at ECC. He was friends with Wiz and Dale. I kind of lost touch with him, but I remember he was full of bullshit. Always lieing about something, but that’s an Irish trait. Dale got his PHD in Economics, and Wiz went out to work on a horse ranch in Montana.

    If you want I can include Tracy. I wasn’t going to, but that’s easy enough.

    I don’t know about a bucket of puke, but I remember when Mike ran over that girl’s foot after he dropped her off on a date.

  4. The first time I met Dale/Wiz the lead one was asking how many women we slept with and was laughing at any answer given, even when someone obviously lied and reported to have slept with 20+ women. I believe Dale said he had already slept with 50 women. It was his project to get ot 100 by year’s end.

  5. The dive you refer to is from the infamous ‘rum and coke’ party that was briefly mentioned in the Dark Pistacio story. I’ll do up a longer version at some point.

    The girl’s foot I ran over was Joanne Zemzal, a high school friend of Mary. She told me not to worry about it, so I didn’t. I don’t recall seeing much of her after that though.

  6. Aaron you’re thinking of Sean McManus. He was the one who claimed to have slept with over a hundred women. It was all bullshit.
    Five or six at most, I think.

  7. Are you saying there was a Sean McMahon and a Sean McManus? You were digging from the same pool apparently.

  8. I assumed they were one in the same, but now that I see Dan used both, I can only think that they are indeed separate entities. The pool from which they were dredged was not terribly deep.

  9. HEY! OLD and decrepit? why you no good so and so!! thought you could hide and I’de never find you??? I might have been old and decrepit, but I could sure as heck drink you lightweights under the table then and probably NOW! I’m calling you out wolf… I think shirleys is closed but you have my email address so I better hear from you.

  10. Hmmm… The real CK, or more likely a nefarious spammer? If the former, excellent! The fact that your name is mispelled in your email address makes me think the latter. Make your claim and I’ll get in touch. This should be easy, if you can answer these 3 questions:

    1. What nickname did my aunt give you?

    2. What street did you live on in the house that coincidentally had belonged to a relative of mine?

    3. Was is Joanne’s mom’s name?

    The real CK should be able to answer these with nary a pause, so let’s see…

    If it’s you, welcome back old hoss! Never you mind the insults herein, as this blog was designed to tell old tales in a humourous manner, doesn’t cast any of us in a positive light, and is delibratly provocative and name specific in the hopes of eliciting a respone from lost souls who stumble in while googling themselves and become offended.

  11. God this is tough… your aunt’s name was Kathy and she was a cook at norton, i can’t recall the nickname, unless Oh gods, “bunny”, I think like it would be nice if a bunny hoped through the kitchen and cleaned it up…I remember her best freind at Norton was a nice african American laady named Laverne.

    Not sure if I lived at 15 rounds when I met you ..I think I did. I’m old and the memory falters. if not I lived on shirley with wayne, pete and mike from the Irish club. wait now I remember skip down a bit where I explain…..
    joanne’s mom was the secratary at Norton, I can’t for the life of me rememebr her name, I do remember you had it for Joanne big time. Which given that she was tall thin and blonde was understandable, but she liked the bad boys. her boyfreind in particular. Though I tried really hard to help you hook up. But we could never get her drunk…..Her moms name is going to drive me crazy, she had like this big head of poofy so red it was almost copper hair, big Bills fan…

    lets see you’d remember the manager at norton, Sue wozniak, blonde lady always overdressed couldn’t work in the kitchen if her life depended on it. Big weave, “i’m BIG weave”

    hmm unless no I think I actually lived on lasalle I remember I had kathy over for a ouija board thing.. Cause someone died in the house, I think Kathys grandfather built the house..
    yeah it was definitly lasalle.

    I moved every year….and that time perios was an alchol soaked haze…

    I lost touch with you when I joined the church in 93, I’m out of it now… talk about a bad experience. Cult by the way is dead on. It took me a while But I got bounced from it… thrown out of a cult ahhh the shame. But it was ll for the best in the long RUN. I’m much happier now and much closer to the chris that worked next to you in Norton, I might be closer to going to Hell as a result, but no plan is perfect.

    If you remember elvis then you remember his girlfreind’s Heathers roomate? Aileen, who I dated for a short while.

    you remember the fight. DO you remember why I fought him? He put a cigar out in my drink. And ruined a running joke about how I’d only had one beer the whole night. Mostly cause I was talking to a girl he liked at the time. lets see other things… didn’t we call jason “puddles”… or was that someone else.

    I dropped the s out by accident and by the time I realised it it was too late. I had already cut and pasted it into too many places…..

    Oh I didnt take offense, by the way.. just shocked you remember me at all after all these years.

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