Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Luck of the Irish?

It’s St. Patrick’s Day—the day when everyone pretends they are Irish, and that the Irish are lucky! But in reality, the Irish are far from fortunate.

Not lucky? Not if you count:
  • thousands of years of invasion from other countries;
  • the famous potato famine of the mid-1800s;
  • the latest and most pervasive of all 21st century misunderstanding: the apostrophe!

How is punctuation unlucky? It seems there is an innate bias against the Irish which stems from technology. Many computer programs won’t recognize the apostrophe, which is present in many Irish names.

And even more unfortunate (and scary) is that there are people who don’t even know what an apostrophe is. Kris learned this the hard way after marrying into the O’Shea family, when she called a company to make a reservation:

And what is your name?
Can you spell that?
Sure, O ' S h e a.
O ' S h e a.
Did you call last week?
Um. No.
How do you spell your name?
O ' S h e a
The comma that floats in the air.
You mean a hyphen?
No. Just put OSHEA. O S H E A.
Oh, Osheeee-ah. Is that Japanese?

When Irish eyes are smiling, it’s because someone remembered the apostrophe. Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

Humorous Motivational Speakers Tim and Kris O'Shea help organizations deal with change through relevant business humor. To learn more about these convention speakers visit To learn how to bring The O'Shea Report into your meeting or convention, please visit or call 303-371-2849. Copyright 2010 Tim and Kris O'Shea.


john said...

My favorite part of St. Patrick's Day is that the general public associates Irish culture with drinking, and celebrates Irish culture by getting HAMMERED! Because, you know, that's what we Irish do all the time, we get frickin' HAMMERED!

Yours truly...HAMMERED!
John O'Shea

SusanMcDixon said...

Hysterical (and sad)! How about having to spell McGillivray your whole life? "That's M C - G I - L L I - V as in victor - R A Y." And then when they manage to write McGillivary I'd have to say, "No, V R as vroom." "Ohhh."

Then I married and took on the name Dixon, which is a British reduction of Dickson (from "son of Dick"). I thought I was simplifying my life, but I've found that I still have to spell the word and repeatedly stress "X and only X" (not X S) otherwise I can't be found "in the system" because Dixon is too simple. It must be Dickson or Dixson or I'm lying to them about my existence. Sheesh!

Actually, I am 3/8 Irish, 3/8 Scottish, 1/8 German, 1/8 Belgian, and 1/2 Canadian. I guess that means that the sum of my parts is greater than me. {:-[

John said...

I've given up. On the census question about name occupation, I wrote that I was a Samurai warrior named

John Oshea