Sheltered from the rains of Seattle, away from the nipping cold of the Wintertime drizzle and cumulonimbus that always hangs like sheets over that fucking "emerald" city - a grand bazar of a time was happening in the Maddison Ballroom of the Renaissance Hotel, just off the I5 exit on Maddison and 5th. It was a recruiting event for the United States Department of State, and I was wearing a pair of jeans and a tee shirt that said nothing but the words 'Done Adulting for Today' in big block capital letters.

Of course, the long-haul riders, the twenty year veteran careerist fucksticks at Passport control - they informed me that I fit right in, but, as one of the Consular Officers informed me in a hushed whisper;

"This whole damn time I thought you were in the CIA - none of them bother to dress up either. Yeah, you fit right in."

It was September 15, 2016, and I was 23 years old. I wasn't in the CIA, but I also knew that I wasn't trying to impress anyone, I was there for the experience more than anything else.

When the Keynote speaker for the evening, Undersecretary Patrick F. Kennedy, finally managed to get me off to the side over my bites of ballroom catering - he asked me what turned me on in politics, and my response was admittedly way too fucking cliché:

"I want to help save the world."

I know, ew, gross. I feel like a child said those words. But I don't think the notion is itself immature. The sentiment might actually sum up the entirety of my existence. It's why I joined the military. It's why I am interested in politics. Why I write books and do podcasts and even this shitty blog; I think that I have something interesting to contribute to the world other than only prose.

Everything that I do - everything that I've done up till now has been an effort to UNDERSTAND the human condition - what makes people do what they do, what makes them tick - and tock, and what makes shit happen.

His response?

"I hate to throw you at another agency, but you've got the wrong idea. We don't do that. If that's what you really want, I'd say the Peace Corps or USAID. They need diplomats, and they do try to save the world."

I've thought about that conversation damn near every day since.



I'm a Princeling.

That's what I've been told my whole damn life. Not sure what the hell it means to be the dispossessed Prince of a country that's firmly in the grips of its 106th year of Independence from the Monarchic system. But other than a good line, it means nothing. Completely nothing.

I was speaking with an old Celt, played the harp no shit, and sang songs in Irish Gaelic to ignorant foreigners. My fifteen year-old brain couldn't work the numbers properly.

"So, you're telling me that... there are like six times as many people in America that call themselves Irish... than there are people in all of Ireland?"

"Something like that, surely," the old dude said.


So, it makes me think about how Irish anyone is anymore. My family came over here during a fucking famine, and no one could ever fault them for it. America was big aplenty for anyone willing to fight for that shitty idea of Manifest or whatever, and Ireland was dying.

But... it makes me wonder. Did my family ever want their children to return? To reclaim their ancestral homeland?

I'm only me right now. I've not got a wife, or children, or too many commitments that can't be recommitted elsewhere. Not sure what I'm thinking with any sureity, but I am thinking - about something - for sure.

Am I Irish? Am I allowed to even call myself Irish? Or am I just another fucking American, ancestors be damned and that's the end of it?

"This sense of a plural identity is one in which millions of us have, and I'm one of those. And I've always thought it's fascinating that in this age, the phenomenon of collossal mass-migration has really changed our relationship to ourselves. The way in which we define and create ourselves." - Salman Rushdie, 2010