Please enjoy this personal story of mishap and foolery only St. Patrick could inspire.
A Black Irish Woman
Why would anyone add an extra “e” to the end of Green? It’s always seemed like an unnecessary variation of the original, but coincidentally the source of my long-time introductory bit, “Hi, I’m Erin Green — like the color.”
All in all, my name is spectacularly simple. It’s brief, aesthetically pleasing, and according to my mother, dummy-proof. I’d go as far as to call it unremarkable until the second week of March when green frocks and drunken buffoonery overrun the streets. I doubt St. Patrick prophecized being the patron saint of college bar fights; nevertheless, St. Patrick’s Day remains one of the most highly celebrated national holidays in Western countries.
Leprechauns threaten unfettered chaos, emerald currents ripple down The Chicago River, and amongst the onslaught of the Irish folklore and absurdities is a black girl from Texas named Erin Green. With Green being the holiday’s official color and Webster’s Dictionary defining Erin as “the poetic, literary name for Ireland,” it’s always attracted a small degree of fanfare.
Naturally, I chose to lean into the temporary limelight. In 5th grade, I wore my name like a pinch-proof suit of armor. I would confidently goat my classmates into arguments by exclaiming that I didn’t have to wear Green on St. Patrick’s Day because my last name is Green. Other years, I’d fix myself at the front of Shamrock parades, and by college, I was chanting “Erin Go Braugh!” while launching my padded push-up into a fraternity house living room. Like green beer and cheap whiskey, the novelty of the name eventually wore off, but only after leaving a lasting impression.
When I was 22, I occupied the smallest cubicle in the furthest corner of my office. The only people to visit my desk were other corporate plebes and the occasional Senior Executive mistaking my hovel for the trash chute. Somedays, the isolation was so agonizing I’d roam the floor looking for conversation…