It is sad to consult the Google top trends on the eve of St. Patrick's Day. There are four Irish entries in the top twenty, not unexpected on the eve of the big day for 40 million Irish Americans.
Alas, one is for leprechauns and three are for recipes for corned beef and cabbage, soda bread and Guinness cake.
Is that really all we have to contribute to America? No, not really. For every forlorn plastic leprechaun in a shop window there is a living, beating vibrant Irish culture out there that has nothing to do with little green men.
I urge Irish Americans to go out and discover it, not to accept the drive-by version of their heritage on St. Patrick's Day of all days.
Read an Irish book. Colm Toibin's 'Brooklyn" a novel about a lonely woman from Ireland emigrating to America in the mid 1950s is a great place to start. It will give you extraordinary insight to the emigrant journey that some of your ancestors from whatever era faced.
Listen to Irish music. Not the canned stuff from Celtic Woman or the drunken warbling of "Danny Boy" but the stuff that lifts the heart and seizes the soul. Start off with Bill Whelan's majestic score from "Riverdance" and see if you can't stop a toe tapping, or a foot pounding or your heart beating a little faster.
Watch an Irish film. No, not the awful "Leap Year," but an Oscar-winning classic like "My Left Foot," the autobiography of Christy Brown, one of the most-inspirational stories from any culture.
Read a poem. Not the awful shamrockery limericks which plague us this time of year, but pick up some poetry by W.B Yeats or Seamus Heaney and experience your heritage and history through their eyes.
Help is on the way for us to find a much more complete view of our culture. The Irish government announced today a huge effort to recolonize the arts in America. In 2011 in a dozen cities or so a huge Irish invasion of art and culture and music and song will take place. Think of it as an Irish Lollapalooza.
Above all think of it to as an opportunity to get to know ourselves a little better and appreciate what we have.
I look forward to the day the Google trends will show a Heaney poem or a Whelan creation at the top of the Irish list. The goodness of that will last year round. The plastic leprechaun goes back into his box the day after the "Wearing of the Green."
Happy St. Patrick's Day.