Posted by CahirO at 3/17/2009 11:45 PM EDT

My partner recently informed me about a surprising habit I have. Every night, as I clear my thoughts and prepare to settle in for sleep, I’ll often say something startling.

If I was American I expect I’d probably mention an inspiring scene I witnessed during the day. But I’m Irish, with a distinctly Irish purview, which means, yes, a tendency toward melancholy, so instead I’ll say something like this:

Did you read about that little Thai girl who had her head snapped off by the 30 foot crocodile?
For two weeks, unknown to me, my partner kept a secret diary of my nighttime offences, reading them all back to me over a glass of merlot at the weekend.

It was enormously humbling to hear, all this recorded flotsam, served back to me by a livid Yank. I learned, for example, that I mention famous Nazi atrocities as casually as other people discuss their lunch options.

Other examples of my nodding off reveries included the night I mentioned how every minute at least three people are killed by electricity. I have a marked tendency, I was informed, to ruminate on the horrors of the Reformation. One evening I even wondered aloud where Nancy

Kerrigan was now and if she winces when she reads her name in print?

What to do about this? Laugh, probably. If you’re Irish and you’re reading this you’ll probably feel a twinge of recognition.

I don't think there's any point in being Irish, said Daniel Patrick Moynihan somewhere, if you don't know that the world is going to break your heart eventually.

That awareness is as central to the Irish existence as breathing. We just don’t notice until others point it out.

And oddly enough, they’re never Irish.