It's that time of year again. Time to look back on the year that was and, more importantly, look ahead to the New Year.
In January of 2011, for example, I suspect that a slew of big-time Hollywood actors and agents are going to relocate from the sun and surf of California to the gritty streets of Boston.
After all, from Good Will Hunting and The Town to Gone, Baby Gone, Mystic River and The Fighter, there is a lot of gold to be found in the triple-decker house and Irish bars of every little Massachusetts burg from Southie to Lowell to Dorchester.
Of course, when all those Hollywood types get there, they may discover there’s not quite that many rugged Irish men and feisty Irish women as there used to be.
And that accent! Where’s that accent? They may feel the need to train the locals to talk more like the Boston Irish do in the movies, because they can’t seem to find that odd inflection anywhere on the actual streets of Boston.
Some of the new movie projects we can expect to come out of the Boston Irish Hollywood machine? A remake of It’s a Wonderful Life, with the Jimmy Stewart character now recast as a bank robber with a mean mother and heroin problem.
In February 2011, we can expect another shocking announcement from Pope Benedict. His holiness raised many eyebrows not long ago when he said that it might be okay for Catholics to use condoms in certain circumstances.
In 2011, look for the Pope to say that birth control, the death penalty, pre-marital sex and harmless white lies are also acceptable under certain circumstances.
The shocking thing about this announcement, of course, is that it puts the Pope in agreement with just about every Roman Catholic on the planet.
Right around St. Patrick’s Day we can expect a flood of new tape recordings from jolly old Richard Nixon. “Tricky Dick” is the gift that just keeps on giving.
This month we heard a bunch of old recordings in which, after bashing the blacks and the Jews and the Italians, Nixon had this to say: "The Irish have certain -- for example, the Irish can't drink. What you always have to remember with the Irish is they get mean.
“Virtually every Irish I've known gets mean when he drinks. Particularly the real Irish."
In the new 2011 tapes, Nixon goes on at some length about the distinctions between the “real” Irish and the “fake” Irish. The real Irish, according to Nixon, have lots of freckles and wear Aran sweaters, even in July.
The fake Irish? Well, to Nixon, that’s pretty much anybody named Kennedy. Or with big teeth.
Nixon, of course, was completely drunk at the time he said this.
Politics will also dominate the summer of 2011 when supporters of the DREAM Act introduce a new version of this bill, which presents a path to citizenship for immigrants who came to the U.S. at a young age and are now planning to attend college or enter the military.
Supporters make concessions, saying that these undocumented immigrants will now be required to serve three to five tours of duty in both Iraq and Afghanistan, after which they will be eligible for college financial aid. (Even though they may not survive the combat tours and will probably be in their 40s by the time they return.)
“We don’t want our illegal immigrants in college!” an opponent of the DREAM Act II will snarl.
“They came here knowing they’d be mowing lawns and washing dishes. If we wanted more college students in the U.S. we’d somehow make it more affordable for working class white kids to go to college!”
The DREAM Act II, will fall one vote short in the Senate, when a Democrat switches his vote at the last minute, claiming, “We simply didn’t want to make the Republicans mad.”
Finally, for all of the doom and gloom, the ties between Ireland and America will remain strong in 2011.
Given the terrible state of the economy in both nations, an Internet campaign will link the Irish on both sides of the Atlantic whose homes are currently in foreclosure. This way, Pat from Long Island can spend a few weeks in the home belonging to Danny from Sligo and vice versa. By the time the bank officials come knocking, they’ll both have moved on.
Happy New Year!
(Contact Sidewalks at [email protected] or facebook.com/tomdeignan)
The history behind “When Irish Eyes are Smiling”