“…that I overlooked beFORE!”
So begins a classic, Irish tune that’s about as well known as… well? Most classic Irish tunes. Like “Danny Boy” and “The Unicorn Song,” it has a distinctly Irish feel to it and as many of you reading this know (and a few maybe don’t), I am… somewhat Irish. I’m not sure about HOW much Irish I am because I’ve never had my DNA tested. My guesstimate is somewhere between 50-65% based on a number of factors, including how I look and what my parents and relatives are. So… we’ll just go with SOMEWHAT Irish and leave it at that.
Still? I was raised Irish by my Irish loving Mother, and songs like the two, above mentioned ones and the one that doubles as the title of this blog entry/piece of Mental Flatulence are not only a part of my heritage, but a part of my life, growing up as a pear-shaped little outcast turned less-pear-shaped Staffing Coordinator/writer/self-published author. And a few moments ago, I went outside because I needed some air. And low and behold! What did I see when I looked down but a f*cking four leaf clover. I sh*t you not, friends, for you are and always have been my favorite turds. Insert groan HERE.
To be honest? I haven’t seen a four leaf clover in years. I can’t remember the last time I did, only that I did, and it was… not exactly a life-altering experience, but a pretty cool one. I remember that I was a kid when it last happened. I used to sit on my lawn in J-Town, looking through every, individual blade of grass, weed AND standard, three leaf clover to see if maybe, JUST MAYBE I could get lucky and find one. And the one time that I did, I remember calling excitedly for my Mom, and being answered with silence. That’s not a knock on Mom. She was likely doing something in the house, or napping after a long couple of shifts at the multiple jobs she was working. I remember that when the initial excitement at having found one wore off, I did what you’re supposed to do when you find a four leaf clover. I made a wish. And were you to ask me what that wish was now I’d likely look at you askance and say, “DAFUQ?” JFC, guys and gals, that was probably 35 years ago. I can barely remember what I did last week.
So a few moments ago? When I discovered ANOTHER one after decades of looking, both actively, with my kids or by myself I did what I did back then. I closed my eyes, sang the song in my head, and made a wish. The song, in case you’re curious, goes like this:
I’m looking over, a four leaf clover
That I overlooked before
One leaf is sunshine, the second is rain
Third is the roses, that grow in the lane
No need explaining, the one remaining
Is somebody I adore
I’m looking over, a four leaf clover
That I overlooked before!
It goes on like that for a couple of verses, and ends as it began. In truth? It’s not exactly a lyrical masterpiece. Most Irish tunes aren’t. They’re meant to be sung along to, oft times drunkenly, or to get you up and dancing. This isn’t a critical interpretation of an Irish Folk Song. Nor is it about a mutated strain of a weed that grows in one of every 10,000 or so other “clovers” that, if you’re not paying attention, you’ll likely miss. What matters here is not the plant/weed, nor the song, but the practice of wishing. And the wish that I made.
For reasons that I will not go into at this time, I cannot divulge the exact content of my wish and how I phrased it, but in my mind? I think it was a pretty good f*cking wish. Life has been… a bit of a grind lately. I’ve spent a lot of my “free time” exhausted. Not only have I been relatively active but emotionally? I’m tapped out, folks. What the pundits don’t tell you is that life changes? They’re pretty gosh darned tiring. And over the course of the last 12 plus months, I’ve gone through a ton. They say that “that which does not kill you only makes you stronger.” Well? I’m still standing Elton John, but I feel like I’ve gone 13 Rounds with Ivan Drago and am holding on to consciousness for my life and for THE GLORY OF THE GOOD OLE’ U S OF A…
Um… yeah. Not really. Outdated Cold War Cinema reference aside, my point is that I’ve barely had a chance to stop and smell the clovers–the three, four or rare FIVE leaf ones–since before this time, last year. Even writing has become a bit of a chore despite the fact that I’ve published a novel, and it seems like I’ve posted both here, and over on the Endworld site with a lot more frequency this year and in the latter part of last than I have in a while. Maybe that’s a bit of age, catching up with me, or maybe it’s simply that I don’t WANT to publicize what’s going on with me, internally as much as I used to. But again, that’s not what this little blog entry/piece of Mental Flatulence is about. It’s about continuing to look for the elusive, four leaf clovers among the tens of thousands of regular three leaf ones. It’s about finding one, every 35 years or so, closing your eyes and wishing. Those wishes? In my case, they’re not about becoming rich and famous because quite frankly? I don’t want that. Part of life is having to struggle a bit and I wouldn’t want to sacrifice that because the struggle? It keeps me on my edge. Kind of like caffeine, but without the nasty side effects and increased risk of cardiac arrest. I never wanted and don’t want to be a “kept man.” No. My wishes are generally simpler… a LOT simpler than that. And I still make them and always will. Because?
Because I HAVE to. Because today? When I closed my eyes and sang the song for the first time in 35 years or so and made my wish, I saw myself as I was back in those days when we all lived in J-Town and no one lived anyplace else. I saw myself sitting there on my lawn, cross-legged in my too-short shorts and ripped Ocean Pacific t-shirt, pouring over every green “thing” on my lawn, looking for a four leaf clover. And I realized in that very moment that I still am and will ALWAYS BE that little, pear-shaped outcast turned whatever I am these days (a genius, billionaire, playboy philanthropist I am NOT). For the first time in a long time, I embraced him because I recall all that HE overcame and for the first time in a long time, I felt my exhaustion fade a bit. My head stopped pounding and I felt… not great. But okay. Because I know that I’ve done it before, and I can do it again. We ALL can.
So? If you’re currently struggling, folks–and I’m sure a few of you reading this are–here’s my message: Don’t give up. No matter how tired you get or how hard things are, look back over the course of your life on this side of the proverbial wormhole of existence and remember all that you’ve overcome too date. Remember, and in remembering understand that you’ve done it before and you CAN do it again. And you will. Don’t give up. Look over a four leaf clover. And if you can’t find one? Here you go:
Understand that one leaf represents the sun, one the rain, one the roses growing on Maple Street, on the side of the road in J-Town or on your own, little community lane and make that fourth f*cking leaf whatever you want it to be. Be it fame and fortune, someone you adore, genius, billionaire playboy philanthropy or something else entirely. Make your wish. And sing along with your old buddy the Madchronicler.