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Erin Go Bragh
Worlds collide when Kevin Fisher-Paulson's 11-year-old, adopted, African-American son sees his father's "Go Irish" license plate holder.
By Kevin Fisher-Paulson
When I put a “Go Irish!” frame on my Prius, I didn’t think about my son Zane's reaction to it.
Two weeks ago, Aunt Lori took him to a basketball game. She later told me that Zane said, "Thank God you don't have anything stupid on your license plate." When she asked what he meant, he replied, "That Irish thing. Dad seems to forget two things:
1. I’m adopted.
2. I'm Black."
At almost 11, my little tween needs to be not like Daddy.
In all fairness, growing up means learning you’re different from your parents. Back in 1969, when I turned 11, I told my Dad that no matter how much he loved Nixon I would grow up to be a Democrat. My Dad replied that he had said the exact opposite to Grandma Sadie about FDR.
Forty years later, Zane has mastering the art of heavy sighs and rolling his eyes at my cooking, my TV programs and yes, my license plate cover.
The psychologist says this is healthy but I miss that little boy who asked if I could beat God in an arm wrestle. I miss that he believed that I invented ice cream.
I miss being right. Zane went to a birthday party and I arrived to pick him up. He wasn't ready, so I joked around with his fellow tweens, and when he finally noticed me, he sighed and walked to the car. When he got in he said, "Just remember that everyone makes fun of you as that old gay deputy."
As I turned the Prius on, I asked, "Notice the license plate? Go Irish?" He nodded. "Good," I said, "'cause we're Irish. You. Me. We're Irish when we cook corned beef and when we root for Notre Dame and when we're so stubborn that we think we're smarter than our own Dad. And you know what? We Irish always turn back to family. Just don’t vote Republican."
He rolled his eyes, but he nodded.
With a Perspective, this is Kevin Fisher-Paulson.
Kevin Fisher-Paulson is a captain with the San Francisco Sheriffs' Department and manages its Community Engagement programs.