What Goes Around Comes Around?

By Lyle Hill

As the phone started its second ring, I answered it and offered up my well-worn but pleasant salutation. Then, as the caller began to speak, I instantly recognized the old familiar voice.

“Dan, it’s great to hear from you and I hope all is well. What’s on your mind today?”

“Well, to be perfectly blunt, Mr. Hill, I want to call you out on something you wrote in a recent article and I am also going to call you out on misrepresenting yourself as a true Irishman.”

Dan Simon is a bright, quick-witted guy, an outstanding golfer and perhaps one of the best salespeople in the glass business today. We worked together for many years and I like him. However, he is not a literary critic and he certainly has no business questioning my heritage.

“Well, Mr. Simon, I’m listening!”

“Okay. First, in an article that ran two months ago you used the phrase ‘I surrender’ in reference to your battle to clean-up the energy surcharge fiasco. I found that to be disgusting. I’m sorry, but I think you’re a fraud.” “Why would that disgust you, Dan? It is a fight I cannot win and right now with gas prices the way they are, I actually think the suppliers are entitled to the energy surcharges. And besides, what’s that got to do with me being Irish?”

“Because, Hill, a true Irishman never surrenders. For years you have claimed to be a West Side Irishman. There is no such thing. I’m South Side Irish and we’re the real thing. You’re a wimp and a fake.”

Unless you’re from the Chicago area, you are most likely not familiar with the term “South Side Irish.” However, if you’re a local, you know exactly what is meant by the phrase. The term refers to the very large Irish-American community that lives in and around a portion of Chicago’s South Side. Each year, on the Sunday before St. Patrick’s Day, the South Side Irish have a parade believed to be the largest St. Patrick’s celebration outside of Ireland itself. The group is extremely organized, has their own special
clothing line and are politically powerful. They even have their own song. And perhaps the lyrics of that song describe them better than I ever could. One of the lines goes like this …

“We live on the Southside – Mayor Daley lived here too;

The greatest Irish leader, Chicago ever knew.”

Another goes …

“We sing the songs our fathers sang when they were growing up;

Rebel songs of Erin’s Isle in the Southside Irish pubs,

And when it comes to baseball, we have two favorite clubs,

The Southside’s go-go White Sox and whoever’s playing the Cubs!”

I was sitting with Dan Simon in the lower box seats down the first base line the night the White Sox won the 2005 World Series (October 26) against the Astros. At the end of the game, Dan sat down and cried. He was that overcome with emotion. I pretty much carried him all the way to the car. Fortunately, I was driving.

“Listen, Dan, I have the DNA test to prove my Irish heritage and I was originally from the West Side, which, during my youth, had tons of Irish people living there.”

“So, Hill, did you have your own parade, did you have your own song or wear shirts and jackets that said West Side Irish on the back? And here’s the killer. Did any of your neighbors root for the Cubs?”

“I’m done with this conversation, Dan. I know who I am and I think you’re a little crazy, just to be blunt with you.”

“And what about your wimpiness, Hill?”

“I do not consider myself as such.”

“Prove it, Hill. Make this conversation into one of your silly little articles and let the readers see who you are. I don’t think you can do it.”

“Dan, this conversation has very little to do with anything the readers would want to see and has no point other than to make fun of me.”

“So you really are a wimp? And besides, a lot of your articles don’t really have a point.”

“Dan, this conversation makes no sense, just like that saying you used to use all the time that you claimed was a South Side Irish saying … ‘What goes around comes around.’ Well, after all these years, it still doesn’t make any sense.”

“It doesn’t make sense to you, Hill, because you’re not Irish and you’re not from the South Side.”

“Okay, South Side Irishman Dan Simon, I’ll tell you what I’m going to do. First, I will run an article based on this conversation and I will take a poll about your little saying to see if I am the only one who thinks it doesn’t make sense. After all, maybe all of us can use a little break from reality right about now. If I get any interesting comments, I’ll share them as well. Now I’m hanging up, Mr. Simon, so I can go write my column. And I am not a wimp!”

Lyle R. Hill is president of Glass.com®, an information portal and job generation company for the glass industry. Hill has more than 50 years’ experience in the glass and metal industry and can be reached at lhill@glass.com.

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