Like most things McGreevys make, the myth that imbues their family is anything but linear. More of a collection of beliefs than a coherent storyline, the myth functions as a blueprint: a set of instructions for each family member for how to be a McGreevy.
This is the McGreevy myth:
McGreevys are extraverted in the extreme. They are charismatic, boisterous, hilarious, and chaotic. They revel in optimism and laughter; they do everything last minute and by the seat of their pants.
McGreevys are good storytellers.
McGreevys never remember the lyrics to any songs, but make up for it in bravado and volume.
McGreevys are never early.
McGreevys work hard: all the time and all their lives.
The myth of the McGreevy family, like most myths, is much less interesting than the circumstances that birthed it. Fleeing the famine that crippled Ireland, the seeds of what became the McGreevy family settled into the American workforce. Bringing with them a deep fear of scarcity and a distinctly Irish tendency for passion and victimhood, the McGreevys sought to rewrite their history by recreating it. They flung themselves into the most available forms of patriarchy: work, militia, academia, and the Catholic Church. To these institutions they gave their lives, and with them their identities. Slowly, over generations, the family found solid ground through their reputation as good workers. Through labor, the family found safety. This is how the McGreevy family came to believe that hard work is the key to personal significance.