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Going green

Area man celebrates Irish heritage all year 'round

James McFadden spent months not working on his pool to get it ready for St. Patrick's Day.
James McFadden spent months not working on his pool to get it ready for St. Patrick's Day.

Saint Patrick's Day has come and gone, but for at least one San Diego County man, "the wearing of the green" isn't something you do for one day a year. It's a way of life. Spring Valley resident James McFadden has been working on "being green" ever since he lost his job, and his wife left him in the fall of 2014.

"I think it started with the bread," he recalls. "A couple weeks after Lisa took off with the kids and the dog and the car, I noticed I was hungry. I opened the pantry, and there was this loaf of bread. At least, that's what the bag said. Inside, it was just a clump of greenish-brownish mold. Guess I forgot to seal it up during one of my many 'Bon Voyage, Lisa' solo parties. A little while later, I noticed that the pool had kind of a greenish tint to it. I guess that, besides the grocery shopping, Lisa used to clean the pool, too. Or maybe she hired someone to do it. Whatever. Then we got those rains in January and February, and the weeds and hedges out front took off like something out of Jack and the Beanstalk. You can barely see my house from the street behind all that bright green shrubbery."

For a while, McFadden considered doing something about his newfound life-color. "But you know what? It's kind of in my blood. 'McFadden' — that's Irish, right? The more I thought about it, the more I realized that my people aren't really the type to forge a great civilization out of the rude wilderness. We're more the type that gets screwed over by forces we can't understand, then sits around in a hut made of mud and rocks, gets thoroughly soused as a point of pride, and waxes lyrical about the sorrows of life. I decided to give it a try, and it's been remarkably easy — no matter what Kermit the Frog says. My only concern is that the green thing growing on the walls of my shower is going to gain sentience and attack me. So I don't really go in there any more."

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“His fingers kept twitching. His sweaty head was a little shaky. His lips were moving, but no words were coming out.”
James McFadden spent months not working on his pool to get it ready for St. Patrick's Day.
James McFadden spent months not working on his pool to get it ready for St. Patrick's Day.

Saint Patrick's Day has come and gone, but for at least one San Diego County man, "the wearing of the green" isn't something you do for one day a year. It's a way of life. Spring Valley resident James McFadden has been working on "being green" ever since he lost his job, and his wife left him in the fall of 2014.

"I think it started with the bread," he recalls. "A couple weeks after Lisa took off with the kids and the dog and the car, I noticed I was hungry. I opened the pantry, and there was this loaf of bread. At least, that's what the bag said. Inside, it was just a clump of greenish-brownish mold. Guess I forgot to seal it up during one of my many 'Bon Voyage, Lisa' solo parties. A little while later, I noticed that the pool had kind of a greenish tint to it. I guess that, besides the grocery shopping, Lisa used to clean the pool, too. Or maybe she hired someone to do it. Whatever. Then we got those rains in January and February, and the weeds and hedges out front took off like something out of Jack and the Beanstalk. You can barely see my house from the street behind all that bright green shrubbery."

For a while, McFadden considered doing something about his newfound life-color. "But you know what? It's kind of in my blood. 'McFadden' — that's Irish, right? The more I thought about it, the more I realized that my people aren't really the type to forge a great civilization out of the rude wilderness. We're more the type that gets screwed over by forces we can't understand, then sits around in a hut made of mud and rocks, gets thoroughly soused as a point of pride, and waxes lyrical about the sorrows of life. I decided to give it a try, and it's been remarkably easy — no matter what Kermit the Frog says. My only concern is that the green thing growing on the walls of my shower is going to gain sentience and attack me. So I don't really go in there any more."

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Spanish hacienda at the southern edge of La Jolla

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You couldn't see it in the original photo, but this is what his pool really looks like now!

March 21, 2015

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