Friday, January 16, 2009

December 2007

Looking over this and the columns immediately preceding it, I'm a lot more inclined to political ranting than I thought. I'd stop short of suggesting this is equivalent to the comment pages of a broadsheet, but clearly there's an angry, angry young man sitting at a laptop somewhere. Will anyone give this guy a drink?

December 2007

In the queue at the petrol station this weekend, a romantic liaison was almost embarked upon. I wasn’t involved, but standing in a queue, staring at the back of a difficult customer who was annoying a difficult shop assistant, I needed a distraction.

All the Sunday papers were covered with the latest dispatch from the Dáil. You know the story - politician is horrendously, obviously, inept at their job, and Bertie or someone else comes out with the assurance that the government has full confidence in whichever incarnation of Stan Laurel (or Oliver Hardy) has managed to slip on the political banana peel. Usually, it only takes a paragraph to realise two things: absolutely no governmental heads are going to roll and several aging broadsheet columnists will have their copy written for them for the next year.

This time it seems that Mary Harney managed to lose some cancer diagnoses, which was being painted by our elected friends as being a little like losing the TV remote control (only, with, y’know, consequences). Clearly nothing was going to happen. Business as usual. A man behind me saw this as a seduction opportunity. And who wouldn’t?

‘The papers are full of the hospitals again, hey?’, he intimated to the lady behind me. She responded ‘Mmm?’, that most eloquent of sounds. I took it to mean – ‘please leave me alone and stop talking to me, you’re older than my dad and I just want to pay for my petrol and get out of here’ – but then I have no romance in my soul.
‘Looks like Harney’s in trouble over the cancer. It’s a terrible state’, he said, before clarifying ‘Of course, they’re always out to get the politicians. Would you have voted for her, love?’
I might have said something like: ‘Well, no. But I don’t think my opinion makes any difference to Chairman Ahern.’ But no one, least of all you, gentle reader, is interested in my reactionary politics. In the event, a wiser head than me said: ‘Mmm.’

Casanova seemed to like this, or at least took it as an invitation to continue this line of questioning. ‘Jayz, I feel sorry for her. All these papers don’t give her a chance, know what I mean?’ Then I realised that civilization failed this man in every possible way, and not only because he was clearly the last living PD voter in the land. The poor guy couldn’t even trust the papers anymore and was reduced to looking for love in a service station (or harassing innocent petrol purchasers, which I think is the same thing).

I felt so sorry for him that I almost forgot about Bertie. Poor old Bertie doesn’t have any yachts or houses or any of that continental carryon, so he’s reduced to being the highest paid premier after Gordon Brown and Angela Merkel. Until his €38,000 pay rise, he’s had to scrimp by on only €272,000 a year. How one is supposed to survive on that is beyond me. It’s some small relief to know that when he retires mid term, he’ll get a one-off tax-free payment of €475,000 and then €170,000 until he dies. And the papers won’t leave him alone. I don’t blame my service station Romeo for distrusting the media. If they’d just go after the real problems, like immigrants and bus fare-dodgers, we’d all be happier.

Eoin is pursuing a career in public service, as he would like to retire a millionaire in six months time.

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Welcome to my blog. I'm a freelance writer/journalist/researcher/editor. I write about education and ideas I've had for the Irish Times. I also research, write and edit for writers, publications and websites. Here I put things that tend not to fit anywhere else. Enjoy.

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