“It breeds dissatisfaction by perpetuating itself everywhere, cluttering up the minds of individuals, particularly here in Thurles,” said Micky, breaking the silence, as he continued sucking on the remains of his pig’s crubeen, elbows resting on the kitchen table. (Latter ‘Crubeen,’ for those of you less well educated of course is a boiled pig’s foot. Today they are called sausages, if no horse meat has been added.)
“What are you talking about Mickey,” said I, anxiously awaiting the promised afters of a plate of stewed rhubarb and custard, whose mouth-watering aroma was now being carried; wafting on the breeze created by the partially open window in the small scullery.
“Negativity,” said Mickey, “Negativity, sure Thurles is full of it and it’s all coming down from Dublin. Take that Garth Brooks singer fellow,” he continued, “Sure if Dublin don’t want him, couldn’t Aiken and the GAA have sent him down here to forgotten Thurles and slap him into Semple Stadium for the week. Sure doesn’t he sing country music anyway.”
“Look it here,” said I, “This is all politics, people playing financial chess to get their own greedy little ways. Sure only a few weeks ago wasn’t the Minister of Finance down kissing Donald Trump’s arse in the west, in the hope of duping these Americans into progressing the sale of a bankrupt golf club. “Remember Mickey,” said I,” The money paid for those 400,000 tickets to listen to this Brooks fellow will end up in America, taken out of our bankrupt Irish economy in his private jet plane, tax and VAT free.
“I suppose you’re right there,” said Mickey, “I suppose the female clothing shops here in Thurles wouldn’t have sold so much as a plastic G-String, had those damned concerts gone ahead. Yeah you’re probably right; negativity, women and politics are what has this Ireland ruined, sure women shouldn’t be allowed into politics anyway,” continued Micky.
“What’s your problem with women politicians,” said I.
“Well,” said Mickey, “Take a look at that Joan Burton one, since she became leader of the Labour Party. Sure only a woman would take four days moving an auld second-hand press from room to room in Dáil Éireann.”
“How do you mean,” said I.
“The cabinet re-shuffle,” said Mickey, “A man would have left that damned cabinet where they found it, but not a women, oh no; “push it over against the back wall,” – “no move it over to the window,” – “no try it in the bed room.” “Thank God the wife and myself only have two rooms, a scullery and an outside commode,” continued Mickey
I bit my tongue and remained silent.
“No its all negativity now-a-days here in Thurles,” continued Mickey, “Sure the wife was at her hairdresser’s there recently getting her perm fixed, before her trip to Rome and she just happened to mentioned this same junket to the hairdresser.
” Rome?” screamed the hairdresser, “Why on God’s earth would anyone want to go there? It’s crowded, dirty and full of huxters. You’re crazy to go to Rome; but how are you getting there?”
“We’re taking RyanAir,” was the wife’s reply. “We got a great price on the computer.”
“RyanAir ?” exclaimed the hairdresser. “Haven’t you heard that’s a terrible airline. Their planes are old, their flight attendants are arrogant and sure they’re always being delayed. So, where are you staying in Rome?”
“We’ll be at this exclusive little hotel just 40 minutes from Rome, in Anguillara Sabazia to be precise,” says the wife.
“Don’t go any further, sure I know that place well,” says the hairdresser, “Everyone thinks it’s going to be something special and exclusive, but it’s really another dump.”
“Well we’re booked now,” said the wife, “We’ve planned to go see the Vatican and hopefully we will get to see Pope Francis.”
“Yeah,” laughed the all knowing hairdresser. “You and a million other people trying to see him. He’ll look the size of an ant in the distance. Boy, good luck on this lousy trip of yours. You’re going to need it.”
“Two weeks later, the wife again went for another hairdo upgrade and the hairdresser asked her about her trip to Rome,” continued Micky
“‘Twas wonderful,” explained the his wife, “Not only were we on time flown on one of RyanAir’s brand new planes, but it was overbooked, and so they bumped us up to first class. The food and wine were both wonderful, and I had a handsome 28-year-old steward, who waited on me hand and foot.”
“As for Anguillara Sabazia and our hotel,” said the wife, “Twas beautiful, they’d just finished a 5 million Euros remodelling job, making it a jewel, the finest hotel in the town. They too were overbooked, so they apologized and gave us the Penthouse suite for the week, at no extra charge!”
“Well,” muttered the hairdresser, “That’s all well and good I suppose, but I bet you didn’t get to see the Pope close up.”
“Actually,” replied the wife, “We were very lucky, because as we toured Vatican city, a Swiss Guard tapped me on the shoulder, and explained that the Pope likes to meet some of the daily visitors, and if I’d be so kind as to step into his private chambers and wait, His Holiness would personally greet me. Sure enough, five minutes later, the Pope walked through the door and shook my hand! I knelt down, kissed his ring and he spoke a few words to me.”
“Oh, really!” said the hairdresser, “What did he say to you?”
“Well,” said the wife, “His Holiness was extremely anxious to know the name of the Saloon that had totally ruined me hair?”
“Negativity,” said Mickey, “It will be the ruination of this country for sure.”