Finding someone who admits to having voted Fianna Fail during the boom is like finding someone who admits to having bought The Birdie Song when it was at Number One. There have been times in the past couple of years when it wouldn't have been a surprise to hear Micheal Martin suddenly declare: "Don't blame me, I didn't vote for that shower of shysters either."
The Fianna Fail leader's deliberate omission of the name of three-times election winner Bertie Ahern when he addressed the Merriman Summer School last month on the Irish peace process was the most startling illustration of how socially unacceptable it's become to have a Soldier of Destiny about the place.
You'd have thought even Bertie's worst enemies couldn't forget that he did play a rather crucial role in negotiations for the Belfast Agreement, never mind one of his successors. But Albert got a mention, and Phony Blair too. Even John Major got a pat on the back. The former leader only got a symbolic knife in his.
Micheal Martin went some way to rectifying that mistake by finally bringing himself to utter the B-word on Friday's Today With Sean O'Rourke. Fair play to him for doing so. The first step towards getting help is admitting that you have a problem. Now perhaps it's our turn to do the same.
"My name is Ireland . . . and I was a FF-aholic."
Just check out those vital statistics: 700,000 votes in 1997; more than 770,000 in 2002; then the electoral meltdown in 2007, when Fianna Fail's vote collapsed ignominiously – to 858,565. About three of those voters are now prepared to admit they were indeed getting it on in the voting booth with the people running/ruining the country. And that's just first preferences. Don't let's mention transfers.
Listen. It's not a hanging offence. Three times we did it with Haughey and three times we did it with Bertie. Long afterwards, we woke up in a strange bed, politically speaking, feeling grubby and regretful. It happens. That's human nature. But there's no point denying what we did.
We weren't the only ones who surrendered our virtue, after all. We had a few close encounters of the absurd kind with FF, but the trade unions had a full-on financial orgy with them during the Celtic Tiger years. They called it benchmarking. Others might call it treating the government of the day like a mistress treats her sugar daddy, asking no questions, pocketing the money on the sideboard. Ooh, baby, fancy joining me in a little social partnership?
There's no point beating ourselves up about it now. Until they invent time travel, we can only live in the moment. We all think we'd do it differently, given a second chance, but the truth is that we'll never know. We might be making equally colossal mistakes right now; it's just that we haven't realised it yet, any more than we did back then.
A decade from now, we could be sitting here wondering how we ever fell for Enda Kenny, or shaking our heads in disbelief that we thought it was a good idea to give billions to the bottomless pit that is our banking system, only for the bankers to turn around and refuse to lend any of it back to the small businesses that create the real jobs that pay everyone's wages, while simultaneously driving desperate mortgage payers to suicide. They'd have a point. Is the way we live now really any less nonsensical than building more houses than there are craters on the moon?
Wisdom, like comedy, is just tragedy plus time.