Saturday 1 October 2016

Billy Keane: Making up is hard to do but Delaney and Keane did it for Ireland's good

Published 18/11/2013 | 02:00

It was only a matter of time before Yahweh asked me to do him a turn. I have been in waiting. For a sign. It wasn't in any way as dramatic like as in a burning bush or a plague of locusts.

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What with all the sense I've been making here every Monday, it was only matter of time before I became a vessel. That's how all prophets start out and technically, in a parable sort of way, I have also performed a miracle this very weekend, which goes to show I am indeed the chosen one.

The miracle occurred on Saturday in the bar where I work as a missionary, helping people with their problems and giving advice and refreshments for a modest fee.

The lady who asked me for the bottle of sparkling Kerry Spring was a messenger too, even though she didn't know she was as a messenger. I was just pouring the bottle of the lovely sparkling water when she called out: "Can you swap that fizzy water for a red wine?"

My policy is the customer is always wrong. Think about it. If the customer is right, she's right and if she's wrong, she's wrong.

What was I to do? Pour the water back into the bottle and sell as it as pre-owned to the next punter? It was then her words hit home. The sign. I should have got it straight away.

You become addled as a barman from listening to all kinds of shite. That's why so many of us turn to the drink. I read somewhere about some report that says doctors and dentists have the highest rate of alcoholism. Beats me, that stat. The dentists' customers can't talk, what with stuff like mirrors, drills and cement being stuck in their mouths most of the time. We have to listen to some desperate drivel, which is why so many of us take to the booze.

Now, we have to say unequivocally that 99pc of our clients are wonderfully entertaining, and it has always been the case that we have the best-looking women in Ireland coming into the pub, as well as fine men with minds like Einstein, but the one bore can wreck your head. There's no escape. You can't get the nurse to say 'next, please' like the doctors do. I call it repeat business when the same old story gets told time after time after time.

I was a bit cranky on Saturday night. I put it down to the full moon. I don't be well on nights of the full moon. If the full moon can pull the tides of huge oceans hither and thither, what does it do to the fluid in our brains? Normally, I would take my beating and drink the water myself as it's good for you. I was going to ask her for the price of it but then I recognised the handy maiden was merely a conduit for a greater power.

So it was that the prophet performed his second miracle. The first? Keeping a pub open in the worst recession ever.

The miracle wasn't as dramatic as the wedding feast of Cana, but I did change her water into wine. Now around here Keane is often pronounced Kane. Cana and Kane are much the same name. Obviously Cana was the land of Kane just as Kenya was the land of Keane. The signs are everywhere if you know where to look.

I was instructed to kill a fatted calf. Not in so many words. It was more of a feeling. I tried everywhere for a fatted calf. There are few, if any, calves born this time of the year. And anyway, how would we fit the calf into an oven that can only just about take a big turkey. It gives me all I can do to take a cooked chicken out of the silver lined bag. That's just a logistical thing anyway. It can be sorted. Like feeding all the people fish sandwiches at the Sea of Galilee. Visionaries leave details to functionaries.

The fatted calf will be killed for Keano. For Roy. My estranged cousin. He's come home at last and all is forgiven. I always felt he was wrong to leave Saipan, but he was young and it was a long time ago.

It will be a low-key affair. A family sit down. I'm pretty sure Roy is a cousin. I have no definite proof, but you sort of know, don't you? The skills, the power, the brooding good looks and the temper. John Delaney, with whom I have broken bread on many occasions, says we should draw a line under the past. He is so right. Martin O'Neill is an inspired choice as manager. The two will have us playing with fire and skill. Not that Trap was a bad boss. He was marvellously honest and got us to the Euro finals. But for Thierry Henri's cheating in Paris, we would have been at a World Cup when his team were still in their prime.

The making up by Delaney and Keane for the good of the country is an example to all of us who are stuck in the morass of the past. Too many of us are black with family and friends. How many brothers and sisters, best friends, husbands and wives have fallen out forever over issues that can be sorted out over a chat and a little bit of love and forgiveness. Then someone dies and it's too late to make the peace.

So it is, in the words of the prophet, that in the year of Our Lord 2013, the making up endeth the falling out.

Irish Independent

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