News Billy Keane

Thursday 18 September 2014

There's no giving up work for Lent – so it's the old reliable broccoli

Published 10/03/2014 | 02:30

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Sacrifice: giving up broccoli for Lent

I WAS going to nearly give up something for Lent. Last year it was exclusively revealed, here, in this very paper, that we were going to give up broccoli. Still haven't gone back on the stuff.

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One must be strong and self-denial makes us even stronger. When one writes columns, the industry standard practice is to use the word 'we' instead of 'I' when referring to oneself. We would be accused of being self-centred otherwise.

Just thought we would clarify that one for you.

We're nearly a week in to Lent. A few of the weaker Catholics have relented already and for more it's Lent Lite – they'll be back on the drink in another seven days, for St Patrick's Day.

There are days when we'd gladly give up work for Lent.

We are writing this in bed. We? Me. I'm in bed alone and am writing this all on my own. Sometimes you get lads asking who is writing all that stuff for you, as if I could never think it all up myself.

Well, there are these little, tiny elves, who used to be shoemakers before their work was moved to China, and if you leave your lap-top switched on at night, when you wake up in the morning it's all written, fine and dandy.

People who think writing isn't real work annoy me no end. 'Feck 'em and they can all do it,' if only we had the time.'

We will use I from now on, if that's all right with you. I hereby certify I have no ego whatsoever of any kind. The back is bad. That's why we took to the bed.

I'd love to ring in sick but then I wouldn't get paid so we'll carry on as the snail with a house on his back said at the foot of Mount Everest. It's not easy. An ordinary man would have cried off.

It must be great to be in a job where you get paid to ring in sick, even though there's nothing wrong with you. They make you get sick notes now, though, in a good few jobs but most people let on it's the back that's gone. The back is very hard to diagnose. But mine is really gone, again.

This lad came into the bar during the week to tell me his back was fixed by a man who walked all over it.

The walking back-fixer had two more clients. A pair of injured greyhounds were waiting to be fixed up in his surgery. I don't suppose he was going to walk all over the greyhounds. I've owned a few greyhounds in my time and they are very brittle, especially the good ones. The useless ones never seem to get injured.

I was diagnosed with a curved spine when I was 22 and my Dad said, back then, "most of Billy's problems are caused by his front". He could be very witty, could the Dad, when the mood hit him, which was nearly always.

Well, I was 22. Everyone of 22 is ruled by the front. Anyway, I didn't go to the back man for fear of pain and maybe something going wrong and also, as well, my doctor usually fixes me up.

Then what will happen if bad back people go to the bad back fixing man as a result of my referral and they get hurt by the walking and kneading?

It seems the back man kneads with his knees and he puts bones back and in and out by clicking. So if there's damage to their spinal columns, will the patients sue the paper? Or worse again, will the injured sue me?

So I leave it go. There's only so much guinea-pigging I will risk for a good story. Maybe I could visit a craft brewery. I do have lots of second-hand news from the man whose back was fixed. This really is clever. The back fixer doesn't send bills.

Payment is entirely discretionary. The back fixer has no objection to you putting a donation in the small cardboard shoe box with a slit on the top. There are no receipts, as you might guess, as cardboard boxes are not quite as hi-tech as ATM machines but are probably infinitely more reliable.

HAVE you noticed any improvement in the column over the past few paragraphs? The back is improving now the work is nearly done.

David Casey, the excellent jockey, told us about a horse that won only at courses where the stables were near the winning post. The horse, it seems, was only dying to get the race over and he usually sped up significantly when he caught sight of the barns. I'm flying now.

By the way, Casey, who is very shrewd, fancies Briar Hill to win at Cheltenham, which starts tomorrow. We are in a very afraid mood today. If you back Briar Hill and it loses, there is no blame of any kind to be attached to Casey, this newspaper or, most important of all, to yours truly.

So we, sorry I, have come the full circle. We'll stick with the old reliable. Not a fork of broccoli will enter our lips.

I might chance getting up now for a while, until there's more work to be done.

Irish Independent

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