Ian O'Doherty

Thursday 31 July 2014

The sun is out. Time to panic. It's the Irish way

Published 18/06/2014|02:30

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Burning issue: Sausages are next

Maybe it's our agricultural history. Maybe it's the fact that the sun only seems to appear for just long enough to remind us of how great it can be before it disappears, once more, in a big huff of dark clouds. But there can be no doubt that when our Big Fiery God in the sky deigns to make an appearance, we collectively lose the plot. And that's no bad thing.

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But we must be careful. Because did you know that the sun can give you cancer? I didn't. Thankfully, I heard an ad on the radio warning me about this and I immediately cancelled my plans to slather myself in butter and sit in the sun for eight hours like a rotisserie chicken.

Similarly, did you know that that it's not a great idea to have a big meal and lots to drink before you go swimming? And there was you assuming that having a giant bowl of spuds and a slab of Dutch Gold before going for a nice long swim would actually give you ballast.

And did you know that it's probably not a great idea to leave either your kids or your dogs in the back of the car for a few hours? Apparently, there's thing called oxygen and if anyone is left in a stuffy car for hours on end they will run out of it and suffer unfortunate side effects such as death.

In fact, while we're discussing all the reasons to be fearful during this deceptively deadly decent weather, we need to discuss the clear and present threat to every man, woman and child on this island faces every time they try to eat. Because thanks to the FSA – that's the Food Safety Authority, not the Free Syrian Army, whose policy on food preparation remains disgracefully unclear – I've learned that the best way to add a bit of flavour to coleslaw is not, I repeat not, to leave it out in the middle of the hottest part of the day. Remember people – salmonella is not a fancy marinade. Honestly, before you know it they'll be telling us that we shouldn't eat barbecued sausages and burgers that are burnt on the outside and still frozen in the middle. I really hope they don't issue an ad warning about that, because I happen to like that contrast in textures.

You see, we are all really stupid people and we need a bunch of officials and health and safety types to tell us how to behave, because without their advice we'd surely kill ourselves and all those around us in a series of increasingly dumb decisions.

It says a lot about our fearful and timid modern culture that the first thing many of us think of when we see the sun splitting the trees is all the bad things that could happen. Frankly, that's the kind of joyless approach to life that you'd expect from someone who wins the Lotto and then frets about all the people who will tap him for a loan. Even the sight of kids diving into the Liffey or the canal is enough to have people swooning and reaching for the smelling salts and this prissy attitude was best expressed by one person on a social media site who loftily informed the world that: "I am not against people enjoying themselves as long as it's done in a safe manner."

Well, how very generous of them. The thing is, we don't need constant reminders to be careful not to burn ourselves. We don't need to be warned that leaving mayonnaise in the sun for the day will spoil it. Nor do we need to be told that failing to properly cook meat will make you very, very sick. Frankly, if anyone was so dense that they genuinely needed to be told about these things then surely they would already have died in some remarkably banal and avoidable pratfall, probably while trying to put up the Christmas decorations and strangling themselves on the lights for the tree.

But government bodies will continue to spend money on these pointless campaigns because that is what they do – they take our tax money and use it on campaigns to tell us we're morons.

And as for those who are complaining about kids jumping off bridges?

Can you remember the moment you became such a thin lipped killjoy, or have you always been like that?

So close to a Darwin Award, yet so far

This has been the best and most exciting World Cup many of us can remember. After all, the first week of the tournament is usually the worst as sides desperately try to ensure they don't lose their first match. But already, regardless of what happens between now and the final, Brazil has proved to be so much better than South Africa.

But it seems some people might be taking their interest a little too far.

A colleague of iSpy found themselves in a taxi trying to get to a meeting on Monday afternoon and, as the car swerved, he noticed that the radio commentary for the German-Portugal match sounded rather, well, rather like the RTé television commentary.

And so it was – the taxi driver had his phone up on the dashboard and was avidly watching the game.

Did my colleague point out to the cabbie that watching a match might impede his driving?

Hardly. As he remarked: "The traffic wasn't that bad and c'mon, how many times do you get to watch Portugal being stuffed like that? Seriously, the puss on Ronaldo? I laughed my hole off."

Well, it's certainly a new, if rather risky, way to enjoy a taxi journey.

Now that's what you call a tough leader

As Barack Obama continues in his efforts to unseat Dubya as the worst American President in living memory, he has provided more fodder for his critics with a wizard idea – the White House is honouring 10 young people who came to America as illegal immigrants.

Americans are demanding their increasingly out of touch POTUS does something about illegal immigration and that's exactly what he did.

But I doubt giving them awards was what people had in mind.

Ian O'Doherty

Irish Independent

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