Friday 21 October 2016

Time to stop being soft on the gurriers

John Masterson

Published 04/07/2016 | 02:30

Boy George doing community service
Boy George doing community service

Does anyone remember phone boxes? They were all over the place (well, not if you wanted one) in the last century. You put your money in and dialled one of the few people in Ireland who had a phone. If they answered, you pressed button A and your few pence bought you conversation until the pips went three minutes later - and then if you didn't have any more money that was the end of talk.

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If you were a student you got around this by a complex series of taps on the phone cradle which fooled the machine into thinking you were putting in money. Technology was in baby infants then. And if you were a mindless idiot you vandalised the phone. There were a good few morons around, because it was hard to find a working phone.

This problem was so serious that a young Bob Geldof was employed to make TV adverts telling people they were idiots to vandalise a phone, as they might be the very person who needed it to call an ambulance. I don't know if made any difference.

The world moves on, but we always seem to produce 'gurriers'. They have recently been plaguing the good people of Carlow in a very picturesque public park with threatening, loutish behaviour. In Kilkenny idiots have been boozing down by the river and throwing the lifebuoys into the water. They steal the rope, apparently. As Geldof might point out there could be a time when this lifebuoy would save you or yours.

Drink gets blamed, but I don't entirely buy that. We saw Irish soccer fans all over France, where there was no shortage of drink, and they were, by and large, affable and fun-loving.

I was at the Rod Stewart concert in Kilkenny last week. There was plenty of drink taken by the huge crowd and all I saw was singing and dancing, laughter and good humour. The streets on the way home were full of fun-loving people and there wasn't a hint of anything that could be considered anti-social.

Stealing lifebuoys gets worse in the good weather. In the winter, the same idiots are knocking over flower pots. Why? People tell me that those who do this have too much time on their hands. Everyone tells me the law is too soft and the judges are in cloud cuckoo land. Community service at least is demanded.

The laws of human behaviour are remarkably simple. The consequence of a behaviour changes its frequency. Not long ago that we saw Boy George in an orange suit sweeping the streets of New York, and it seems to have done him good. Memo to judiciary: order some boiler suits and brush off the Community Service laws.

That or bring back the stocks.

Sunday Indo Living

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