Monday 19 February 2018

Pulp but no fiction as city scumbags let fly with a watermelon

Being knocked off your bike by a piece of fruit may seem funny but it's no laughing matter, writes Campbell Spray

IN the annals of my family, it wouldn't have been the most heroic death, nor the most memorable, nor even the one to inspire books or songs.

However, it could have been the most laughably tragic.

If I had been crushed in Dublin last weekend after a bizarre accident, the mirth should have given way to anger at seeing how the drugged-out scumbags who inhabit our streets are becoming both more crazy and brazen.

I was happily cycling home at around 7.45 on Friday night last weekend, looking forward to the rest of the evening as I pedalled along Dublin's North Circular Road with the Mater Hospital mortuary on one side and Mountjoy Prison on the other: Travelling between death and crime; it was obviously not a good omen.

One second I was pedalling, the next I was lying on the road, off my bike, with traffic coming toward me from two directions.

Had I been shot? Had a heart attack? I didn't immediately know. But lying, semi-stunned on the road, I was scared and totally shaken.

As I tried to get up, I saw people running toward me and there was red, flesh-like pulp all around.

Soon it became obvious that someone had thrown a water-melon at me and either by accident or design, it had hit me on the head and catapulted me off the bike.

I was helped to my feet and then one very spaced-out guy pushed his way in and started patting me down and saying, in that brilliant whiny way of Dublin druggies, that his mate "yeah shudna dunn ih".

However, as he was trying to remove my wallet, phone and briefcase at the same time, I felt his apology was rather worthless.

He was sent packing by a couple of motorists who had stopped and people from a nearby bus stop. They then helped me gather

my bike and dignity and go to the garda station across the road. Details were taken, and I soon went on my bruised, battered and shaken way. The garda told me that details of the attacker's very distinctive shirt would be sent to a van cruising the area. I was perhaps a bit underwhelmed by the response. Obviously, if I had been crushed by an oncoming vehicle, all would have been different.

So, of course, I was lucky; a colleague last week recounted how he had been pelted by oranges as he was driving home one night down a road by our office on Talbot Street. If his window had been open and he had been hit and crashed the car; again nobody would have been laughing.

What is it with these inner-city louts and fruit? Are they trying to make sure we get our Five-A-Day or have they just cleaned their syringes through the skin of the fruit?

In the past week, the jokes have been mighty. 'Watermelon Man lives' -- and if he hadn't, my son in England suggested the family would have had a tropical fruits-themed wake.

But it's no joke, really, except for the fact that the guy with that sort of aim probably should have been playing in Croke Park the following day.

If the melon had struck differently, it could have made an awful mess of my head. If a car had been going past at speed, my body could have resembled the pulpy red fruit that later that night I gathered up for the accompanying picture.

It is quite horrible that, out there, it is raining fruit and a tragedy is waiting to happen. The violence is growing. In the past year, the incidence of friends, relations and colleagues being attacked on the streets and in their own homes has increased. Daily, there are stories of innocent victims caught up by the mayhem around us. There is strange noise in the air and I don't like it at all. It sounds like a scythe.

Sunday Independent

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