Tuesday 24 April 2018

Keeping pub doors open can really be a burden – but the fun makes up for it

I'm like a Tayto bag that gets blown up and then burst. It's the Sunday after the Listowel Races. The Sunday after optimism. It was a few years back when I met him. The old boy. He was worn out after race week. His face was as yellow as a newspaper left out in the sun. Thin, swollen veins crisscrossed his cheeks. The old boy was fond of drink and late nights. The drink made him forget he wasn't a young buck anymore. He partied until dawn and now he trudged down to work. Men have walked faster down death row.

Reality hit. Problems postponed mounted up before him. Unopened bills with harps on the front played a sad melody. Ah but it was all so different a week ago. The big wheel was spinning in Bird's funfair. He chanced it and went back up for a second go. The lorry carrying the big wheel pieces out of town moved slowly too.

I knew how he felt, that old man. When I was a boy I wanted a job as the hero who jumped up on the back of the bumpers to help out pretty girls who were getting bumped too much by young lads. Crashing into girls in the bumpers was a courting ritual around here that still continues. Strange but true. The dodgem rodeo riders could cross the track by jumping from car to car without ever touching the ground. Saving girls.

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