If everything had gone to plan, I should be a well-established actor in Hollywood by now - a sad career miscue I'm blaming on Mel Gibson's obvious poor eyesight.
It's been 25 years since a group of us would head to Trim hoping to be selected as extras for 'Braveheart' - one of the starriest productions ever to film here.
The same year that 'Father Ted' premiered on TV and Seamus Heaney won the Nobel Prize for literature was also going to be our chance to mingle with serious Tinseltown action in the form of Brian Cox, Patrick McGoohan, Sophie Marceau and Catherine McCormack.
The plan was simple - get the gig as extras, make sure our obvious talent was noticed by Mel, schmooze with the stars around the canteen and - bingo! - Hollywood highlife here we come. I mean c'mon, it's only acting - how hard could it be?
Very rough and itchy as it turned out, especially wearing those authentic wool outfits for hours during that hot and sticky summer.
The vibe was access all areas - moviemaking that couldn't happen nowadays, with no real security with the cast and crew becoming part of the town's social life.
Gibson - producer, director, lead actor - was a presence in the local shops and bars, a reality helped by his stunt double who was the spit of him in size, face and walk. Many the confused Monday morning gossip began with: "Mel was in The Old Stand all evening Saturday."
"Impossible, sure wasn't he beside me at the counter in Griffin's 'til well after midnight."
The weight of his multiple roles never seemed to trouble the affable star - except for the execution scene where he's being pelted with rotten veg en route to the gallows and someone mistakenly hurled a whole turnip that hit him square on the forehead.
Ballistic was definitely the word, plus his command of the full Irish swearing lexicon came to the fore.
The canteen food was excellent. The bean pot pies were particularly popular though not for the assistant directors who endured subsequent emissions as they crouched down behind masses of bodies for the battle scenes.
Extras quickly got used to interchangeable roles - one day English or Welsh soldiers, the next Scots rebels complete with "dirty face" look of moss peat rubbed into the skin.
Gibson understandably never took a day off. Local lore, though, has it that he did take a jaunt to Kerry that August to experience Puck Fair.
Venturing toward the raucous merriment of a popular hostelry at 2am, he politely demanded admittance from the stoic doorman guarding the entrance.
"I'm Mel Gibson and I'd like a drink," asked the superstar.
"I don't care if you're a personal friend of Charlie Haughey, my instructions are to let nobody in," came the unimpressed reply.
Like the artistic licence taken with some of Braveheart's historical facts, it's an urban legend that's probably partly true...
Pollen out all best moves
Bees, we all know, are vital to life. The world's hardest workers, they've been pollinating our crops, plants and fruit trees for thousands of years.
James Morrissey's excellent book 'The Bee's Knees' is a hive of information, including the "waggle dance" -gyrating a geographical map to fellow drones of the best nectar and pollen spots. "Fascinating," said my friend Maggie. "Be great if they could do that for finding eligible men - save me a lot of dead ends."
'Love/Hate' fine by me
We're all weary of television re-runs these days but some are better than others. 'Love/Hate' is back on RTÉ this Friday - Nidge, John Boy, Stumpy and Elmo... has to be good for a second look.