It's the stories you miss most of all. And the brains. Pagans are praying and it's the longest some of us have been off the drink since our confirmation. Generally speaking I only repeat myself when I burp but here's one I've been dining out on for years..
It was about 10 or maybe 12 years ago and the pint went up by 10 cent. The way I looked at it was the punter would have to drink 100 pints to save a tenner.
There was a debate up at the bar counter and you can take it most of the participants were against the price rise. In fact all of the debaters, bar me, felt the increase was a disgrace, small and all as it was.
So I went on the offensive. "How many of ye know the price of a sliced pan?"
They hadn't a clue. So I rounded on Sean Moriarty, a good friend, who started all the ruckus, more for the sake of debate than any savings.
"There you are now Sean. You don't even know the cost of a sliced pan, the very staff of life for thousands of years. Our Lord himself even changed his own body into bread and you are telling me, you do not know the cost of a loaf but you know all about the price of a pint?"
Sean wasn't rushed into answering by my deliberate provocation. He composed himself, took a sip, a breath, and only then did he reply.
"I might not know the price of a sliced pan," replied Sean, "but then again I don't ate three or four sliced pans every Saturday night."
Prominent economist Professor Alan Ahearne suggested we put a euro on the price of every pint. Not a hope would that one work in practice, but thanks for being the first Irish person ever to lobby for a dearer pint.
Most publicans I spoke to in Listowel felt it would be next to impossible to break even at current levels. The restrictions on distancing are the main problem.
I never thought I would see the day when the fate of John B's could be decided by the WHO. The VFI and the LVA, who represent our interests, opted for the WHO guidelines.
The HSE rules are far stricter. A report compiled by Knapton Consulting Engineers estimates the average pub will face an 87pc decrease in capacity under the HSE guidelines. We would lose about 50pc of our custom if we go with the WHO.
Who is right? Is it the HSE or the WHO? I don't know, and like many in the trade I desperately want to do the right thing.
The safety of customers and staff always came first when my dad and mam opened up 65 years ago and I try to continue the tradition. I can throw out a troublemaker, but how can you fight Covid-19? It must be people before profit.
Will we survive a long closure? I don't know, is the answer yet again.
The pub is worth saving. Most of us are in the job because we love it. When we closed I went through withdrawal.
If there was a bed in the Betty Ford clinic for extroverts going cold turkey, well then I'm your man.
The pub is where we meet to talk and to sing. The new guidelines mean we can't even hold a sing-song. This should be changed forthwith.
Singing lifts us and brings us together. Singing should not be a crime. Part of what we are and who we are as a nation and as a people comes down to the talking and the fun. The people's parliament is where we make friends in new places and meet old friends who come on holiday to the Ireland they left when there was no work at home. The sense of community and conviviality that was our strength is now our weakness.
The pub is a map of our lives.
Many couples point to the spot where they met the first time they kissed. Mam and me cried the day Muiris Bunyan came in to say goodbye. Muiris died a week after and although I was very sad, I was kind of proud too that he thought so much of us and our little pub.
We held the christening party for our kids here and waked our dad and mam here, although Mam did warn me not to be giving out too much free drink.
From the cradle to the grave.
There are compensations. I get to bed early, sometimes as early as 1am, which is the middle of the day for a barman. I learned a new skill. I can now peel my own spuds.
But I wake every night with the same worry and it is this: can I keep the doors open?
It's not the money. I'm happy to make a modest living. The new rules mean we need at least two people to do the pub at any one time, and possibly three. And there may be only one customer in the pub.
I spoke to many publicans in the last few weeks. They all ask the same question and it is: "What will we do?" And I give the same answer.
"I don't know, wait and see."
I feel especially sorry for those who are renting, or are trying to pay back a big loan. The small bars will suffer most. Under the guidelines, the little pub will only be allowed to keep a cat, provided you don't swing him.
I'll keep going as a long as I can and we will let the last hour be the sorest.
But I got to thinking just now that we will survive if we adapt. Maybe I could take in guests upstairs and maybe we could even open up an online store. I wouldn't be for doing food. "Too much money to set up, and too easy to get closed down," said one bar person. We could open a shop by day and a pub by night.
One man who wrote to me suggested I should open a pet shop. Seriously. It seems there's fierce take for tigers and other exotic animals right now.
And wouldn't it be lovely to let the lions loose on some lad who was looking for a fight?
The moral dilemma will never go away. Will we be able to control the customers after the few drinks kick in and will they stay put? Most of my customers are loyal, law abiding and civilised but could we be the cause of clusters?
We can only do our best. Most of the pub owners in Listowel are unsure what to do. And I am too. But let's not panic.
The hope is that by August the Covid numbers will have come down significantly and some of the restrictions may be eased.