As I lurched from lighthouse keeper to labourer, from kitchen mechanic to machinist, my mother was driven to despair. "Get a job in the civil service," she implored, "it's a job for life." Me being young, those words were wasted on me.
Well she was right, but not entirely. I eventually got sense, no doubt from her St Martin De Porres novenas, and I served 30 years' hard time in the public service. What my mother omitted to tell me was that had I served one term as a TD, I too could have been made up for life, but without having to serve life to achieve it . . . if you follow me.
The daddy of the job for life is with RTE of course. As long as the queen of England has been my queen, Gaybo seems to have paralleled her reign. The Celtic Tiger wiped out green fields, banished our foxes to the hills and abducted Mike Murphy. Lo and behold, no sooner than the Celtic Tiger itself took to the hills, Mike returned on RTE of course.
Pat Spillane and Colm O'Rourke -- great footballers, okay pundits -- lately have gone political. They advise us we cannot continue the way we live in the public sector. Both teachers; great hours, great holidays and Pat slips away at 56 on a pension.
However, we all don't have Auntie RTE to put their arm over the shoulder to give comfort, succour and a few bob to keep the little piggy full.
Pat Kenny, Miriam O'Callaghan and a host of other lifers, including Joe Duffy, actually define our lives. Micheal Lyster has not aged a day in 300 years as he gently laughs at Smirking Joe Brolly and the smart pair of teachers listed above. And why should he age? He works in the modern equivalent of Tir na nOg.
Rugby and soccer are as bad. John Giles, Eamon Dunphy, Liam Brady dull our senses with the man who will never retire: good old Bill O'Herlihy.
George Hook plays straight man to funny Brent Pope and Tom McGurk. It goes on and on.
Is there no new blood out there? Where did the young Europeans go to? A few made some 'Celebrity' thingy or other but found RTE's door locked with the pensioners. RTE's idea of youth is Grainne Joyce from the West. And maybe they have no choice. Last summer I cringed as I listened to some young air-head try and figure out a score of 1-18 to 2-15.
So in addition to not having to pay a house tax, I look forward to not paying my TV licence next year. I no longer watch the retirement home for the long-term employed.