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His Ex-Dudeness Talks Turkey

I was always generally of the view that deep down I was a dude. A laid-back fellow, inclined to go with the flow, disinclined to sweat the small issues and, while not a stoner himself, a man who was strangely at ease in the company of stoners. Jeff Bridges might have the rep, but most of us had the attitude long before The Big Lebowski.

But those days are gone. It's very hard to be laid-back when you are harried, and technically that's what I am. It's what hounds do with foxes. They harry them. It's a hard word to look up these days. Every online dictionary you try will bring you to a Harry Potter movie. But look it up in an old-fashioned paper one and it will explain: it is to ravage, despoil, harass and worry. And that's me right there.

It's hard to maintain an almost horizontally laid-back disposition when you are being ravaged, despoiled, harassed and worried, and that's what I am, 24/7. On a good day, rested and in good form, I could alternatively describe this as being love-bombed by two small children, but, in the absence of rest, there is no good form, and trust me, Guantanamo Bay is a quieter place than our home.

The upshot of being harried is that mistakes are made. If you were driving a car and were as tired as this, your loved ones would make you pull over and drink coffee. But in this case it's the loved ones who are giving chase, nipping at your ankles and harassing you. They are why you're tired and if you try to drink coffee they will jump on you and you will spill the hot drink on your lap, again.

This week there was a window in the harrying. At 7.50pm, Eva, or Osama as she prefers to be called, explained I wasn't fit for purpose and demanded her mother complete the bedtime ritual. I found myself with ten unexpected minutes on my hands so I did what any good father would do: I jumped in the car and went to buy wine. I couldn't find my shoes, so I just put on whatever I could.

In the local Spar, as I got money out for the wine, I encountered a familiar face: a former Eurovision entrant now fallen on hard times. Humiliated on the big stage, he had luckily been able to return to the cosy charms of his pensionable job in RTé, his feathers ruffled, but his pension intact. I know it's weird, a turkey with a pension, and not the only one out there either.

We greeted each other with those empty platitudes that those of us in the media can rustle up with sickening ease. Rhetorical questions about family, health, job prospects and happiness levels. If one of us ever answered, the other would die.

Ten minutes later, by the time I'd got the wine open in the coal shed (the wife doesn't need to know everything) he'd already tweeted me on the internet. "Tom Dunne in socks and sandals shocker," he told everyone. I looked down. It was true. I just hadn't been thinking straight, but try using that as a defence in a court of law.

Revenge will be served cold, possibly on St Stephen's Day, with cranberries and coleslaw.

Tune into Tom Dunne on Newstalk 106-108FM on weekdays, 9am to noon


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