The Fielder: Retail therapy works wonders after an absolute stinker
The real adventures of an inter-county footballer
"Like I said Des, I don't know how that chap stayed on the field for the whole game. He seemed clueless out there and nearly cost his team the win. He looked lazy, like a lad who didn't give a toss about the result!"
I was fuming. Though we'd been urged to ignore the media and the negativity associated with it, The Sunday Game was a ritual in our house. We'd played a qualifier game the night before and after a few beers (at a time) I'd managed to stay awake for the highlights.
True enough, I'd been a bit off the mark in the game, but for good reason. With the nation at the mercy of a searing heatwave that week, Dad had decided to, literally, make hay while the sun shone. After a spring that had repeatedly tested the integrity of the farm, we needed to rebuild our depleted feed stocks and like so many others decided to cut some hay for a rainy day. I'd been appointed head tosser for the week; a title which had been thought up by my little brother and, to my great annoyance, had stuck.
On the Thursday afternoon before the game I was alone in the yard trying desperately to fit the hay turner. The giant spider-like mass of rusty metal had become wedged and as much as I tried, I couldn't get the final bolt in place.
"Ok, one big lift," I whispered to myself, wiping a film of sweat from my brow.
"One . . . two . . . Ooooooh Jaysus!" I winced as a sinister pain shot down my spine.
That was it; the rest of the day had been spent lying on a bag of ice. I'd dared not tell the manager for fear of losing my spot but I'd surely lose it now. My performance had been dismal.
"Quick, get tight to her backside; they ride you for parking here." I exclaimed to Tommy.
It was the Monday after the game. Myself and a few of the lads decided to head for Dublin for some rest and relaxation. We held our breath as he obliged and managed to squeeze his way under the barrier into St Stephen's Green multi-storey; avoiding a hefty bill from the panel beaters by millimetres.
We headed for Eddie Rockets, where I decided to throw caution to the wind and ignore the dietician's advice. Our recent body composition tests had not been kind to me and I was under strict orders to cut back on the treats.
"Give me the smoke stack double please, with garlic and cheese fries, and a vanilla milkshake there please budgie!"
"Bud, are you not on the fat lad's diet?"
I dismissed my comrade's declaration and wiped my hands together in anticipation.
But gossons will be gossons, and halfway through my feast a quick flash followed by a short wrestling match and the delivery of a picture message to a certain nutritionist was sure to earn me a talking-to at training the following night.
We then hit the sports shops on the hunt of a new pair of boots for Willy.
"Ah here lad, you'll be a dead man walking if you wear them, they're yellower than a JCB."
"I don't care, they're the business," he replied with a glint in his eye. "Have you those in a ten?" he asked the grand little blondey shop assistant.
Willy looked content as he strutted in front of the mirror in his new wheels.
"They're perfect!" he proclaimed.
"Great, will I bring them up to the till?" asked the assistant.
Willy looked perplexed.
"Are you mad?! Not at them prices. Now I know what size to order online. Thanks anyway!"
We couldn't contain our laughter as we exited the shop, the poor gersha wasn't happy.
Next up was the department store where Tommy was on the hunt for a new check shirt having ripped his good one on a barbed-wire fence on the run from a taxi driver. Unfortunately, Tommy forgot that it wasn't calves he was buying and became embroiled in a heated exchange.
"Look, it's a grand shirt. But you and I both know it's not worth €80 . . ." Tommy uttered holding up his chosen garment. The male shop assistant wore a look of utter confusion.
"Sir, that's the price??"
"Lad, she's not worth feckin' €50. I'll meet you halfway at €60?"
There was no response. I think the assistant was hoping that Ashton Kutcher was going to appear and tell him he'd been 'Punk'd'. He stood there shaking his head and shrugging his shoulders.
"Alright look, best I can do €55 and a trade-in," Tommy piped up.
Tommy whipped off his top, a county polo neck, and held it out towards the assistant. He'd obviously worn it milking, judging by the smell and shite splatters on the arms. His pale exposed torso was the straw that broke the camel's back and after a cry of "security!" from the frightened assistant, we knew where we weren't wanted.
Though I wanted to go to the Toy Shop and look at the model tractors (you're never too old), Willy needed to buy a bottle of perfume for the missus to say sorry for missing her birthday. The silage wasn't going to draw itself lads. We headed for the pharmacy.
"Isn't that the fella that slated you on The Sunday Game lad?" Tommy whispered pointing at a blocky man studying a bottle of what looked like fake tan.
"It is and all. The bastard!" I muttered, "Tommy, he knows you. Go up and chat to him there for a second." I was eyeing up the shopping bags in his hand. Tommy hesitantly wandered up to the pundit, while I made a beeline for the men's health section.
"Sshhh! He's coming now," I whispered as we watched from across the street. We tried our best to remain discreet as the pundit made his way towards the exit.
BEEP BEEP BEEP . . .
He stopped in his tracks as a security guard hastily jogged up and grabbed the bag from his hands.
After some fishing the guard pulled out a family pack of condoms and a tub of haemorrhoid cream.
The pundit looked flabbergasted and we struggled to contain our laughter.
"Were you planning on paying for these items sir?"
"I . . . I . . . I don't know how these got here."
That'll teach him
For more, follow The Fielder on Twitter at @TheFielder2