TRAMORE: My Laptop
I’M sort of disappointed that my hat wasn’t thrown into the ring for Big Phil’s job as European Commissioner for the EU. European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen had only one demand really from the Irish Government – a man or a woman. Well, sure we’d all surely qualify on that front. And some of the lads we sent off in the past to Brussels were really only sideways promotions intended to remove rather than reward. Get them off the pitch and turn them into linesmen.
‘I’m not that demanding. Some obscure portfolio that involves lots of travel to exotic locations to enquire about standards in five-star hotels would be just tickittyboo’
Remember the great job Phil Hogan did with Irish Water? Or the outstanding continuous spending of Charlie McCreevy in the noughties and nineties that paved the way for the economic crash? Older readers will recall Dick Burke who got the whistle for the big job for voting against his own government’s bill – along with Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave – to legalise contraception. Guess what his first task was in Brussels? Introducing legal standards for condoms. Ah… karma!
Now I’m not that demanding. Some people love the top jobs with all the responsibilities and power that comes with it. Not me. Some obscure portfolio that involves lots of travel to exotic locations to enquire about standards in five-star hotels would be just tickittyboo for your humble correspondent.
And I play golf! Admittedly, pretty badly. Sure I’d be ideal. And all for a derisory stipend of €270,000 + expenses that I’d be only too happy to accept. I have an acceptance speech ready that begins with ‘if Ireland needs me’…
Other chaps see themselves as heroes from gilt-edged manuscripts that engage in acts of daring-do. As for me, I’ve always enjoyed more modest aspirations. Especially the kind that comes with bonuses.
Like those lads who play for Seria A teams. Last time I looked they had no reserve teams in Italy. So… all the golden-tanned babe-magnet subs get to sit on the benches in Armani suits; glitter-bound in enough gold bling to destabilise a couple of economies. Still… you just have to admire them. They look deadly impressive, incredibly philosophical and profoundly stoic with rigid looks and dark brown eyes that would gladden any Celtic warrior in an anticipated punch-up with Cú Chulainn.
Shakespeare was a great lad for using that Greek flaw of hubris to enable his tragic characters to destroy themselves. Hubris is the characteristic of excessive confidence or arrogance, which leads a person to believe that he or she may do no wrong. The overwhelming pride caused by hubris is often what destroys people.
Nobody creates myths about our own existence like we do ourselves. We dream ourselves an existence every day with our own selves cast as the heroes of our own mythologies. We showreel it on an endless loop in the theatre of our minds; and because it feels so incredibly real, we blind ourselves to the reality that it really has an audience of only one.
Just like Big Phil ‘I-have-done-nothing-to-be-sorry-for’ Hogan. We all like to feel that we’re indispensible. Sadly, Phil, the reverse is the case. Ask anyone who has retired. Like yourself.
When the knives were brandished, our former European Minister for Trade had no one to defend him. Certainly not in Waterford, anyway, where schadenfreude – the ability to enjoy someone else’s misfortune — was almost universal for a man widely-believed to be an opponent of the economic and social development of the city. As Oscar Wilde once observed of an acquaintance: ‘He had no enemies, but was intensely disliked by his friends.’
And it’s easy to make enemies today. Senator John Cummins has suffered some appalling character assassination on social media for attending the Clifden dinner. John Cummins has a family and it’s time for the Facebook warriors to stand back and engage in a bit of perspective. Momma never told us there’d be days like this. We’ve all suffered in the current restrictions – some more than others. But – be honest – we’ve all gone beyond the guidelines during the lockdown. Sometimes, unknowingly. I hardly know the Senator and carry no brief for him. Nevertheless, some of the comments directed at John Cummins on social media are offensive and unacceptable. We’re all human. Even politicians.
Commissioner Pat? Naaah… on mature reflection… maybe not! I think I’d have to consult the small print on the ticket before I’d sign up to that.