Paul Healy’s Week – 10th February

Des, Donald and Murphy’s Law

Five weeks or so into the New Year, and – like the Arsenal defence or Des Cahill on the dancefloor – we’re still a bit all over the place.

  Normality is taking a long break. The world has been turned upside down by Brexit and Trump, or so it feels. No doubt nothing has in reality actually changed for billions of people. The poor are still poor, the forgotten are still forgotten. And the wretched problems in the Irish health system still lurk. Our health service is provided by great people on the frontline but it is a bureaucratic obscenity.

  Normality is slow to surface this New Year. When it rained, and the elements generally frowned on Monday, it felt unusual; we have become so used to dry, pleasant, mild weather. We could hardly complain. The weather has been fabulous. But, in some sort of an example of Murphy’s Law, on that one miserable, bitterly cold day – Monday last – the boiler stopped working in our office, and we were without heat. We put a call into the man who fixes the boiler (included a ‘Happy New Year’ to him) and got on with getting this week’s edition out. 

  Normality is on strike. Trump is causing chaos. If any other President or Prime Minister had questioned the integrity of a judge, indeed had effectively interfered with the independence of the judiciary, you’d expect they might have to resign. But Trump is playing to his own rules. It is a soap opera in which we are all extras.

  Everyone got distracted from everything else by the rugby, but the driver of the Irish team bus had barely parked, and the hot favourites were conceding tries to a rampant Scotland in Murrayfield. A collective groan echoed across the land. Ireland rallied impressively and got themselves into a winning position. But Craig Laidlaw laid down the law and guided Scotland to victory.

  I know I pledged not to give in, but, like an old man living alone on an island who finally, from curiosity, gets the electricity in, I’ve thrown the odd glance at Dancing with the Stars. I can’t wait for the saccharine Amanda Byram to be booted off. Des Cahill is the darling of the viewers, and he was modest, self-depracating, even shy, when discussing these important matters of state on the Ray D’Arcy Show.

  Meanwhile, with pure cheek and no hint of embarrassment, Stephen Donnelly turned up at a Fianna Fáil party, made his way in and sat down in the front row, wearing a cape with ‘I’ll sort Brexit’ across the cloth.  

  Normality is absent, or maybe Stephen Donnelly sleeping with the enemy and Des Cahill dancing as Austin Powers is the new normality.

  Meanwhile, as he admires himself in the mirror, Donald Trump must be thinking, between bad dudes and bad hombres and bad judges and bad media, it’s everyone else’s fault except his.

  It was another week of some uncertainty across the globe, but on the positive side, the man who fixes the boiler came to our office and fixed the boiler.

  Next week: Donald Trump settles down but Des Cahill loses the plot.

You wait ages for a funny bus story, then two come along…

It hasn’t been the best of weeks for bus drivers.

  While we are blessed with great bus drivers in these parts, as I can vouch for from personal experience, the bus-driving fraternity have had a rocky week.

  First, came the news that bus drivers with Bus Eireann have opted to strike from February 20th, due to looming salary cuts.

  Then, last Thursday, embarrassment all round as the Maynooth hurling team, due to play a match in Jordanstown, ended up instead in Coleraine, some fifty miles away.

  Apparently the now mortified bus driver gave the wrong instructions to the Sat Nav. And, in a sober reminder to the geniuses who are about to replace humans with robots, the Sat Nav didn’t cop that anything was wrong.  The Sat Nav didn’t say ‘sure isn’t our feckin’ match in Jordanstown, ye eejit ye?’

  No, the Sat Nav merrily gave instructions on how to get to Coleraine, just as it would have brought the Maynooth hurling team to China, had the poor driver given instructions to that effect.

  Then on Saturday the doomed Irish rugby team arrived twenty minutes late for their Six Nations opener against Scotland in Murrayfield. There are conspiracy theories this week about the Irish bus – which had a police escort – being held up at every set of traffic lights en route to the stadium, so it presumably wasn’t the bus driver’s fault.

  Bus drivers…they are a great group in society, but, as with goalkeepers, their sad plight is to have their rare mistakes highlighted and all their good work taken for granted.  

  They are characters too. Almost forty years ago a few of us were travelling from a match and we got the minibus driver to stop in Strokestown so that we could get some food.

  We were almost back home in Rooskey when someone realised that one of our friends was missing. We told the driver, who wasn’t a bit impressed at having to turn back. An already grumpy man now got even grumpier.

  Back to Strokestown he drove, and the missing youth, looking suitably sheepish, was located. He stepped into the minibus, where the driver could not conceal his anger.

  ‘Why didn’t you tell me you weren’t on the bus?’

Arise Sour David…

Oh no…not David Beckham too! Is there nobody we can look up to any more?

  You might as well have told me that Ryan Tubridy only releases the cute kids after the Toy Show when their parents have paid a big ransom, or that Marty Whelan is always in an ecstatic mood  on Winning Streak because he locks contestants into a dark room after the show while he cashes their cheques (memo to legal eagles: he doesn’t).

  I opened a tabloid at the weekend and my heart sank when I discovered that our hero may have feet, or in his case golden boots, of clay…

  David Beckham has been ‘tracking back’ in a desperate defence of his reputation since reports emerged in the media of his pretty pathetic pursuit of a knighthood from Her Majesty.

  According to leaked emails, the former football star/permanent celebrity icon turned very foul-mouthed when overlooked for a knighthood.   Stunned that he was still David and not yet a ‘Sir,’ Beckham allegedly fired off a series of emails to a friend/PR manager. In the emails, Beckham launches into a vitriolic attack on the poor Honours Committee members who had the temerity to overlook His-Near-But-Not-Quite Sirness.

  Beckham apparently lashed out in all directions, using the foulest of language, which you can read online, but not here.

  His PR guy even got Jonathan Ross to ask Beckham about the prospect of receiving a knighthood when the egotistical star appeared on the former’s chat show. The question was rehearsed, so too the mock-bashful response from Beckham!

  Beckham is trying to limit the damage and the storm may blow over, but, just now, the golden boy and king of spin looks silly, spoilt and shallow.

  Arise Sour David!