Written February 2009
It's been said more than once that where the ‘hard men’ of working-class Ireland were once wiry like a coat hanger you'd root down the toilet to vanquish a blockage, they are now lardy like . . . well, said blockage. Anyone not a member of the RCYC would have some experience of this. Think of the gnarled fuckers you see propping up the bar of any rough drinking establishment, or the shirtless wonders reclining against their elderly Astras outside their luxuriously cladded council houses, and chances are they all whiff of Guinness farts, with bellies full of fire and sausage sandwiches.
It has also been said more than once that desperate times call for desperate measures, and Ireland is nothing if not floundering in measures so desperate they'd be considered worse than a Jameson on the light side in a country pub.
I know that, during a recession, we're likely to cut back on our organic yogurt consumption, and our yearning for exotic vegetables is likely to whither, and that in times like these Supermacs may seem the most economically sound option; I also realise that after a week of paying €7 for a burger, we'll abandon the notion in tears. So where does that leave us, outside of eating boiled potatoes and old shoes? It leaves us skinny (yey! cry Mná na hÉireann) and it leaves us mean.
I predict we will see the return of the rib-jutting hard man, the aggressive whippet. Muscles will no longer be camouflaged under tummies with the consistency of marshmallow accordions. The elderly Astras will be abandoned as shorn-headed lunatics can once more fit through their front doors. Stubble will peek out from under neck folds once again. Blokes called Jimmy Ripper will remember whereabouts on their bodies they had their children's names tattooed. And so on.
And like all trends, I see this coming from our showbiz trailblazers and taking off like a Premiership footballer from a paternity test. Look at grizzled Paul Reynolds, bravely reporting on the fireworks from Gangland with nothing but his unquenchable thirst for justice keeping him warm. Look at Ryan Tubridy, who has more knees and elbows than a Bollywood chorus line. Think of flexible beanpole Barack Obama, who Co. Offaly insists is its premier political son. Sure even Enda Kenny looks like he spent the last six months trying desperately to get out of a well.
Scumbags of Ireland, hear my call! Get thee to an empty fridge! It takes less bullets to kill your counterpart in the rival gang if they don't get tangled in cholesterol halfway through! Wives of Irish scumbags, echo my sentiments! Your fellas will look so much sexier if they're too small to support an Argos medallion and seventeen signet rings! Neighbours of scumbags and their wives, rub your hands together in glee! Just think of how beneficial it will be to working-class Ireland once our hardmen are once again able to lether pyromaniac teenagers without collapsing in a diabetic coma!
Do your worst, global recession! We're ready for your four horsemen, coz now we've got famine on our side, we can beat off death, pestilence and war without breaking a sweat and promptly losing it somewhere where our midriffs used to be.