The Case for Strangling at Birth

It’s Sunday morning and I’m having a l’Oreal moment.  I’m worth it.

breakfastAll my important people are away in different places and what I’d really, really like is a big, ugly, old-fashioned fried breakfast, with rashers and sausages, eggs, black ‘n’ white pudding, a pot of tea and some toast, preferably with marmalade just to be completely decadent.

What could be better than one of my favourite establishments, run by some of my favourite people?  I pack my book and I’m off for a relaxed Sunday-morning read.  Let’s go!  Unfortunately, I choose the precise moment when our new tropical climate decides to unleash a billion gallons of water out of the sky, followed by bright sunshine, so I’m soaked but it’s ok.  This is warm rain, just as it has been, ever since we towed Ireland to Florida about a month ago.

Great news.  The window seat is unoccupied, the place is quiet.  I’ll be able to spend a nice relaxed hour here reading, enjoying my decadent breakfast and  — WELL THE KID!!!!

Excuse me?

A bald tattooed imbecile is invading my space.  WELL KID!!!  YOU FORGOT TO DRY YOUR HAIR.  His friends are laughing.

Why don’t you go out and get your hair wet too?  It’s a limp retort but the best I can think of, and it seems to be the height of razor-sharp repartee in his world because his friends are laughing at him.

My breakfast arrives but already I’m not enjoying it.  Mister Bald Half-Wit has an extremely loud voice, even though the place is empty.  I try to tune him out, but it’s no good.  I read the same line over and over half a dozen times while the background noise level rises.  What’s this?  It seems to be about a hundred tourists, all standing around with that strange perplexed tourist look on their faces as they examine every last detail of the place.  Look, a floor!

Baldfool is all over them like a cheap suit.  Despite the tourist chatter, I can hear him grilling the visitors.

Parlyvoo Francy?  Eye-taliano?  Sprinken see Dutch?

No no no no, they tell him.  Español .

I’m just back from Alley-canty, he shouts at an obviously polite but bewildered Spanish girl.  Alley-canty.  Ah veeva Hispania!!  Wa-hay!

Jesus.  Would it be legal to just stand up and slaughter this fool with my butter knife?  No court in the land would convict me, but instead, I try to tune him out and go back to my book, a futile effort.


Remember those breathing exercises.  Chill.  Calm down.  Forget about the delicious marmalade on toast.  Forget that tantalising pot of tea and relishing a delicious breakfast on a chilled Sunday morning.  There are bigger things.

As I push my way past, the hapless tourist catches my eye and I shrug, half in apology that people such as this live in my city, but the fool is not my responsibility.

He has his arm around the man’s shoulder and he’s singing THAT’S AMORE.  To a Spaniard.

I’m outta here.




23 thoughts on “The Case for Strangling at Birth

  1. I sometimes wonder do these people know what they are doing,or are they just plain stupid.Bock I feel your pain.

  2. ‘Alley-canty’, love it! Alicante that part of Spain that is now ‘affectionately’ known as Talleght-cante. Sorry your breakfast was ruined, but your experience makes for a great read. Am not sure why but in my the bald guy has a Newcastle accent. Am thinking of one of the Auf Wiedersehen Pet characters whose name I can’t remember.

  3. Very much a Limerick accent I’m sure, A Little Cynical. Unfortunately I’m quite familiar with the sort.

    I think boors like this genuinely think the victim of their banter finds them endearing. And if it wears thin, at least their sycophantic companions will get a good laugh.

    It’s a pity the staff there couldn’t have had a polite word in the moron’s ear before he caused the town/nation even more embarrassment, not to mention to protect the sanity of its patrons.

  4. How come you always see tourists looking at things in a weird way. But things they have at home. For example, you’d see them walking up O Connell street and staring at a guy working on the road, or painting, or work of that sort. I mean, it’s not like it’s done any differently in France or Spain etc! I often find myself doing it abroad. Staring stupidly at the same sh*t I don’t even notice in Ireland.

    But, yeah, we’ve all met those potholes who think they are doing great at chatting up the “foreigners”. Worst of all, are the pricks who make Hitler jokes when they meet Germans.

  5. To do the tourist walk properly, you must walk really slowly, looking upwards with a faint expression of disgust.

  6. Unfortunately, most tourists in Limerick city centre seem to be walking around with the look of “Well, what exactly are we supposed to be f*cking looking at?”

  7. That remark (Bock #6) made me smile.

    Barry, travelling in a foreign country is always interesting, even the most mundane things, especially those. It’s the interest most tourists have (or should have) what’s going on and how. It’s watching the natives and their environs, so to speak. And believe me, even in Europe things are done differently from country to country and even inside the countries.

    I remember when I first came to Ireland watching in awe men at work at a roadside. They actually had a sign up “Men at Work”! At which they were standing and chatting and smoking.
    So my first impression was, well, if that how work is done over here, how do they get done anything at all? Idle question after years living in Ireland.
    (I always wanted to nick that sign “Men at Work” – anyone has a spare one?)

    Anyway, I don’t recall any behaviour as described above in any country I have been. Not that obvious at least. Maybe by some winos here and there, but nobody takes them seriously. Winos are universal, I think. Well, maybe not in Saudi-Arabia…

    Sorry for your spoiled breakfast-out-time, Bock.

  8. Come on. That’s not a uniquely Limerick expression. It’s an Irish word: gabhal, pronounced gowl. It means fork or crotch, and yes, you’re right. That’s exactly what he is.

  9. His brother was at the Springsteen concert in Kilkenny on Sunday night. No interest in the music, spent the whole time drinking, shouting to his fat girlfriend and her friends and joining in while they all took photos of each other and then looked at the photos – for three whole hours

  10. Lovely. There was a similar individual at the Thomond Park gig, but that was sorted out fairly fast by a contingent of Belfast people who had no interest in taking shit.

  11. No indeed it’s not unique to your town.I can reliably inform you that the species is thriving in many parts of West London.It’s long time since I heard the word gowl. It was not a term of endearment where I came from in north Mayo.

  12. Unfortunately; a year or two ago, Limerick City Council in all their (lack of) wisdom decided to rehouse a not-so-nice portion of these “AlleyCanty-Sapiens” sub-species to my current place of residence (Shannon) in order to proceed with the demolition and regeneration of some estates.
    As if Shannon didn’t already have enough annoying knobheads…………Sigh…….

  13. The sub-species in question is very much alive and well throughout the British Isles, although concentrations of population do seem to be somewhat localised. Might natural selection over time eventually help to facilitate their exticntion?

  14. Barry – I just want to reply to your earlier comment, I just read one of your comments, there were too many others to go through. But have you noticed that everybody stares these days.

    When I’m walking my dogs people stare. I’ve had people slow down in their cars to look at me walking my dogs, I can hear the car slowing and I turn around and the driver/passenger is staring. I have to admit I’ve given the finger because it’s so damned annoying. What is so interesting about me walking dogs?????

    I’ve had people stare at me unloading my shopping out of the boot of my car. Why???? And don’t think it’s because I’m some kind of bombshell, I’m not, just an ordinary person doing ordinary things.

    I don’t know what the reason for it is. I think it’s a recent development. The only thing I can think of is that people want to know what other people are doing even if it’s really mundane. I think it’s the Facebook/Twitter influence. ‘Hey I’m tweeting that I’m walking the dogs’ or ‘I just unloaded my shopping’.. It must be that because I can’t think of any other explanation.


    Thank you.

  15. @moodyblues. The only thing I can think of is that you must be extremely attractive.

    Of course I have noticed some extremely attractive ladies out jogging in extremely tight clothing and sunglasses in recent weeks. They almost look annoyed that they are getting attention. (But they love it really).

    Meanwhile, Facebook and Twitter is where you can go and stare at people without getting caught. I often nose through “friends of friends” on Facebook, and if they haven’t bothered setting their photos to private, I go through them to see if I know anyone. Not my problem! They should read up on privacy settings before uploading photos, and if they really don’t want anyone to see them, don’t upload them online. But Facebook and Twitter are just new ways of staring at people and for people to say “Look at me!!!”

    I spent a few years in Rome where it was the norm to stare at people blatantly. All the time. First week back in Limerick and some cracker nackers says to me “what are you lookin at bud!”

  16. thought this post was about the life during pregnancy protection thing .

    was expecting an insight on that tragic fatal foetal condition.

    sounds like yer man is one that got away…

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