‘Tis the day after Christmas and all through the house, creatures are stirring. Mice, dogs, hung-over teenagers, men with a boiled ham where their head should be.
The young people selected their favourite movies and comedy videos to give me as presents and so we all watched the X-Men and Frankie Boyle. Also, because we all love the stuff, they gave me a basket of their favourite cheeses, which they very thoughtfully helped me to eat.
I bought the dogs a special festive tin of minced-up disgusting stuff for that special meal, and they had a lovely time eating their dinner off the ground outside while watching us humans through the window.
Now, you filthy cur, I said to Satan. Clear off!! and he slunk away in search of some furry mammal to slaughter. Grrrr, he muttered because he loves Christmas.
I got loads of presents, I’m glad to say. My electric cattle-prod was beginning to wear out from too many interrogations, and so I was delighted to find a new one from my children under the tree. It’s an extra-special super one with a Fatal setting for those times when an ordinary shock just won’t do. Sweet and thoughtful of them. From Auntie Bridie there was a small bag of brown acid and a voucher for a Latvian hooker.
And of course, from my staff at the Bockschloss, there was the usual tsunami of sullen indifference. I must remember to step up the beatings, though of course, I will at all times remain jolly and cheerful.
It’s all about image. A couple of years back, in a fit of spendthrift carelessness, I happened to buy a woollen jumper in one of those big shops where everything is supposed to be reduced down from a million euros to fifty. It was the real thing, complete with snow-flake patterns but that’s not why I bought it. The deal-clincher for me was the wind-proof inner lining which would allow me to go out shooting polar bears while looking rugged, craggy and interesting with perhaps a slight Scandinavian beard emphasising my firm jaw-line as I carefully took aim and squeezed the trigger. Except that it’s bright red and any polar bear with an eye in his head would spot me five miles away.
It just made me look ridiculous and everyone laughed at it so I stopped wearing it, but this year, when it got a little cold, I dug out my woolen jumper, and this time, to my surprise, nobody laughed. Instead, they all said Nice Christmas jumper! At first I thought they were secretly laughing at me until I began to notice people everywhere with Christmas jumpers, and none of them as good as my one.
Result. Now I can wear my Christmas jumper along with my gift of Christmas socks, secure in the knowledge that I led a trend in dodgy festive fashion.
Today, I don’t plan to eat excessively like yesterday, though I may well treat myself to one or two tinctures. There are two rugby matches to watch and although I could probably stroll out to Thomond Park for the Munster game (John Hayes’s last), after yesterday, I don’t feel entirely capable of standing up for an hour and a half. I’d say it’s the telly for me, though that television may well be situated in a public house.
Yep. That looks like the start of a plan. Unboil the head with a hot shower. Get into town. Secure a warm spot in a good vantage point with a clear view of the screen and within easy shouting-distance of the bar.
How could you go wrong?
Whenever I find myself in a quandary about what to do the day after Christmas, I ask myself one simple question:
What would Saint Stephen do?
Well actually no. That’s not true. Just a year after Jesus shot off into the clouds, Stephen was stoned to death by an angry mob led by a fellow called Saul of Tarsus who would later go on to become Saint Paul. Stephen’s crime was to utter something religious that really pissed them off, so I suppose you could say that Saint Paul was a lot like your average Iranian cleric today.
Anyway, Saint Stephen’s judgement was suspect. While he was busy putting soot on his face and runnning around trying to catch a small bird, he failed to notice the People’s Front of Judea picking up rocks to fling at him.
Much better to ask yourself what Jesus would do. He’d say, let’s celebrate this bastarding winter solstice. More wine?
What a good idea, Jesus. A loaf of bread beneath the bough, a book of versem a jug of wine and rugby. Maybe drop in to hear my friends the O Malleys playing in Nancy’s. The day is but a pup.