Wednesday 13 April 2016

Part 2


Continued from yesterday.....

The Bug, so called because his Da, an avid punter, won £20 on a double at Ascot in 1953( the year he was born); with Stephen Paul (7/2) in the King Stand Stakes and The Bug (10/1) in the Workingham Stakes. 
The Da assumed that calling his son after such illustrious horses ensured that the Bug would bestride the world of business and gambling. That assumption was sadly mistaken.

However the Bug, because of his pedigree, had form. My duties in his employment necessitated long picaresque perambulations around the city centre and suburbs frequenting licensed bookmakers, sometimes three simultaneously, and involving heroic dashes against the off. 

For example I had to learn the exact distance between Paddy Power, Ladbrokes and Boyle Sports in Stillorgan and calculate how long it would take me to leg it to Paddy Power in Goatstown, feats requiring Olympic athleticism and logistic expertise. Such were the requirements of a lay off punter. Whatever I was being paid it wasn’t enough.

These late home runs to the finish line teller following a wink, nudge, elbow, text from my employer became my modus operandi. The purchase of a second hand bike from Belfield bike shop facilitated the smooth and efficient performance of my duties and involved no parking fees or fines, the infringement of various traffic regulations, disregard for traffic lights, double yellows, continuous whites and one-ways.

There were only two impediments to my otherwise perfectly vertical career trajectory, and the first was my legs.

 I forgot to mention that my nickname was the “Longfella.” No relation to well known Irish patriot. The name referred to my physical longevity (clearly…duh). I stood 6 ft 7” tall, an unwieldy spool to thread about the frame of a commoner garden Vilano Shadow and resulting in various mishaps and endless sojourns in A & E, hospital trolley sleepovers and the acquisition of a sheaf of unpaid medical bills. 

But my daily gambol, though chequered with false starts and unjumped hurdles was nonetheless completed; bike-less, trailing the field, lacking form but showing grit and the will to perform better given softer ground. 

The second glass ceiling obstacle to my career progression proved however to be somewhat fatal, for I began to notice over time that when my tall frame darkened the door of these licensed premises the Paddy Power tellers would slip sideways out of their kiosks.

 “The Longfella’s back,” echoed and bounced from wall to ceiling, sibilant whispers snaked their way down sinuous corridors. In the overhead office a click and bleep of mobile phone, the ominous pause and return scuttle of aforesaid teller. And then the inevitable.

“I’m afraid sir, you can’t bet here any longer.”

(What do you mean, can’t?)

“I mean, you’re barred.”

(That can’t be legal!)

“We only serve losers.”

Silence as my co-pundits suspend their cups of coffee and crustless sandwiches for a second of potential epiphany.

“Get out!”

Paddy bloody Power, how are ye! Bar the winners and tea-total the losers. But it wasn’t just Paddy. It turned out to be the modus operandi of Ladbrokes, Stanley, Byrne, Boyle’s Sports et al.

And overnight I became a non runner with form.

And that is how I came to join the X and Y generation, the hipster-bobos, in their mass exodus from our expiring Celtic Tiger shores.

To be episode tomorrow...