Evening at the Tearman Cafe on Main Street Kilcullen.
I am examining a cluster of honey jars located on the counter beside the till.
Some months ago a Muslim.guy with a honey producing company wandered into the place and prevailed on the cafe management to give him prime position for his wares at this spot.
Persuaded the various lady managers who are no wilting violets I assure you, to give pole position on the counter to his honey pots, and then refused to shake hands with those same women managers because they were women.
I kid you not.
They'd kick me in the bawls if I tried it.
Mahdi Honeys is the brand name.
Named after the Muslim Messiah of blood I do believe.
He is to return.
So here we are.
Mild mannered poet about to pay for his fry at the till contemplating the return of the Mahdi.
The nice manageress is on duty.
As many of you know, this cafe is run by an organisation styled the Camphill Community on principles established a hundred years ago by a Kraut called Rudolf Steiner.
The milder critiques of Rudolf Steiner suggest that his teachings, styled Theosophy, are a form of devil worship.
I find members of the Camphill Community delightfully coy when I ask them about this.
"Lucifer is an energy," an elder of the community told me once in a conversation which plays in my memory like the sensation scene from Children Of The Stones.
Happy day children, indeed.
The nice manageress is on duty.
For thirty years the Camphill Community, no matter how many nice people work here, has always ensured that there is at least one collossal bitch working in managment at the cafe alongside the nice people.
Today the bitch is not here.
So I am.
Why do they do this?
Just to keep us guessing?
Maybe it's a spiritual exercise as well as a guessing game.
Find the bitch.
It'll improve you.
A sort of theosophistic Where's Waldo.
I don't know.
It must be part of Rudolf Steiner's theosophy.
By the way, I don't really think it's devil worship.
I think Rudolf Steiner was just trying to p--- me off.
Although right this moment it doesn't matter because the nice manageress is on duty.
And I say to her at the till: "Do you sell many of these honeys?"
She says: "Quite a few, but I haven't seen the guy in a while."
I then say: "I heard he self detonated in Syria."
There is a moment of stunned silence which extends.
A tumble weed blows through the cafe.
Venerable denizens look up with shocked faces from various tables.
For a moment I feel an unworthy urge to protest my warm hearted bona fides towards the peace loving religion of Islam.
I mean to apologise for my joke.
Then I don't bother.
There are too many people apologising for things they shouldn't be apologising for.
I never apologise.
Because the right sort of people don't want an apology and the wrong sort of people will misuse one.
Okay, that's Oscar Wilde.
I've always wanted to use the line.
And you know, I do apologise.
But only when I think I've done something wrong.
One of my foibles.
So not to Eilis Philips.
And not to the peaceloving religion of Islam.
Back at the Tearman cafe the awkward silence is still awkwarding.
I pay the manageress for my fry as nonchalently as I can muster. Linger a bit more over the honey jars. Just to spell it out that I'm not fleeing. Then I flee.
But isn't this an everyday dilemma now.
Ordinary humorisms, inadvertent remarks, genuine opinions, anything not flannelised pap, can land any and all of us in hot water.
Social ostracism may result.
Or a business bankrupting fine if a Same Sex promoting Judge Liberal decides your bakery has to put penises on the wedding cakes you make.
Or death if the Mussies or Skangland (Ireland's various drug dealing people trafficking gangster combos) come after you.
Listen to this.
A few weeks ago the car from a 1980's TV series called The Dukes Of Hazzard went on display in the Newbridge Silverware Museum Of Style Icons which is located near where I live.
The TV series is pure Americana, congenial, ordinary enough, with personable actors, and wryly formulaic recurrent plot lines featuring good ole boys, car chases and a corrupt also quite likeable deep South sheriff,
The good ole boys' old Uncle was good too. The two lead actors were handsome fellows and clearly thrilled to be in a television series. There was an ingenue girly girl in short shorts who could really ingenue like few other ingenues have ingenued before.
She was an ingenuing genius.
It's not as easy to be an ingenue as she made it look. Lindsay Lohan found that out trying to play the same part with sleazoid unsubtlty in the charmless remake a few years ago.
(Are you sure it was Lindsay Lohan? - Ed note)
(They're all Lindsay Lohan - Heelers note)
(It's Jessica Simpson you wick - Jessica Simpson note)
The Dukes Of Hazzard car was itself one of the main stars of the show.
According to legend, the one on display at Newbridge Silverware was actually built by John Schneider one of the good ole boy main characters. Every episode while evading the sheriff the boys would jump their car over a gap in the road, or a gap in a bridge, or heaven knows, a gap in the space time continuum. Yes. At least once every episode.
My pal Yankee Joe tells me that the car was a Dodge Charger and that the show's makers bought up every Dodge Charger they could find in the Southern United States during the 1980's because the stunt men kept destroying them in the jumps.
Surviving Dodge Chargers are said to be something of a rarity and therefore worth a stack of cash.
And bear in mind, this one was supposedly built by the actor John Schneider himself.
I'm telling ya this is a car that has to be seen.
I suppose if they got Mad Max's V8 Interceptor (the one he used in Road Warrior before the Mad Max films turned into conformist pop trendy fembo dross) that might be a bigger draw.
But for anyone who grew up in the 1980's, or anyone who ran into the Dukes series in reruns years later, the Dukes Of Hazzard car is gold.
Okay, I accept that the Dukes Of Hazzard may not have been inspirationally brilliant but it has had this extraordinary durability, It's been an international phenomenon. The most surprising cross section of musicians and actors took part in it. The most surprising cross section of citizens remember the show with enthusiasm. Why? I think just because the people who did it, loved what they were doing and it comes across.
And half the world has seen the show.
The actors hamming it up in this quite local style of entertainment which could not have been expected to be culturally durable, became famous for the next four decades across the planet.
People still flock to see the car.
Now that's Americana.
Until the car came to my neighbourhood.
I really wanted to see that car.
There's a confederate flag on the roof of it and on the number plate.
Within a few days of the car going on display, the Leinster Leader newspaper (damn them they yet live) was reporting (innacurately I think) that complaints had led to the cancellation of the display.
Actually what happened was the Museum had supposedly received a grand total of two anonymous complaints relating to the confederate flag on the roof of the car and had covered up the flag.
The car remained on display. Only the confederate flag on the roof was covered with a Stars And Stripes.
The complaints asserted that the confederate flag is a racist symbol.
I don't agree.
America fought her civil war to abolish slavery but she never treated the South as a defeated nation and the flag was not demeaned.
A recent murder spree by a young man in a deep South church has led to the banning of the confederate flag from the State House government buildings in South Carolina and further moves to remove Civil War memorials to Southern generals and soldiers.
And now it's led to Irish Paddy Whack half lahs in managment at Newbridge Silverware without a scintilla of moral insight or courage covering up the flag on the roof of the Dukes Of Hazzard car.
I mean I don't want to go casting no aspoyshuns.
Thousands of people had gone along to see the car.
Two, supposedly two, had complained.
And the museum has covered up the flag with a regular Stars And Stripes American flag.
I'll have to ask for a judges ruling on this one.
Seven years ago the Newbridge Silverware Museum Of Style Icons had a cosmically tacky permanent exhibit entitled The Sunday Independent Nude Photo Shoot.
It was a sad little tits and bum evocation of dyed in the wool skangers being paid by a bankrupt newspaper group to titillate the peasantry.
Worse you couldn't even really see anything even if you peered really closely.
Nor did squinting help.
I drew the line at using a magnifying glass.
At the time I wrote a few signed comments in the museum's Visitor's Book, to wit:
"You're really letting yourselves down with that Sunday Independent Nude Photo Shoot... Really sad... Uninspired.... Children visit this museum... If you really believe there's nothing wrong with your sad salacious grotty little photos why do you have them in an alcove?.. Objectification of women who are not that good looking to begin with... Made me want to shout Put Em On, Put Em On..."
I ask you gentle readers of the internet. Who could not be moved by such eloquence?
The owner of Newbridge Silverware, that's who.
The aforementioned owner, a Mr Something Doyle, annotated my comments in the Visitor's Book with the following:
"Adam and Eve were naked. Get a life."
The argomento ad Adam and Evo and get a lifeo.
Aristotle would be impressed.
In spite of my best life affirming efforts, the ever so dowdy, and infinitely depressing, and cosmically tasteless, Sunday Independent Nude Photo Shoot remained on the walls at Newbridge Silverware during the intervening years.
My impassioned appeals to the finer sensibilities and indeed conscience of Mr Doyle and his management pals in Zektor Seiben Gah at Newbridge Silverware, availed nought.
They finally got rid of the sleaze only recently. (It must have stopped working for them. Little masturbation joke there. Not a good joke if I have to explain it. Ho hum.)
Yet they covered up the confederate flag on the Dukes Of Hazzard car within hours of receiving the first anonymous letter from the first anonymous pseud who spoke anonymously for no one.
Oh lawsy me.
I mean I want you to consider another recent story.
Professor Tim Hunt, a winner of the Nobel Prize for his scientific research, was speaking at a conference in Korea.
He came out with some classic old buffer remarks, viz:
"Women in the laboratory... always falling in love with me... and then they cry if I give out to them.,,"
Another academic published Professor Hunt's remarks and endeavoured to whip up a public outcry about them.
The public outcry did indeed ensue.
Suggestible amoral pseuds clamoured to excoriate him over the internet.
There were consequences in his professional life too with his university employers ending their contract with him.
All this for a bit of vintage old buffer waffle.
And so to Donald Trump.
Trump's decision to stand for the Presidency seemed to me classic billionaire hubris.
I thought: Well he's going to lose about a billion quid to find out that not everybody likes him.
Somebody suggested to me that maybe he was standing simply to promote brand recognition for his multiplicity of business ventures. This made sense.
Then a few weeks ago Trump spoke out about immigration.
He referred to the many immigrants to America who commit murder, rape and other crimes against the person.
Immediately the pseudo establishment sought to interpret his remarks as bigoted, and anti Mexican. A massive media campaign tried to label him racist.
I was now thinking: Don't apologise Trump; Just once let someone stand up to them for once.
And Trump hit back at his critics twice as hard.
And he didn't apologise.
And his poll figures went up.
He became the front runner for the Republican nomination to stand for the Presidency of the United States.
And every time critics challenged him, he challenged them right back.
But always with refreshing candour, forthrightness and vitality.
It struck me suddently: Trump is starting to think he can win this.
Then former Presidential candidate John McCain referred to Trumps' supporters as crazies.
And Trump was challenged at a conference by an interviewer who repeated McCain's comment and pointed out that McCain was a war hero.
Trump hit back with trademark combativeness and a certain independence of thought: "He's not a war hero... What? He's a war hero because he was captured... I prefer my heroes not to get captured..."
Now Americans are very respectful to their men in uniform so this comment really endangered Trump.
In spite of the firestorm of criticism from other Republican Presidential candidates, all trailing him in the polls, in spite of similar criticism from Democrats and their allies in the pseud media, in spite of some thoughtful and insightful criticism from commentators with a modicum of integrity such as Charles Krauthammer and Greta Van Susteren, in spite of all this, Trump's poll numbers went up again.
He's now on 24 percent among Republicans to take their party's nomination.
He was at 8 percent before he spoke out about criminals infiltrating our countries through immigration.
He was at 13 percent when the media tried to label him racist.
He's hitting a quarter of the Republican vote simply because he refused to tiptoe around John McCain.
Can you believe it?
What's the reason?
Maybe a lot of us were simply hoping that for once genuine opinion, vigorous discussion and, yay that old shibboleth which I love, free speech, would not be silenced by the faux principals of our faux elites.
Last night I switched on the bankrupt left wing broadcaster CNN.
A presenter on CNN was saying (he really was): "Trump is surely about to pull out of the race. He's leading in the polls but after what he said about John McCain it can't be long now."
I nearly fell out of my standing.
"Good Lord," I exclaimed, "if CNN are predicting he's about to pull out, he may just be on the verge of winning the Presidency."
You'll be happy to know folks that back in the Tearman Cafe Kilcullen the Muslim bee keeper has shown up once more.
So he did not self detonate in Syria.
Somewhere the ghost of Rudolf Steiner is smiling.
The nice manageress (and by nice I mean capable, professional, compassionate, caring, a good cook, an enlightened supervisor of those who work under her tutelage, and a damn fine human being) has reduced her hours of work.
The bitch is taking up the slack.
We can't have everything.