The Heelers Diaries

the fantasy world of ireland's greatest living poet

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Location: Kilcullen (Phone 087 7790766), County Kildare, Ireland

Saturday, April 10, 2010

revenge of the little tin gods

The phone call came close to midnight.
The Mammy fielded the call.
Someone purporting to be a son of a recently deceased high ranking Civil Servant was on the phone complaining about an obituary I had written for his supposed father.
The dead Civil Servant was one Paraic McKernan.
There was no way of being sure this was genuinely one of his sons.
My obituary had not followed the slavish press release style adulation featured in The Irish Times and Independent Newspapers.
I had noted that McKernan was at various times Irish ambassador to France, ambassador to America and ambassador to the United Nations.
I noted that he had held a grandiosely titled position in the Civil Service to wit Secretary General of the Department of Foreign Affairs.
I noted that he had been buried in a humanist ceremony which I suggested was a delusional name for an atheistic ceremony.
And I pointed out that for all the years he had represented us, he hadn't really been that representative of us.
Atheism is still very much a minority sport among Irish people.
I also pointed out that the first time most of us had heard of Paraic McKernan was when he died.
I suggested that Civil Servants like McKernan were ruling Ireland from the shadows, holding powerful sinecures for life while elected politicians came and went.
All this was done with my customary light touch, gentle tact and ineffable diplomacy.
Now somebody purporting to be a son of McKernan's had rung my house at midnight and was berating my 82 year old mother over the phone.
My phone number is not listed in any directory.
It is interesting to speculate how the midnight caller obtained it.
The person purporting to be a son of McKernan's was still holding forth to my mother.
I signalled to her to hang up.
She did so.
Afterwards I checked my mobile phone and there was a voicemail message on it from someone similarly claming to be a son of Paraic McKernan.
The next day I met up with Uncle Scutch for advice.
I explained the situation.
He asked how I felt about the calls.
I said: "It's a bit like the sons of the privileged looking down on the peasantry. You know the super rich and their feeling of entitlement. They had all these lovely reviews in The Irish Times and Independent Newspapers and they just can't bear the fact that anyone might be free to dissent. I can imagine them in childhood: Buy me a horse Daddy. Bring us to the Bahamas Daddy. Oh and Daddy. Control the internet Daddy. Don't let them say what they like about you Daddy. We're more important than they are, aren't we Daddy?"
Uncle Scutch nodded and agreed that it did seem a bit like that.
"So what should I do?" I asked.
"F--k the McKernans," said Uncle Scutch.


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