At a family house party in the west of Ireland.
Heelers clutching a coca cola and plate of ham.
I scan the crowded room for a place to sit.
I was not born yesterday.
I'm not going to sit just anywhere.
Family parties are tricky things.
This calls for wisdom.
I steer myself to a table containing a smattering of relatives I can tolerate.
Fate has other plans.
Three relatives whom I find difficult to tolerate follow in my wake, bunch up, squeaze in, and sit around me.
I kid you not.
Three I was expressly avoiding are now crowded around me.
It's as if God is playing with me.
Or punishing me.
I haven't had such an overweening sensation of fatalistic entrapment vis a vis the Deity, since the time God put corrupt anti Catholic newspaper mogul Tony O'Reilly, proprietor of Independent Newspapers the most virulently anti Catholic newspaper group in Europe, and his Greek trophy wife Stavros Niarchos sitting directly in front of me at mass in Kilcullen Church, while at the same time he put my old third class school teacher Montie O'Brolchain and his Fishwife, the same fishwife with whom I'd had an epic street battle in the 1980's over American foreign policy in the Philippines (the street battle was in Kilcullen not the Philippines) sitting in the pew directly behind me, and at precisely the same time, he'd put Linda Baines, a girl I'd appallingly mistreated in my teenage years during the famous Kildare County boundary wars when the sheep farmers and cattlemen of Kilcullen were regularly knocking down each other's fences (and egos), I kid you not, sitting in the seat right beside me.
The substantive issue re said fatalistic seating arrangement being, that at Catholic Church ceremonies there is a moment in the service when we all turn and hug or shake hands with each other.
And God had put me in one of his Churches beside the three people in the universe I least wanted to shake anything with.
Gentle readers, I am a deeply religious man, hewn from the granite of Ireland, and unafraid of the vicissitudes of life.
But that day I all but screamed: "Why me oh Lord?"
And rent my hair.
And put on sackcloth.
And wrote about it on my blog.
Back to the present.
Three relatives I can't abide have surrounded me at a house party.
There's Roderick who works for Anglo Irish Bank, the Bank that used now deceased corrupt kleptocratic Fianna Fail government Minister Brian Lenihan to loot the treasury and bankrupt the nation in order to conceal invidious bank officials Sean Fitzpatrick and David Drumm's burglarisation of their own bank through billion dollar loans to themselves and their collaborators, to wit arch crook businessman (Keep your hair on Archie. Nothing to do with you. - Heelers note) Sean Quinn and his family.
Next among today's rellies I can't stand, there's Marissa who's an accountant for Denis O'Brien, a rackateering white collar gangster who bribed criminally corrupt kleptocratic Fine Gael government minister Michael Lowry to illicitly obtain State mobile phone licences at bargain basement rates.
How can I explain Marissa to you?
Well picture the accountant in The Untouchables film. The accountant for the Mafia that Kevin Costner had to capture if he wanted take down the mob boss. The little gnome like fellow that Kevin ambushed in Grand Central Station in a scene lifted from Battleship Potemkin. (Homage - Brian De Palma note.) That accountant. The bean counter. Yes. That's the one. That's Marissa.
Finally there's Philmore who deals in tupperware.
Philmore doesn't make any money off tupperware.
He lives off his wife's immoral earnings.
His wife is a bank manager with the collapsed bankrupt kleptocratic gangster bank styling itself Trustee Savings Bank.
She obtained her job through the simple procedure of having her rich Daddy ring the bank and order them to give her a job on pain of losing his account with them.
The Irish government has now purchased and nationalised and now props up this collapsed gangster bank along with every other bank in Ireland.
Hence the immoral earnings.
The three relatives begin talking.
They are not trying to offend me.
They are decent people in their way and any offence caused is inadvertent.
Philmore says: "I put out an ad for staff. I had a deal with the social welfare department. People could keep their social welfare and get an extra twenty Euro. Do you know how many applicants there were? None. None. They don't want to come off the dole."
"They're just living off the State," murmurs the bean counter for Capone.
"They haven't got a clue about life in the real world," remarks Cousin Anglo.
I got up quietly and left the table.
A man's got to know his limitations