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GOOD TO DREAM In those days when the TV news became too grim to bear, I tuned into the channels of my own mind

In the pleasure dome of imagination I am forever young


I have won the jackpot 87,531 times.

I have won the jackpot 87,531 times.

I have won the jackpot 87,531 times.

Daydreaming on some bough of our family tree, imagining himself king of all he surveys, it would be only a mild surprise to find Walter Mitty himself.

Or, tilting romantically at windmills on the ­Spanish branch of that same mighty ancestral oak, Don Quixote.

It may be news to the Revenue Commissioners (and, indeed, my own family), but I split my time between two properties.

When not at my Dublin home, I reside in the palazzo of my imagination, a gleaming and boundless alcazar that dwarfs even the late Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu's colossal, 1,100-room, 3,552,090 sq ft pad.

Trust me, you could have a trillion quid to spend and find nothing on Daft.ie to remotely compare with this Shangri-La of the soul.

In this boundless pleasure dome, I am untouched by gravity, mortality, or any limits of athleticism, wisdom, or charm.

Forever young, as unshackled as a summer sirocco, a sunburst of uncontainable life, making the planet better.

The American Heritage ­Dictionary defines a Walter Mitty as "an ordinary often ­ineffectual person who indulges in fantastic daydreams of personal triumphs."

Jack B Yeats couldn't paint a finer likeness of your ­correspondent.

I can scarcely change a lightbulb, yet I have piloted my home designed spaceship to Mars. My hamstrings snap climbing the stairs, yet I have slam dunked over Michael Jordan.

In the real world, among my very favourite things is to sip a few solo mid-afternoon pints in some historic watering hole.

Not through any anti-social urge, rather to be lost in ­imagining, inserted into the ancient, framed pictures on the walls, join conversations with old ghosts.

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I can't conceive of anything more beautiful or enriching.

Beyond the mischief, there is something profound at the core of this weightless escapism, a serious point to pluck from the frivolity.

The imagination, harnessed properly, can be a phenomenally powerful weapon for good. It is penicillin chasing away the bacterial infection of despair.

There are few better friends when the walls are closing in, when loneliness or sickness or worry steal the sunlight.

During the most claustrophobic weeks of lockdown, those times when it felt like we might spend the rest of eternity ­shackled to the bedpost, illusion set me free.

And, to a degree that becomes apparent in hindsight, kept me sane. It was a passport to the territory of lost normality.

In those days when the TV news became too grim to bear, I tuned into the channels of my own mind.

There, playing on a continuous loop, I kicked more last-gasp All-Ireland winning scores than the combined accumulation of every Kerry and Dublin footballer alive or dead. A particular favourite is an overhead kick from beneath the Hogan Stand that caused Joe Brolly to spontaneously combust and Marty Morrissey to break into the rousing crescendo of some Pavarotti aria.

It was rarely seen footage of this flawless masterpiece, rather than his farewell to Catalonia, that moved Lionel Messi to tears last week.

That I have relegated Dean Rock and Stephen Cluxton to the margins of history while ferrying a paunch next to which Wally the Walrus seems as slight as an Olympic gymnast speaks of my immunity to earthly limits.

Any night (most) I struggle to fall asleep, I defeat my ­insomnia by winning €119.5m (a nice ­figure, don't you agree?) on the Euromillions.

In all, I've scooped the Lotto jackpot some 87,531 times. I haven't checked yet, but I'm reasonably hopeful last night's ticket is a winner.

Befitting a man of stature, a natural-born philanthropist, I am generous with the bounty.

Any number of friends have enjoyed wild Gotham weekends at my penthouse overlooking Central Park.

As a service to Dublin, I paid well over the odds for a beautiful but slightly neglected city centre watering hole: Restoring it to former glory, allowing it shine as the brightest jewel in a necklace should, has carried me to a kind of daydreaming Nirvana.

As for time travel, it is my good fortune to zoom across the millennia in the way others take a spin to the supermarket.

I represent an upgrade on Cormac O'Connor, the hero of the late, great Pete Hamill's magical novel, Forever.

O'Connor is granted immortality on the condition he never leaves Manhattan: I have ­immortality and a visa to travel anywhere across the known or unknown universe.

I've beaten Ben Hur in a chariot race, avenged the death of Maximus in a sequel to Gladiator, completed Macbeth after poor Billy Shakespeare was struck by writer's block, and nabbed Lee Harvey Oswald on the grassy knoll seconds before JFK's motorcade cruised contentedly by.

I've sunk winning putts at Augusta, been serenaded into the Cheltenham winner's enclosure, topped the New York Times bestseller list, headlined Glastonbury.

The rocket fuel of my imagination has propelled me across the globe without leaving even an ant-sized carbon footprint.

It is, of course, true that ­fantasies flowered in warped minds visited an authentically terrible toll on humanity: Hitler, Stalin, Boyzone.

Narcissists ought to be served with a barring order from their own imaginations.

But, more often than not, it is, to paraphrase Bob Hoskins's old BT advert, good to dream.

So, at some stage this weekend, take a trip to this Vitamin D-rich fantasy island at your core.

I'll be the lad accepting Hill 16's acclaim, winning Lotto tickets spilling from my pockets, Ben Hur trailing breathlessly in my wake.

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