A mental stairlift transporting two ancient souls above the misery of lost vigour and disappeared youth.
Over a weekly pint, a friend and myself cantankerously channel our inner Statler and Waldorf.
Like the famously crotchety Muppet characters, we take our balcony seat in the theatre of life and relentlessly heckle the stage-play that is the unrecognisable world in 2022.
A hellfire of grouch is lit, an irritable state of the union delivered by our twin Grumpy Old Men.
A sample tray of recent targets reveal our burning, mad-as-hell conviction that the barbarians are at the gates.
Automated Phone Answering Services: If you have just slammed the handset against the wall in frustration at this bending of the knee to technology, press one; if you have been holding since last Tuesday week and are rapidly losing the will to live, press two; if you fantasise about thumbscrews, torture chambers and getting medieval with your bank’s corporate advisors, press three. What malevolence hatched this plan to reimagine us as desolate Robinson Crusoes adrift and alone on a soulless, high-tech desert island?
The supermarket checkout snail:Bad enough that the Everest of items in their trolley could feed the entire Indian population until 2047; worse, that they pack as if it’s a cargo of priceless chandeliers rather than sausages and six packs of Tayto. But the coup de grace, grinding us into mental submission is their bewilderment upon realising, after an eternity of holding the rest of us up, that they actually have to pay. Cue a subsequent 20-minute search for the purse that is invariably at the bottom of the handbag. Honestly, we abandoned the death penalty with undue haste.
People who put blackcurrant in Guinness:While you are at it, why don’t you crayon a pair of spectacles on to the Mona Lisa, construct a 500-room eyesore on the Cliffs of Moher and remix Luke Kelly singing Raglan Road with a screeching Mister Blobby and an overwrought Ronan Keating on backing vocals?
Hotels charging extra for breakfast:So, having taken out a mortgage to pay for a night in a cupboard sized room 60 miles from Croke Park (from which they are expected to check-out earlier than Coppers closes), Limerick fans must cough up another 25 quid for a shrivelled All-Ireland final rasher and a fried egg that bares a striking resemblance to Joe Brolly’s rear end.
Mick Wallace and Clare Daly:Ah yes, the pride of Ireland. Their lives devoted to disproving Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. To think, we used to snigger at Jacob Rees Mogg!
Breakfast DJs with an inflated opinion of their own comic timing:You. Are. Not. Billy. Connolly. Play some music and shut the f**k up. It is seven in the morning. We are tired. And you are as unfunny as a toothache.
Clampers:If Putin is ever chased out of Russia, there’s a job opportunity for him here.
Croke Park’s censoring of giant screen replays:Sendings-off, a dodgy penalty, a row. Sorry, you are a three-year-old and your brain cannot be trusted to process a coherent, civilised response to such hair-trigger moments.
So while everybody at home watches re-runs of key talking points, supporters who paid to attend are force-fed supermarket adverts.
Because, obviously, if the decision is not to their liking, they will immediately channel their inner Combat 18 and deploy both Pat Spillane and their nine-year-old child as missiles to be fired at the referee from the upper Hogan.
People on public transport who insist on engaging in intimate phone conversations at the top of their voices:
When did this pitiful loss of dignity become fashionable? We don’t care if you snogged Tom from advertising at the office party and whether or not he suffers from rhino-breath.
And we really don’t need to know about the effect your colonic irrigation has had on your toilet habits.
If you must have a medical procedure, could you make it one that transplants the embarrassment gene and a little self-respect into your skull.
Inane rugby buzzwords:
“Go-forward ball”, “fronting-up”, “soft-hands”, and, God help us, “learnings”. When exactly did the National Society of Inane Gobbledygook hijack the analysis of Johnny Sexton and Peter O’Mahony?
Old-time pubs that insist on shattering the lovely, calm silence by blasting loud music or having Sky Sports News on a continuous, mind-numbing reel:
Please, in the name of Statler and Waldorf, heed the advice of the great and wise wordsmith Con Houlihan: “A bird is known by his song, a man by his conversation.”