Tuesday, 25 December 2012
Merry Christmas - Irish Style
I had a bit of a moment this morning. I was pondering equality - trying to eat white and black pudding in the same proportions when Mass began in earnest, broadcast live from the local church. I thought about the attendees, wondering if they included the couple who were arguing loudly beneath the window of my hotel last night as to the state of their sex life.
“Everyone does it, you’re just being awkward”.
“NO THEY DON’T and stop trying to make me feel bad for not wanting to put that YOKE in my gob”.
I wondered if the congregation included the man from the night before who was running amok with mistletoe, to the point where hotel staff had to interject and ask him to sit down because ‘no’ was not a feature of his somewhat limited vocabulary. Of course the beauty of Catholicism is, you can do what you want provided you confess all, preferably before you arrive at the pearly gates with the traditional English and Scots man. So, a few Hail Marys later (add one Glory Be if you’re going for canonisation) and no-one minds a bit of harassment, what with the season that’s in it. Besides, women on the west coast don’t take any prisoners. Around here there’s no such thing as legal action or any such nonsense, it’s knock your assailant out with one clean punch and then back to the bar, before they call last orders or worse, before you forget how many Hail Marys you owe. Incidentally, man with mistletoe made to come over in my general direction but I pulled myself up to my full height in kick ass boots, leather trousers and my newly acquired long leather coat and there was a sudden screech of brakes. Faced with a woman who resembled a curious hybrid of Leather Face and an extra from The Matrix, I’d back off an’ all.
It’s truly wonderful here though, the people are so welcoming and loving, indeed I’ve had my hand shaken until my upper arm started to seriously discolour. The greetings and sayings we have are fantastic. How to win instant popularity is to answer an enthusiastic greeting in our native tongue, which is very possibly where I went wrong with mistletoe man. ‘Dia dhuit’ is an everyday ‘hello’ and literally translated means ‘God be with you’. The answer is ‘Dia is Mhuire dhuit’, which means ‘God and Our Lady be with you’.
Where these wonderful Irishisms run into trouble is when they are translated into English, and the phrase ‘lost in translation’ comes to mind. “Happy Christmas to ye, and many more of them”. To me that reads as follows; ‘have a wonderful Christmas and like, I hope you don’t die very soon’. I’m sure the originator of that phrase would turn in his peaty, watery grave if he heard that contemporary usage.
Of course, real Catholics take approximately forty five minutes to swear, none of your ‘f’ words here. You can literally wander off and make a cup of coffee, before coming back to see if they’re finished. ‘Sweet sacred heart of divine suffering son of eternally glorious virginal ….. ad infinitum’.
Tonight’s mission then, is to go real life trolling. I’m going to see if I can elicit the longest curse in Irish history and record it for posterity. They’ll thank me in the long run, a spot on The Late Late Show awaits.