Us Irish (The drinkers amongst us anyway!), we really are unique. For instance; everything big or small that happens to us in life, we turn to ‘the drink’. Someone gets married, someone dies, you pass an exam, you fail an exam, a loved one leaves Ireland, a loved one returns to Ireland, a win or a loss in a sporting event, a birthday, a christening. Any auld excuse and somebody in the huddle suggests “a sure we’ll go for a few pints” and off we go. What really typifies our mind-set is the shenanigans that occurs in the month of December.
December, jaysus it’s a mad aul’ month isn’t it!? It really is an amazing time of the year for a lot of reasons. The people you care about arrive home from every corner of the world. From Sydney, Perth, London, Canada, New York and Dubai, to put the feet up, have a hot whiskey and just chat about everything and anything; “Told ya the Dubs would win Sam, Da!” Although let’s be honest we do tend to spend a lot of this time down in the local skulling pints and telling tales of the year gone by, which in fairness is what makes us Irish so unique.
Now, don't get me wrong, there is the sensible crowd amongst us. Those who avoid the hangovers, the fear and the mistakes; the clever group one might say! Then there is the breed of us who enjoy the pints and craic like there is no tomorrow. We mad eggs would generally spend 2 or 3 days of each week in December on the beer. Now I mean flat to the mat on the beer, some of us could go four days if you’re a proper Shane McGowan, in great form pissed drunk having the time of your life.
We fill our December days soaking up every last bit of craic thinking everything is pure gravy, saying to yourself "Jaysus ya cant bate Christmas, I love the pints, sure this is mighty craic, God your man is sound, your wan is sound, I love life”. Drinking the poor head off yourself, using any auld excuse to go for pints.
“Did ya hear Ciaran’s home from Oz!?”…“You’re messing!!?”… “Nope, the mad man said nothing to no one, just arrived in from Perth this morning, nearly gave poor auld Betty a heart-attack, I’ll tell ya something, he’s in great shape from working on the sites, big brown shiny head on him and all”… “no wayyyyyy, a sure we’ll have to hit town so, haven’t seen Ciaran in years!”
Then there is the days around Christmas when you have absolutely no reason on earth to drink porter, one of the gang will say “ah feck this lads, it’s Christmas, I’m going down to Dicey’s for a scoop, sure I’m off it for good in January!” This craic would last for usually the 3 days till your body hits a wall “nah lads I’m in an awful heap, Die hard 2 is on da box tonight, so I’m staying low, get an auld Domino’s, recharge the batteries for Stephen’s day!”.
Unfortunately though, everything that goes up must come down. You spend the next 3 days fairly feckin depressed sitting on the couch bored senseless scratching you’re arse. Not only that but you’ll be rooting through the box of Celebrations and sure of course the day you’re having there will only be poxy aul squashed bounty’s left in the shagging tin ‘a for jaysus sake Maaa, who ate all the sweets!!?’. Around then your mind will have a chat with you in the lines of ”I really am a useless whoor, Ireland's facked, I need to sort my life out and cop on, I’ve no money, that drink is no good for me!". What normally gets you through this down time is knowing that Kevin from Killbeggan is in the same boat as yourself - pure raging with the carry-on of himself over the past few days, as is Liam from Letterkenny, Bobby from Ballymun and Big Tim from Tullamore.
Ahh but ya see folks, then there is the one day smack bang in the middle of this hectic schedule when you’re in a solid state of mind with no drink in the system, saying to yourself in an upbeat manner "ahh sure feck it, I'm an ordinary man, I'll drive on with life in the new year and hopefully get a bit of luck down the road, I’ll be grand, sure there’s plenty like me". On that very same day, sometime in the afternoon while you’re half way through watching Ghostbusters you’ll get the famous "goo" for a few pints and a bit of craic with the lads, so you slip on the drinking boots and off out the door with you! “Mon, ya right Bosco, we go for a few pints, sure it’s Christmas!”.
Well, personally I'm happy with this hectic up and down routine for the festive season. So be sure to realise when you do come across the last mangled bounty in the tin of celebrations while you’re flicking through the channels to find nothing but pure scutter on the box and you feel that nothing is going right, that there are plenty more in the same boat.
So all I’ll say is just beat off the demons during the sober days, because the absolute craic you will have with friends and relations during those 2 or 3 days of the week inhaling porter is what Christmas is all about.
Role on the craic, the singsongs, the heart to hearts and the memories!!
Happy Christmas Everyone!