An Early Childhood: Chapter Nine Part Two



CHAPTER NINE: THE CALL TO ARMS BY LORD KITCHENER, AND AN OVERVIEW OF MY LIFE DURING THE EASTER RISING, THE WAR OF INDEPENDENCE, AND THE IRISH CIVIL WAR (PART TWO)
Continued from Chapter 9 Part 1.

                Now, I won’t go into my own politics. I prefer to avoid the political quagmires that such talk engenders among my Irish brethren. As you can naturally discern, I prefer to tell tales of when I was a lad, the poverty we were living in, of how we stole a big tray of doughnuts from Mr Baker on Main Avenue and went running off down the road with the doughnuts affixed to a piece of string, tying them onto the back of Mark Flearty’s wedding carriage.
                Or when we were walking across Main Demesne and we stumbled across a cache of arms and ended up taking statistic pleasure in shooting the rabbits and we killed 42.6 % of the rabbits that we shot outright and little Samuel Clarke got his little head blown off his shoulders by mistake.

                Or – if we are to touch on Ireland’s Problems, if only incidentally – when Daragh Fitzpatrick was hailed as a local hero for uncovering a rather dangerous mine in the vicinity of Mr McShocknessy’s farmhouse in the Gortnamassey Townland. Little Daragh was awarded a medal from Judge Rarely-Smyled. Daragh’s legs were fetched from the roof of the farmhouse by the local fire brigade and put in the museum and he went to the hospital and the good Indian Corkman Doctor Singh removed his testicles from his nostrils and restored them to their rightful place in the area of his gruan.

                I have a lot of pride in my heart when I tell of the time when we were on the Main Down with the Boy Scouts and we played ‘Pick your nose and eat it, Eugene’, and I won, having run all the four miles to the Main Road, left, then right and straight into the deed poll registry office in Main Avenue to change my name, to wit Eugene, thence returning to the Down immediately, finger in my nose before I reached the grassy plain, one lad, Rocky ‘The Rock’ Tumulty five seconds in front of me, and by the time I reached the Down he still had his picking to do, but I was already prepared with a fingernail full of the stuff, and I showed it proudly to the adjudicators before scraping it onto my teeth, Rocky only getting down to the picking at that stage. And the decision was made; although nobody had seen me in the act of nose-picking, everyone agreed that there had been snot on my finger, and my argument went that nobody in their right mind would eat somebody else’s snot. So it was decided that it was my own snot and that I had won the race fair and square, Rocky ‘The Rock’ Tumulty be damned. Of course, I changed my name back to Paddy as soon as I won my ‘Pick your nose and eat it, Eugene’ badge, but if you ever do meet a fellow called Eugene, you can be pretty sure he was a member of the Thirty-Seventh Brigade.


I prefer then, as you can gather, the less potentially offensive and more innocuous style of anecdotal storytelling, than the ramming of politics down the throats of my readers. I do have to say though, that Lord Kitchener didn’t have much of a profound effect on me until much later in my life.
                Neither did I get caught up in the Easter Rising, as I didn’t feel that it was my cup of tea as I was only just nearly out of BabyGros and nappies. The whole idea of holding a revolution at Easter and the notion that men were sacrificing their lives for their nation – just as God had sacrificed his Son for humanity – it was all a bit too symbolic and blasphemously facetious for my liking, and I’d learned my lesson with the crucerfixion of poor Brother Lefty. But the execution of my contemporaries in that revolt repulsed me to such an extent that I immediately became an active member of the nationalist movement. Anyway, more about the Easter Rising later in this exegesis of my life.
                As an undercover operative, I infiltrated a Protestant political party known as the Anti-Katholic League, or Ankle, as it was acrimoniously titled. You see, the Protestants had to spell the name of their organisation in such a way that the letter K was used for the word Catholic, but those bedevilled pseudo-Christians didn’t give two left peas on a plate after dinner how Catholic was spelled as long as they looked clever oh begorrah. Kingsley Kipling, the leader of the movement, addressed us one night at the fifth Ankle conference, known as the Finkle, insisting on a scourge which would wipe out a number of Catholics for good because, according to his design, they would ultimately have fits and heart attacks. He addressed his audience of Protestants as follows:
                “I advocate a general strike into the heart of Dobbling Village with a full scale assault on the
                senses of the Catholics, we’ll make them change their tune.
                We should show them pictures of Mary and Joseph in the throes of passion, that will make
                them faint and swoon.”
I was shocked at what I’d overheard, of course; the psychical ramifications of any such idolatrous deviancy would result in the certifiability of even the most lapsed and alcoholic Catholic, so I knew I had to get back to warn the resistance cell.
                The resistance cell was in a prison, which is from where the term ‘cell’ originates. The prisoners held there pretended to be prisoners, but they came and went as they pleased, thanks to a hole in the cell wall covered by a poster of Mae Wisht that led through the sewers for the length of seven Gaelic football fields and out into the River Shandy.

Continued in Part 3 of this chapter.