Colm O'Regan: 'It goes against everything I believe in to isolate my opinions from other people'

Colm O'Regan: 'It goes against everything I believe in to isolate my opinions from other people'

We are doing our darnedest to flatten the coronavirus curve. But, elsewhere, there are other curves growing exponentially.

As R-0 — the virus reproductive number — edges below one, other important numbers — P-0, the number of podcasts, and T-0, the number of people you challenge on Twitter to hit a sliotar into an egg-cup or pick your favourite albums — remain stubbornly high.

I will make no judgement about these, as I may still do them. Let’s not leave any hostages to fortune here. 

We could be indoors for a while yet. I will, however, do my best about the O-zero, which is the number of topics you give your opinion about without one iota of a clue.

I have been a super-spreader, infecting others with half-baked opinions. It’s hard, though. 

It goes against everything I believe in, to isolate my opinions from other people.

My opinions are at that age now where they are walking. They are sociable little tykes, anxious to go out and mess around.

I see something happening in the current crisis and they’re at me to let them out.

C’’mon, Colm! They’re talking about PPE, fruit picking, China, hardware shops, wet markets, Matt Damon, crowds on beaches, 5G, 4G, any of the Gs. Let us out into the world for the craic, will ya? Qualifications? Research? Don’t mind them. That’s only health and safety gone mad.

The latest one I’ve been struggling with is the Leaving Cert. That’s really hard. Because I’ve done one of those. I have some experience.

As the conversation around what to do rages, it’s all I can do to issue my comprehensive list of recommendations, based entirely on June 1996.

Luckily, I still have my diaries from that time and the thing that jumps out is just how all-consuming the Leaving Cert was. Every day, I wrote about what exam papers I did, what study I did, as well as about 1,000 words a day on how no one understood me. And that wasn’t about the Irish and French oral.

And that was 24 years ago, when there were 200 years of less fuss about the whole thing.

There was no internet or social media then. We didn’t even have a phone, so no one was ringing me, panicked about questions in section C.

Still, though, it was such an ever-present monolith, I cannot imagine what it would have been like if it were postponed for a year, or even a bit of a year.

I probably would have been devastated.

How could I wait a whole year for all the sex I was going to have in college or to be able to smoke a fag in public and not have to hide it in my pocket during small break, and finish it to the very end without five people looking for the next go off it? (I’m still talking about the cigarette here, not the … anyway.)

I mean, there were other things going to happen in college, but I am focussing on the main ones here.

I would have given short shrift to anyone who said, ‘what does it matter? You have the rest of your life’. When you are a teenager, a month is forever.

So, whatever they decide about the Leaving Cert, I’m going to quarantine my opinions, leave it to the experts and the students and try and get my O-zero below 10.

Now, if you will excuse me, two cats have caught coronavirus in New York, and I believe the universe needs to hear my take.

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