Denis Lehane: Nothing special for the birthday VIP

Yesterday evening as I left the ploughing fields of Laois, there could surely have been no sadder man in Ireland.

And it wasn’t the ploughing that had me blowing my nose and shedding tears, it was all because I felt totally forgotten.

Yesterday, Wednesday, September 23, was my birthday. A day when you’d expect all manner of nice things to come your way. 

Alas for me, I was up in Laois, with a big fat nothing. 

‘’Twould have been far better for me had I stayed back home on my farm in Kilmichael.

And to think I arrived there in the morning, full of excitement and wonder at the prospect of what might be on store for the birthday boy. 

You would presume that there could be no better place for a fellow of my standing to celebrate his birthday than at the National Ploughing Championships.

Not wanting to blow my own trumpet or anything, but I’m fairly famous now in the agricultural field. Yerra, after all my years of writing, my name has spread far and wide. 

So you’d think that Anna May herself would have arranged to have a pipe band serenade me on my arrival. That, I’m sad to report, did not happen.

I waited patiently for hours outside the National Ploughing HQ, anticipating the arrival of my birthday cake. 

At any moment, I expected the doors would be flung open and this gigantic birthday cake would be wheeled out. With 45 flaming candles crowning the monster, I expected the ploughing would come to a standstill. 

And then from the cake’s centre, I had imagined the likes of Sharon Ní Bheoláin might pop out and, landing a mighty kiss on me, wish me all the best on my big day. I wasn’t looking for too much, really.

And did this happen? It did, in me backside.

But it wasn’t only the National Ploughing Association that let me down badly, Facebook too gave me the cold shoulder. 

At about half four yesterday morning, before I left for Laois, I checked out my Facebook page to see how many of my friends had wished me well on my big day. 

Not one. Not one of my so called “Friends” had bothered, and my birthday already four and a half hours underway.

Facebook? More like Arsebook if you ask me. I will be unfriending the world of people over the coming days.

Look, I’m 45 years old now and damn it all, the way I’m going, there can’t be too many more years left. Sure, I might have the physique of a man half my age. 

And when you look at me in a certain light, from a handy distance, it has been said that I can pass for a windswept George Clooney. 

But all this is of little benefit, because at the end of the day, handsome or not, the hours are on the clock. I won’t be around for ever.

The only comfort I got at all this year was a single solitary birthday card that arrived in the post on Tuesday. From an anonymous source, the card admittedly was a bit on the saucy side, but never-the-less, the effort was made. I found it very moving to receive such a thing. Thank you, my friend.

However, as for the rest of ye, with yer fancy ploughing and yer fancy Facebook, I was let down badly.

I was left ploughing the lonely furrow up there in Laois.


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