A woman begged my pardon the other night, while I was out, enjoying a quiet pint.
She was wondering why I hadn’t put my name forward as a candidate in the elections on May 24.
“You’re a great man for getting cross and agitated,” says she, laughing heartily.
“My dear woman,” says I, for I was far from agitated at that juncture, having swung several pints down the hatch. “There’s a lot more to being a county councillor than simply getting agitated.”
“Oh, I know,” says she, “but I think you’re gas.”
“No,” says I, “I don’t think so. For I haven’t the time to scratch myself, never mind aim my sights at high office.”
After taking a sup from my glass, I continued, “Where would I find the time?” I asked, “and I worn out from running after half-castrated bullocks? Who would look after the farm, if I became a servant of the people?
“As the good book says, ‘no one can serve two masters’. I can’t run the farm and the country,” I declared.
Highly impressed by my response, the lady left me and my friends to our drinks, and I was glad she did. For, if I can be frank with you, I had told her a pack of lies.
The reason I wouldn’t go for election this time round has nothing at all to do with me being busy.
What busy? Sure, for goodness sake, for the little I do, I could get any half-wit to look after the farm.
Yerra, no, but I didn’t want to be broadcasting the true reason in a public house.
The real reason I’m not running as a candidate is because I’m certain sure I wouldn’t get a single solitary vote. And I’ll tell you why.
I don’t have the face to get elected. I didn’t tell the lady this the other night, for I didn’t want the whole parish blabbing about it.
But I’ll tell you today, on condition that you keep it to yourself.
I don’t have the face to carry the votes. And I don’t mean that I’m terribly ugly or anything of that nature.
No, in a certain light, at a great distance, if you looked at me without your glasses, I could pass for a handsome ruffian.
What I’m talking about here is my glum and downbeat expression.
I’m not the possessor of a happy face.
I haven’t smiled in about 10 years .
The last time I smiled was on the day I got this job with the paper. And that was it.
These days, with all the trouble in farming, there is little reason to be cheerful.
And on every pole, tree and branch, this May, hangs a happy face. Each candidate, happier than the last.
I couldn’t muster such a smile if my life depended on it, never mind an election.
My election poster would most likely be of a crying man. Or perhaps one with my arms outstretched, and I seeking solace, or some class of handout.
Sure, who would vote for the likes of that?
And staying on the subject of the shiny, happy political posters.
Why are they all so happy and content, this time round?
Do they know something we don’t?
Are we in line for a windfall of some nature? Are the potholes about to be filled?
Has Leo purchased tickets all round to see Kylie Minogue? Is Phil Hogan about to retire?
What has got them all so chuffed and happy with themselves?
Will we ever know?
The simple truth is that politics today is brim-full of shiny, happy people, and I could never be one of them.