There are are Mondays and there are Mondays, writes Colm O’Regan.
There are the mundane Mondays. You’re back at work after an amazing weekend (at least according to your Facebook updates), kite-surfing or doing an Ironman triathlon backwards through a bog. Or maybe you just had “an amazing dinner #blessed #love #family” having taken photos of the dessert.
There’s the Tuesday-Monday — the Tuesday after a bank holiday. These are worse. Although there is the consolation of the week being shorter, it’s a hollow benefit. As everyone knows, most bad things happen at work on a Tuesday and you’ve barely time to take off your out of office reply before someone knocks on your desk (you hate that) and says we have an “issue”.
If the first day back after Christmas falls on a Monday, I don’t even want to talk about that; the stale air in the room a mixture of the trace of a beery pre-Christmas exhalation and a photocopier left on for two weeks.
But for a small group of people, today is an even worse Monday. The Monday after the election they lost.
No matter who they were, I feel for them. Saturday and Sunday might have been harrowing but at least the blood was racing. Today, they wake up and realise they have to go out and restart their life and also take down posters. Those posters, expressions of hope, confidence and conviction, seem to mock them now.
Not all of them feel it as keenly. There are different types of election loser.
The first is the high-profile shock loser. Standing next to the YEAHOOOHUPYABUYYA! from the supporters of the candidate who swiped their seat.
They have to somehow get their face right in order to give an interview afterwards to the voracious media who in the era of X-Factor, want tears. What they really want to do is shout into the camera at the voters “Well **** ye so, ye ungrateful ****s after all I’ve done for ye!”
But somehow they have to maintain dignity and “respect the democratic process”.
The second group of losers are those for whom this is the start of a political career. This is a stepping stone to the future. We will see them on Prime Time in a few years’ time, not answering a question, and wonder where they came from. But they started their journey here, with a thousand votes that will be parsed and analysed and compared to the ‘reception on the doorsteps’.
But, for me the most interesting group are the first ones eliminated. They got 127 first preference votes. We never see them on the telly. They are a footnote to the announcement of the first count. The returning officer will blithely state “we will now distribute the votes of Fintan McGroorty”. No-one in the RTÉ studio will speculate on where Fintan’s transfers are going. But they should. They are surely the most interesting votes.
One fella ran in two constituencies in Dublin in Friday’s election. His biography includes the fact that he was in two porn films but he admits that “I don’t think I was any good in them”. We had a candidate one year who distributed with his leaflets, hand-drawn blueprints for inventions he had designed.
These people plough ahead undeterred by the lack of support, particularly a lack of support from proof-readers. There’s one candidate who spelled his own name wrong on the leaflet but gamely put the leaflet through letterboxes anyway. I salute you, Fergal. Or rather ‘Feral’.
In fact, I salute all of the First Count Eliminatees. They are — and I don’t throw this word around lightly — an inspiration. Not because they are a success but because they have such a strength of conviction.
They knew this was going to happen and they still went ahead and did it. They are an antidote to the perceived wisdom that you should only try what’s realistic. So I wish them all a very happy Monday.
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