2021 Grateful 24: Rant by a fool

The inimitable Pat Browne moved on this week and my world will be a lot less colourful without him. We were in school together many lifetimes ago and had reconnected over the 30-year school reunion that I missed.

Pat was a fine cut of a man who took a Clooney sort of pride in the way he dressed. His son, Philip, when talking at the funeral, described his dad describing himself as a man about town. Watching from Hungary, I laughed. In my mind’s eye, I saw him the last time I’d seen him, looking like he’d just come off a shoot for GQ, carrying himself like a man with a Lamborghini parked outside. Browne. Pat Browne.

He had a wicked sense of humour and a great knack for humourous ranting. I’d tried repeatedly to get him to write them down in one place, figuring they’d give Roddy Doyle’s Two Pints a run for their money.

Wouldn’t it be just brilliant to have the ability, to have the gift of being able to put a smile back on the face of people, if only for a fleeting moment? I have not put pen to paper since I left school/college and it is only since I joined Facebook that I have discovered that I actually like writing. […] Thoughts come into my head and just want to write about them. I start and don’t know when to stop. […] I don’t think I would operate if asked to do something in a structured way; I just write as I go.

I tried. I did. But he wasn’t having it. I collected some of his rants myself, just in case he ever left FB and they got lost in the ether. I’m glad I did. What better way to remember a friend than with a smile on my face 🙂

He wrote this in October 2013. It’s not a rant, even if he titled it that way. And he was certainly no fool. He wrote it about me. It’s in my go-to file for those days when I need a lift. And Pat, it never fails to make me smile. Thank you.

Rant by a fool

As the song says

“One night only, one night only

that’s all I have to spare

One night only, one night only

let’s not pretend to care”
Who was I to argue, and so it was that I looked forward to last Thurs night and meeting the cailín deas from Firmount. S__ flagged an 8 o clock kick-off but if I was there at 8, I would have to be carried out of Jones’s in a bucket (a JCB bucket that is ).

They say it is a girl’s prerogative to be late for a date or is it a wedding but anyone who knows me will tell you that I have created a trademark for being late going back a lifetime. The plan was to arrive in Jones’s about 9 ish with the emphasis on the ish rather than the 9.

Into the shower about 8.50, out, quick shave , going well then the call went up from JC_ bleating “We are all in Jones’s, where are you?”

Better get a move on I thought. On with the glad rags. Did my bum look big in this, hell yes, but after being scowled at by JP_ about going on about weight during my last rant, I decided my bum was like the male version of Beyonce Knowles or Jennifer Lopez: pert and solid.

With the ish becoming more ishish I sucked it in, closed the top button and strode out the door like a turkey being chased by the family pet.

Anyways, I think it was about 9.30 when I got to Jones’s and sure enough the gang were all in situ. Now 30 years ago Mary Murphy had the most beautiful smile and and deep brown eyes that just pulled you in and as I walked over, a great song by smokie came to mind

“Well she looked at me with those dark brown eyes” and as I took her hand “she whispered asta la vista”. I don’t know what she meant but I kissed her. As I gave her the standard welcoming peck on the cheek, I couldn’t help but feel the dead man’s grip she had of my right hand. Bitch ! I so wanted to pinch her bum.

I haven’t seen Mary since she and I were 17 and 30 years is 30 years but I have to say she looked well for 52. We got drinks and settled in for a night of talking old and new and through a self-induced alcohol haziness I seem to remember Mary getting stuck into me in a slagging way about a remark I made to her all those years ago stating that everyone thought she was a snob.

I could have chosen my words more carefully as one thing for defo Mary Murphy is no snob but there was and is “something about Mary” which marked her out from the rest. Mary is not your ordinary 5/8, she just seems to have an aura about her that is just hard to explain. She is excellent company intelligent, witty and full of great little stories of her travails around the world where she has achieved great things everywhere she has being.

As the night went on she produced an envelope and told me to have a look in it. I found it in my bottom drawer she said. Well me heart went into a flutter as I thought she was giving me a little keepsake to put under the pillow for the lonely winter nights only to find when I opened it feckin photographs of days long gone and I couldn’t even see the feckers properly without “the glasses”.

E_ was his usual self, slaging and skitting at every opportunity and in his own way is equaling engaging company. (But jaysus without the aura, at one stage there was an aura about him though but I think he blamed a bad pint). He wasn’t too impressed when slagging the Dublin transport system and he queried where in Dublin would you even find a sign for Dame Street to be told “On Dame Street”.

Mary lamented being unable to attend our rave on the 9th and we made plans to get together over Xmas and now I even see S_ touting a weekend in Budapest to celebrate St. Pats. In conclusion we had a lovely couple of hours together and it was a pleasure to meet up with you again Mary after all this time. I think and hope you enjoyed yourself also. With all the bad press Facebook gets, this is one of the nicer stories. if this is a prelude to the 9th then bring it on.

As we were leaving another film came to mind as I could have sworn I saw Mary point a finger at me, wink and mime “asta la vista. BABY”

30 years is 30 years in any man’s language but FUCKIT I’M IN.

That I have blue eyes is neither here nor there. He had to explain the whole 5/8 thing as I know I’m 5/5. And cheeky sod, putting me at 52 in 2013! Sadly, Pat never did make it to Budapest. But he did succeed in putting a smile on my face.

Rest in peace, my friend. Ní bheidh do leithéid arís ann.

* Disclaimer: I lifted the photo from the reunion website. If life were fair, Pat would have grown old and into the seanachaí he was destined to be. Our loss is heaven’s gain.

2 Responses

  1. Lovely stuff, but I too was getting confused by the brown eyes bit, and the age thing – thanks for the clarification. And now I know what a seanachaí is…

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