January 31, 2023
News Opinion

MICHAEL WOLSEY: Heard the one about the jockey, the nun and two TDs?

We could tell which was the party house because it was festooned in balloons and banners, like people do for children’s birthdays. It didn’t seem like the host’s style and I was going to tease him about it but the door was opened, not by him, but by a mutual acquaintance from work.

So I had a drink and chatted to this guy for a while and then to a man I didn’t know who said he would have been a professional jockey if he hadn’t put on weight.

I had another drink and spoke to an interesting woman whose brother was in the Seanad and who told me a scurrilous story involving two TDs and a nun. I didn’t know her either – the story-teller, that is; obviously, I didn’t know the nun.

I had some very nice food and shuffled into the kitchen where I enjoyed a lovely glass of red wine and I thought, well, whatever about the host’s taste in balloons, his choice of wine is pretty good.

And I was going to tell him that but I couldn’t see him anywhere. So I had another glass of red and some Prosecco and thought I’d better ask someone where the host was hiding. But I couldn’t see anyone I knew; nobody at all.

My partner – more astute than me, and she hadn’t been drinking – summed up the problem with a comment as succinct as it was profound. “We’re in the wrong bloody house!”

And we should have made our excuses and left, only the woman with the brother in the Seanad introduced me to an actor who had once performed at the Abbey, or maybe it was in an abbey. Whatever. It was a very good story and I had another drink.

And my wife decided we would take a taxi home, so she had a drink too. And we had great night. And I’d really like to thank the host. If you’re reading this, I’m the guy with that devastatingly funny version of the Fields of Athenry. Yea, I thought you’d remember. Thanks for a brilliant night, whoever you are.

So, dear reader, I have some advice for you this party season. Firstly, try to find the right house. If in doubt, keep smiling, keep drinking and tell a story about two TDs and a nun.

If you’re a guest, don’t try to organise the music. Sure, Leonard Cohen was a wonderful man but he’s not to everyone’s taste when they are trying to dance a conga. And Tom Waits is not to everyone’s taste at any time.

Don’t bring booze and then insist on drinking your own because it is so superior to everyone else’s booze.

Don’t ask your host if she has any Antgostura bitters, creme de cassis or herbal tea “because I really think there’s too much drinking done at this time of year”.

Don’t talk about Brexit.

Don’t tell a man he looks like Donald Trump. Or a woman she looks like Melania Trump.  And don’t tell anyone they look like Marty Morrisey. Or sound like Joe Brolly.

And if you’re six foot four with your shoes off, don’t tell anyone you could have been a professional jockey.

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