Wednesday, 01 September 2010 16:19
Our status in life is often determined by the material things one has accumulated. It may be money, land, property, boats, racehorses, helicopters or planes. These luxuries may have little bearing on the type of person one is. If one is lucky or unlucky enough they may have been left it by a rich relative who accumulated it over 60 or 70 years of hard graft.
If you are one of those who publicly flaunt your wealth you get your name and photo in the national papers or even in some glossy magazine named after yours truly. It makes for good reading if you are featured in one of those best sellers like OK or Hello.
Some of the people I'm talking about may have been worth €300 million in the boom times and without ever writing a cheque they went from being one of the top 20 richest in Ireland to be in debt to the tune of €300 million.
This then propels you into being in the top 20 poorest people in Ireland. For people who ended up in this position they probably never knew how they made €300 million and they certainly didn't know how they lost it.
On top of that they were classed as some of the shrewdest men in the business, giving €1,000 an hour talks to others on the art of being successful in business. Most of these high flyers were men. Most women in businesses in Ireland could teach these people a thing or two on how things should work. Which reminds me of a story I heard some time ago as to who is best qualified to make the decisions in the family home.
A survey was conducted in a rural village in west Cork. One simple question was asked to the housewife: Q. "Who makes the decisions in the family home?" The woman responded: A. "Well I usually make the minor decisions and himself makes the major decisions". "Could you give me an example of the decisions you make?"
"Well I would decide if we should move house from west Cork to Belmullet in Mayo or I could decide if we take our children from the local school here and send them to school in Dublin."
"Very good, so your husband makes the major decisions in the family home. Could you give me an example of some of the decisions he would preside over."
"Ya, he would decide when the Americans should get out of Iraq," which goes to show that it was men who made a balls of the country and the world.
I feel sad as a man in an almost female dominated world to have to chastise my friends in the male fraternity. You have to blame someone.
This story has nothing much to do with what I had planned to write about but like those wealthy individuals I'm writing about, you get carried away, you get influenced by bad thoughts and forget you have a brain like everyone else that doesn't think or work like everyone else. Going from being worth €300 million to being in debt to the tune of €300 million, you still might be classed as one of the top 20 richest in Ireland. In other words, ink never refuses paper.
Much of the trappings of wealth and material things took its toll on my life over the past few years, where in another era you could usually walk up the driveway to your neighbour or friends house unhindered.
That's all changed with the magic electronic gates. A great bloody invention if you were in fear of being attacked by aliens. They're great yokes to keep out travelling salesmen or gardaí coming with fines for speeding. The postman was kept out too because there was a big ignorant looking letterbox embedded in the wall with a buzzer that worked if there was someone at home to answer the buzzer.
Some months back I was invited to one friend's home who had just installed two sets of the said electronic gates. He boasted that with modern technology and a zapper fitted with a sensor he could hit the zapper walking down 5th Avenue in New York and open the gates of his home in Mayo.
I marvelled at modern technology and how well it works until I realised he could open the gates from 5th Avenue in New York but he couldn't open it while he was talking to me on the speaker from the house 100 metres away. Modern technology gone arseways.
After 45 minutes of staring at electronic gates that didn't work I decided to write a song about my experience. The fact that there was nothing to sing about, having watched The Rose of Tralee I must have been bitten by the poetic bug and I felt a poem might be more appropriate to explain my feelings about the material things in life that gave us status even when they didn't work. So stand up William Butler Yeats and say your piece:
Over the wall I try to get in
To say hello to a few of my friends
The cameras shine on me face below
I curse and swear and a few loud roars.
Keeping up with the Jones is a different thing
When you lock your neighbours outside your dream
You may be posh and you may be cool
To a friendly neighbour or a child going to school.
It was you that planned your way of life
For saunas and jacuzzis you can blame the wife
They'll be there to monuments of better times
When banks were loaded' tll the well ran dry.
Now the cows stroll in from the fields next door
They dig up the garden of grass and stone
Now my flower beds are looking crap
For the electronic gates have failed to work.