Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Last week, I wrote a column pertaining to my brother’s friend, Irish (“Irish” was his nickname). Quite simply: Irish was a character. This week, I’ll finish the topic with one more “Irish classic.”
Irish and his wife owned and operated a small bar in northern NY. His Irish heritage oozed from every pore of his body. With his Celtic brogue intact, he would hold sway and captivate anyone within earshot.
People unfamiliar with the man might think he was nothing more than a bloviating busybody with a penchant for telling tall tales of bravado. Not so! That’s not the way Irish rolled. His chronicles were as often self-deprecating – if not more so – than they were of self-boasting conquests. And they were true!
He was the quintessential story teller: With a twinkle in his eye, he could mesmerize a crowd by simply telling them what he did the night before. And, you never questioned his credibility. He’d take exception if you doubted him. (That’s key to this story.)
He enjoyed his “teas” (beer) and spoke of his binges like they were normal events in the life of any Irishman – such as, himself. He simply told it like it was.
My brother, Tim, related how Irish told him of one of his mischievous romps.
Irish started, “Oh-h, pa-a-l” (he called everyone ‘pal’) “I got pretty drunk yesterday, pal.”
Tim let him continue.
“I know I was too drunk to drive but like the blessed fool I am, pal, I tried.”
“That’s not a good idea, Irish,” Tim chided, “you should know better.”
“Oh pa-a-a-l, I know it. I didn’t go far, pal – I was only a block away at the stop light. I must have dozed for a second right there in the middle of the intersection — I didn’t realize the light had turned green and the guy behind me got on his horn.
Irish continued: “He kept tooting that bleepin’ horn, Timmy – I wasn’t happy, pal.”
Tim remained silent and let his friend go on. Irish admitted that he’d lost his cool for no good reason. And with his car still in the middle of the street – at the stop-light — he jumped out and raced back to confront the guy.
The tipsy Irishman let the man have it: (Cleaned-up version) “Don’t ya think, pal, I can see that the blippin’ light has changed. I’ve got eyes – ya blippin’ idiot! Now back off, pal!”
The man in the car looked up at Irish and said, “If you’ve got eyes, then maybe you can see the red-light flashing on the top of my black and white police car. Pull over to the side of the road – and get your license and registration out.”
In his stupor and rage, Irish had failed to notice it was the law behind him – until now. He pulled his car to the curb. And if that wasn’t enough, when the officer walked over, leaned into the window and asked the obvious, “Sir, have you been drinking?”
Irish, as bluntly honest as a mother-in-law, slurred, “Oh-h-h pa-a-a-l, you’d better believe I’ve been drinking. All day long! I’ve had more than plenty, pal – I’m as a drunk as a skunk!”
“Please step outside the vehicle, sir,” the officer advised. “I’m going to perform a field sobriety test to see if you’re legally intoxicated.”
Incredibly, Irish — offended by the officer’s doubt — fired back, “Don’t ya believe me, pal? I’ve already told ya — I’m hammered —hammered to the gills! Are ya callin’ me a liar, pal?”
Irish was one of a kind — and he’s greatly missed by his ‘pals.’ And, you can be certain of this, … there’s no doubt about that.
That’s the way it looks from the Valley.
Tom Valley is a Medina resident. His column appears every Thursday. Contact him at email@example.com.Tom Valley is a Medina resident. His column appears every Thursday. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.