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A Different View

Expect nothing and you won’t be disappointed

Dave O'Connell

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Young stiltwalkers show their skills during the Saint Patricks Day parade in Galway. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnesy.

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

The last thing I ever won was a raffle for a cowboy hat and plastic rifle in the old Convent Primary School in Oughterard.

On the basis that we went to what was then the brand-new St Cummin’s Boys School around 1971 – and this old Convent classroom predated that – it means I haven’t had a win of any significance in 45 years.

And even then my lasting memory of the rifle is that my brother broke it on me – literally on me, as in, across my back.

Even if black cowboy hats with white saddle stitching ever did become a fashion item, there’s no doubt that my head has swelled to an extent that it wouldn’t keep the rain off my bald patch.

In fairness, I’ve won the odd fiver on a Lotto ticket and an occasional spot prize at a social along the way – although even then, by the time my ticket has come up, the array of prizes are usually down to cheap sherry and dubious garden implements.

So on reflection, I wouldn’t say I’ve been overly bothered by Lady Luck.

I’ve never had a near-miss on the Lotto; never won a holiday or a new car in any of the many big GAA club draws I’ve been cajoled into buying tickets for, and me buying scratch cards only increases the odds on winning for everyone else.

Marriage precludes us from entering all of those competitions on RTE where they’re giving away thousands in cash, cars and holidays of a lifetime.

They should actually lift that ban because it wouldn’t cost them a penny – if anything it would add to the coffers given the cost of those premium calls to enter.

And still, in a triumph for eternal optimism over reality, I go on thinking that the law of averages means my day must come at some stage, all the while knowing that’s never going to happen.

Every time there’s a big Lotto jackpot – like most other workplaces – there’s a collection for a euro or two to increase our collective chances.

You’re more than happy to trouser up for that for two reasons – firstly it would be nice to win a decent sum of money, but secondly would you really want to be the only one left in the office when the rest of them are sitting on a beach in Cancun?

And yet part of me knows that by merely being part of this loosely-established syndicate, I’ve probably cost the rest of them their chance of a small fortune; they’d be better off taking their chances and asking Jonah to join.

The newsroom of the Clonmel Nationalist in Tipperary, on the other hand, has won the Lotto jackpot – not once but twice.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

It’s alright to admit life and work can bore you to tears

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

In all fairness, who hasn’t, on occasion, found their life or their work utterly, mind-numbingly boring? Who wouldn’t have willingly stuck needles in their eyes just to inject a bit of a buzz into the monotony?

Good for you if the answer is ‘not me’ – but for those who admit that they’re sometimes bored out of their trees, meet your new role model; Frenchman Frédéric Desnard, who sued his employers….for being bored.

Not just that – he sued them, and walked away with €50,000 in compensation.

Frédéric worked as a manager at a perfume manufacturer at the Paris-based perfume company Interparfum, but he told the court he had been asked to do between 20 and 40 minutes’ work a day in return for his €80,000 annual salary.

For the other 99.9 per cent of the population, that’s a dream job right there, once you could cope with the smell – but Frédéric knew there was more to life than seven solitary hours a day spent twiddling his thumbs.

The 48-year-old used the word ‘placardiser’ to describe what had happened to him; in literal English that means ‘to be put in a cupboard’ – or ‘to be put aside’.

And where others might have claimed they were suffering from burn-out, Frédéric had been destroyed by extreme ‘bore-out’.

To be fair, Frédéric was a man of rare principle; he told the court he was employed as a manager, but was soon relegated to four years of menial tasks which left him ‘depressed and ashamed’.

He gave the court some examples of the type of ‘boring’ jobs he was given, like configuring the CEO’s tablet and escorting tradesmen at his boss’s home.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Connacht Tribune

Using proper punctuation is not aggressive – full stop

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

In fairness, text messaging was never designed for us oldies; we’re of a time when poor handwriting got you a whack across the knuckles – and woe betide you if you left out the full stop.

It was the late, great Con Houlihan who famously said that a man who could misuse an apostrophe was capable of anything – and he didn’t mean it in a good way.

How he’d hold his head in his hands if he were still around for the world of texting; actually, that’s not a great analogy, because Con had a habit of covering his face with his hands all the time anyway.

But for Con – who never typed and whose handwriting was a spidery scrawl where each A4 page usually fitted no more than three sentences – punctuation was everything.

His halcyon days were in the Evening Press where, by common consensus, his work was so erudite and original that a swathe of readers bought the paper to just enjoy his column alone.

Later on, after the demise of the Press, he moved to the Sunday World and later the Irish Star, where he brought the same scholarly discipline to his every piece.

Con never darkened the door of the Star but instead his column – a raft of loose pages – would be dropped in by hand, then typeset and redelivered to him for proofing and approval.

And if a comma was lost or added, a semi-colon found where he insisted a colon should be, Con would spot it quicker than a cat would spot a mouse – and he’d pounce with even greater speed and purpose.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app

The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Turf love provides the smell of the summer on candle front

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

The big seller locally in the world of candles this year doesn’t have essence of lavender or vanilla or eucalyptus infused to its wick to engage your scent. No – this year the scent of choice is that aroma of pure Irish turf.

And for around €12 – or the price of a bag or two of the real stuff – you get a small candle in something the size of an old tobacco tin, which, when lit, radiates the smell of a turf fire.

All of which is wonderful and evocative and a memory of halcyon days at home – or alternatively the very smell that you’ve spent half your life trying to get out of your nostrils.

I’m sure it’s big in America – where actual turf is probably harder to find than gold – or in high-rise apartment blocks where you can marry the scent of the candle with a video of a real fire on your wall-mounted, flat-screen television to give you an artificial yet authentic taste of home.

There was a time when candles just smelled of candles, before they were nothing at all if they weren’t laced with the essence of this, that or the other.

There was a time when candles were almost exclusively for church use, because our forebears had discovered the joys of electric light. And given that rural electrification is still in living memory for some, using candles by night when you had lights burning bright might be seen as lacking a modern outlook.

Of course, everything turns full circle; just as the notion of having exposed floorboards – when you could have Lino – would have once been seen as an indication that you didn’t have the cash to fully furnish your house.

But now, sanded floorboards are back and so too are candles, only now they come with so many scents and smells that you’re either spoiled for choice or tied up in knots.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app

The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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