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A Different View

Scientists find friends aren’t forever after all

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What a lineout: Connacht rugby players Eoin McKeon, Bundee Aki and Conor Finn, with Jake Treacy and Sinéad Ní Choistealbha at the launch of National 'Sunflower Day' which takes place on Friday in aid of hospice services throughout Ireland. All funds raised in County Galway go directly to Galway Hospice.

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Bad news for those of you reading this and who are over 25 – whatever circle of friends you’ve constructed by now, that, I’m afraid, is as good as it’s going to get.

Because 25 has been identified as the age when your quantity of friends reaches its peak – whatever about the quality of them.

You build them up through school and college, you socialize more before the onset of small children; you’re free to enjoy life, meet up for drinks as many nights of the week as you choose, and the world is your oyster.

After all, it gets trickier and more expensive to keep up that social whirl; babysitters don’t grow on trees and crèche fees can prove dearer than the mortgage.

Move on a stage further when, not alone are you not the one enjoying the nights out, but whatever few bob might fund that return to the social stage now goes on supporting your own children’s nights on the town – so it’s home alone for the old folks.

Like a graph, it’s all on the rise until you’re 25 and then it’s downhill from there to the finishing strait.

In fairness it should be pointed out that this is primarily in relation to friends on social media, which probably suggests this is really the age you acquire friends who actually exist.

Chirping away through your thumb and phone isn’t really a sign of friendship as we used to define it – and even social media’s most earnest supporters wouldn’t suggest that a contact via the internet is the same thing as an actual friend.

There was a wonderful cartoon of a widow at her husband’s funeral in a cavernous church, with only one other mourner in situ.

“I deliberately picked a Church this big,” laments the weary widow. “I thought there’d be a huge crowd because he has over a thousand friends on Facebook.”

But this scientific survey relied on the phone records of more than 3.2 million mobile users in Europe, which were then analysed by researchers at Aalto and Oxford universities.

They found that those aged 25 and under talked more to friends than any other age group. But older people spent more of their free time socialising with a small group of family or friends.

In other words, younger people had a lot more friends in a parallel universe while older people actually met the people they were friends with.

The downside for all of course is that you lose friends as you grow older – through no fault of your own. It’s commonly known as death.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

 

Connacht Tribune

Stay young by making sure you don’t let the old man in!

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Clint Eastwood is 91 years old, and he’s been acting since 1955. He’s been directing for half a century since Play Misty for Me – and he released his latest movie in the latter half of last year.

If you’ve seen Cry Macho, you can also see he’s slowed down – although he still throws a punch and rides a horse better than a man three or four decades younger.

But it’s his philosophy regarding old age that is even more inspiring than his stellar career.

A couple of years back, he was asked how he planned to celebrate his 88th birthday.

“I am going to start a new movie,” he replied.

“What keeps you going?” he was asked.

“I get up every day and don’t let the old man in.”

And therein lies the secret – Clint doesn’t know or acknowledge that he’s 88 or 91 or any age other than the one he clings to in his head.

He may well be the oldest man to both star and direct a major motion picture – but the former Mayor of Carmel has no time for retrospection because there’s more work to be done.

Not everyone can be so philosophical of course because physical and mental health can bring the most optimistic of us to our knees.

But if you think young, you might just pull it off.

I’ve an aunt and uncle who deliver the Meals on Wheels around their part of South County Dublin, volunteering a day or two a week to bring hot food to old people who cannot easily get out of their own home.

Both my aunt and uncle are comfortably into their eighties; it’s just that they don’t think like that.

Of course they minded themselves during Covid, but as far as the Meals on Wheels logistics went, this must meant leaving the meals on the porch and ringing the doorbell before moving back a safe distance so as not to compromise the recipient.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Worst part of Covid is the cover-up of smiles

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

It was John Prine who famously sung about his illegal smile – although in his case, it was a reference into happiness that might have been helped on its way with a contribution from artificial stimulants.

These days smiling isn’t illegal of course, but because, for the most part, you have to do it behind a face covering, it makes it kind of tricky – and difficult to spot.

That’s not entirely true obviously, because we are allowed to walk the streets with faces uncovered even if quite a number opt to leave their mask on.

But while we’re not going to pick of fight with the anti-maskers any more than we would be the anti-vaxxers – or people who shout and shake their fists at the wind generally (or Novak Djokovic or even his mother) – we can lament the lack of visible facial expression that’s the consequence of a cover-up.

It’s ironic of course as well to mention John Prine and Covid in the one piece, because it was Covid that robbed the music world of his unique talent. And that should be another good reason to protect ourselves from suffering the same fate.

It’s only some days that you’d miss seeing a smile, because we know that the mask can help save lives – but how sad it is that such a casual and fleeting greeting has to be hidden.

The one thing is that you can at least still tell genuine smilers from forced ones – because their eyes light up; they still twinkle over their mask.

The fake smilers only ever moved their lips; their smiles never made it past the nose – more of a grimace than a greeting.

So now all of that happens unbeknownst to the rest of the world – and we’re none the wiser because it doesn’t rise to embrace their entire face.

Mask wearing has been a drag for almost everyone – except curmudgeons and publicity-shy For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

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

Times have changed – and you just can’t beat a leftie anymore

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

When I say proudly that I was possibly one of the first generation of lefties to survive after a long era of extermination, it’s not an admission of some shady Soviet Union past.

The lefties in this case were the citogs; the children who wrote with their left hands – and we were among the first five-year-olds not to have it literally beaten out of us.

Now the stats show that around one in ten people is left-handed – among them Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, JK Rowling, Tom Cruise, Bob Geldof and Robert di Niro for a start.

There were always left-handers of course, because the Irish primary school system didn’t stretch to all corners of the world and therefore some people didn’t have their left hand tied behind their backs to force them to ‘write properly’.

And obviously this wasn’t just an Irish phenomenon; the frequency of left-handed writing in the US, for example, was just over two per cent in 1932, but, once the restraining and slapping stopped, it rose to over eleven per cent by 1972.

JFK was a leftie in this sense – as, coincidently, was Marilyn Monroe – along with Aristotle, Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Reubens, Caesar, Einstein, Bonaparte, Churchill and Jack the Ripper.

But for generations, the world really only wanted right-handed writers; sometimes because they believed that left-handers were, quite literally, unclean.

In some parts of the world – in order to preserve cleanliness where sanitation was an issue – people used their right hand, their dominant hand, for eating, handling food, and social interactions.

The left hand would then be used for personal hygiene, specifically after urination and defecation.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

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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