Christ it’s Hallowe’en night, isn’t it? Well, either that or war has broken out. Gunships are on the Liffey. Bombardment of Dublin city centre has commenced. No, no… I’ve checked the calendar. It’s Halloween alright. Damn it. You know, I don’t mind the bonfires, the fireworks or the teenagers behaving like pack animals. Kids will be kids. They deserve to be cut some slack.
What I cannot tolerate, though, are the legions of grown adults parading around town in stupid costumes. Look at them – Barney the dinosaurs, Al Capones and Playboy bunnies. Have these people no self respect? Clearly, they don’t.
Nonetheless, I have made one concession to the evening that’s in it. It may appear that I’m wearing my regular clothes. But ask me what I’m dressed as and I will open my wallet and hand you a business card that says: “I AM A CURMUDGEON.”
It’s succinct. It’s clever. I’m sticking to my principles, but I’m doing so with a sense of humour. That’s the way I see it, at any rate.
When I get to the Bailey my friends are already there. Declan is a pirate. Linda is a chillingly realistic Sarah Palin. Aidan is Spider-Man – which is to say he’s wearing a pair of his old Spider-Man pyjamas, modified to accommodate his considerable girth. He throws a few Spider-Man shapes for me. I’m not going to lie: I can see his testicles. So can everyone else in the room.
“What are you supposed to be Eoin?” asks Tina. I hand her the card.
“What the hell is a curmudgeon?”
Linda looks me up and down.
“Are you supposed to be a tramp?” she inquires.
“I am a curmudgeon,” I explain. “I’m a bad-tempered person who chooses not to participate.”
Linda appears genuinely not to understand.
“Like a drop-out?” she suggests.
“Or a beatnik?” offers Tina.
“For God’s sake,” I explode. “These are my actual clothes!”
Tina hands Declan the card to see what he makes of it. He reads it out loud.
“Sylvester Ganley – Plumbing and Heating Specialist…”
He looks at me quizzically.
“You’re reading the wrong side of the card” I tell him. “Read the other side. I’m a curmudgeon!”
“What’s that then?”
“Oh forget it. Just forget it.” I pick up his discarded eye patch and put it on. “Look, I’m a pirate. Same as you.”
“Cool. We can be pirate buddies. You wanna be pirate buddies?”