Eoin Butler: writer, journalist and Mayoman of the Year

Tripping Along The Ledge


Published: Mongrel magazine, December 2007

Mind That Child!

with Eoin Butler

Life’s no picnic for a mild-mannered, self-deprecating, sound as a pound, suburban stay-at-home Dad… Just ask old muggins here! When our two were born, I decided to opt out of the rat race and become their full time primary care giver. Somehow, it just felt right. Also, I’d been stealing large quantities of office supplies over a number of years, so it seemed prudent to quit while I was ahead. Friends and family reckoned I was “mad”, “gone in the head” and “certifiably insane”. Who knows, maybe they were right. But one thing’s for sure, with our pair of teeny tearaways around, life’s certainly never dull!

The elderest started junior infants this September and seems to have inherited her old man’s attitude to schoolwork. She doesn’t like it – not one bit! I tried pitching in the other day, reading stories and helping with her sums. But she told me to go fuck myself and stick my story up my hole. When I upbraided her for her naughty language, she rang the guards and told them that I had tried to molest her.

Needless to say, when Herself got home from work that evening to find the little ones taken into care, muggins here banged up in the sex offenders wing of Mountjoy Prison and the table not even set for dinner… Well, suffice to say, there were ructions!

The younger is much more docile than her big sister. The old ladies cooed and made a big fuss over her in the supermarket the other day. But she just stared back at them glassy-eyed, with a vacant grin on her face. That night after I tucked her in, I found syringes under the cot and noticed that several valuables from around the house (including a car stereo) were missing.

Now I don’t like to jump to any premature conclusions. But it was starting to look like my little angel might be a Grade A smackhead!

Time for superdad to whirl into action… The day after the sexual molestation case was dismissed, I sat the eldest down for some open and honest dialogue. In simple, non-judgemental terms, I explained that what she did was wrong and very hurtful. The policemen tasered Daddy, I explained. Then they put him into a cell with a man who tried to make Daddy his new girlfriend.

(I didn’t mention anything about the canteen stabbing, since Daddy probably should have known to show the Aryan Brotherhood more respect.)

The younger’s opiate addiction, however, could not be fixed with a simple heart-to-heart. My first idea was to let her go cold turkey in the playpen. Unfortunately, she escaped onto the roof and threw slates at the fire brigade when they tried to bring her down. In the end I had to put her on a methadone programme. The GP said to expect lots and lots of uncontrollable diarrhoea, as she adjusted to her treatment. I said, ‘Don’t worry, doc… You’re talking to a man with pretty extensive poop scooping experience!’

That night, as I read to both them from the children’s illustrated classic Catherine the Capricious Caterpillar. It was good to know that everything was back the way it should be. Just as I was tucking them and saying good night, a squad of CIA goons came crashing through the door, pinned me to the ground and started reading me my rights.

“What are you doing?” I gasped.

“Sir, we have information that that you are a senior member of an Islamic terrorist organisation” said a man wearing sunglasses. “We’re going to waterboard you until we get more information.”

As the CIA men dragged me outside to a waiting helicopter, I could see the terrible twosome jumping up and down on their beds, laughing hysterically and exchanging high fives. “Just wait till I tell your mother about this…” I yelled. “Just you wait!”

June 1st, 2010.

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