Eoin Butler: writer, journalist and Mayoman of the Year

Tripping Along The Ledge


Published: Evening Herald, December 2008


George's Street, Dublin 2

drunk-santaIt’s Saturday night and Aidan is down in the dumps. I’m not sure what his problem is. But no doubt he’s going to fill me in. He’s not a man to bottle these things up, that’s for sure.

“Would you say I’m getting fat?” he asks, eventually.

I look him up and down.

“You are fat,” I reply. “I’d say you were getting fatter.”

His gives me a wounded look.

“Just tellin’ like it is.”

“Well, thanks for that” he says. “I appreciate your honesty.”

I try to steer the conversation around to other topics. But Aidan just sits there with a face on him.

“They asked me to play Santa Claus.”

“Who did?” I ask.

“The parish. They want me to give presents out to the children at Christmas.”


“Twenty six years old… Santa Claus! What the fuck do you think that says?”

“A bit of a blow to the ego alright,” I concede. “What are you going to do about it?”

(Does he intend to join a gym, I mean? Or cut back on the old Supermacs?)

“Ah, I said I’d do it,” he replies. “You know me, I live to give.”

I eye him suspiciously.

“They paying you?”

“Not at all,” he says. Then he kind of mutters. “Well, there might be a voucher or…”

He trails off.

“A voucher?”

“Am, dinner in the Belmont, I think.”

“Very nice, very nice. I hear they do a decent steak there.”

“So I’m hearing,” he smirks. “So I’m hearing.”

“Why isn’t yer man doing it? Whatsisname? The Pillsbury Doughboy? The Blubber from Ballintober? What happened to him? He go on a diet or something?”

“No, no…”

He pauses a beat.

“Heart attack actually.”

“Jaysus, is he alright?”

“Yeah, yeah. He just has to lay off the, er…”

“The steak dinners?”

“Well, yeah – the steak dinners – for a while.”

We sip our drinks in silence. Then he changes tack.

“Where’s your bird tonight?” he asks. “I thought ye were going out?”

“So did I,” I admit. “She cancelled at the last minute. A surprise birthday, apparently.”

Aidan sniggers.

“Who was it a surprise for? The guests?”

“That’s what I’m wondering. Why? You hardly think she’s…?”

“Two-timing you left, right and centre? To be honest Butler, I’d be more surprised if she wasn’t. Look at ya – you’re a bum!”

I put my drink down. That was over the line.

He raises his hand to shush me.

“Just tellin’ it like it is,” he winks.

Well, touché.

“Thank you”, I tell him. “I really appreciate your honesty.”

I stop off at the bathroom out the way out. Someone has very graciously vomited in the sink. Not to worry. I can wash my hands another time. We stroll down George’s Street in search of a taxi.

“You ever considered bulimia?” I ask.

He frowns.

“It sounds familiar,” he says. “Why, is it any good?

He flags down a cab, but he’s not the nimblest of movers. I squeeze past him into the passenger seat and shut the door. As the driver pulls away, I roll down the window.

“Look it up,” I advise. “B-U-L-I-M-I-A… I hear it works wonders!”

This story originally appeared in the Evening Herald, December 2008.