Eoin Butler: writer, journalist and Mayoman of the Year

Tripping Along The Ledge


Published: Evening Herald, August 13 2009


Burgh Quay, Dublin 2

I’m feeling a little nauseous. Granted, that’s not saying much. But on this occasion the Anheuser-Busch Corporation bares no responsibility for that state of affairs. The management of my local Abrakebabra franchise too can hold their heads up high.

Hell, even that crazy, obese Scottish lady on my street – who has recently taken to wearing white see-through trousers over a skimpy white thong – is, for once, quite blameless. It’s the decor in The White Horse. Dear God, mine eyes are bleeding. Remember those infamous white suits the Liverpool players wore to the F.A. Cup final in 1996? Well, imagine if they’d been flattened out and somehow… Somehow turned into a room.

That’s the effect that’s being created here.

Speaking of raucous displays of white power, I spot my friend Aidan at the bar. He’s on time, for once. Which by his standards makes him practically early. I sidle up beside him.

“So I hear you’re a racist,” I tell him. “Is this the new thing?”

“Ah Christ… Who told you?”

“Tina. I met her in Tescos the other night.”

“For fuck’s sake… He was a Malaysian fella in a Malaysian restaurant wearing a black shirt… Anyone could have made the same mistake.”

For once in Aidan’s life, I actually sympathize. Whatever faults the guy has, there’s not an ounce of badness in him. Unfortunately, there are several ounce of badness in me. And this is too delicious an opportunity to pass up.

“What I heard though”, I tell him. “And by all means, correct me if I’m wrong… But what I heard is that, even after you found out he wasn’t a waiter, you demanded he serve you anyway.”

Aidan buries his face in his hands.

“Lies” he says. “Pure lies.”

“What did you do next? Click your fingers at him?””

He shakes his head.

“Yes, I asked him for the bill. Yes, he said ‘I don’t work here’ – that’s also true. But, but, but… And this is the bit you have to understand… He was pointing at the ground when he said it.”

“I don’t follow?”

“Well see, I assumed he meant he didn’t work in that section of the restaurant.”

“Right… So?”

“I said ‘Look, we’re kind of in a hurry here. Would you mind getting it for us anyway?’”

This could only have happened to Aidan. No one else.

“And what did he say to that?”

“Well, he looked at me like I had two heads for a second or two. Then he went back to his table and finished his dinner.”

We both laugh.

“Needless to say, I never heard the end of it from Linda. Or her sister. Or her sister’s boyfriend. But to be honest…”

He’s gone into persecuted martyr mode now.

“I expected better from you, Eoin. I really did. I thought we were mates. Since when did you become this P.C. fanatic?”

“Arrah, I’m not a PC fanatic,” I reassure him, giving him an amiable thump on the arm to prove it. “In fact,” I can’t resist adding, “Some of my best friends are racists!”