Blowing Earth’s Dust Away…


Chicago’s Irish American News, May 2018.


I never wanted to have children.  I came to that decision back in my twenties;  and it was about the most sensible one I ever made, in a lifetime of doing things that weren’t all that sane at all.

I’m too  selfish, for one thing; enjoy living alone, for another. An ex-wife and several ex-partners will probably attest to that. And so, take it to its logical conclusion: I’m not someone who should have had children.  So I didn’t wander down that road.  And I’m glad I didn’t, now that I look around me at this crazy world.

Of course, that decision cost me relationships down the years…. And that’s the way it goes.  It seemed to me to be a sensible choice to make when I was twenty; and now that I hit sixty, it still feels that way.

Here’s the thing:  I don’t actually mind kids as much as I make out; can even just about bear them sometimes.  There are three six-year-olds who live close to me and I enjoy listening to them playing.  But they seem to be the exception.  Hell, for a start they are laughing and having fun with each other, with nary a zombie-phone in sight.  It’s nice to hear.  Even this Grumpy Old Git likes the sound of children laughing.

And I actually missed that wonderful sound of laughter when they all went away for Easter. Actually missed it, who would have thought that of me?  But I do think that these kids are the exception.

Yet the other side of it includes being sick and tired of children being allowed to run around the place, be it the supermarket, any given shop or even in the church.  Their witless parents think that their precious little darlings are ‘entitled’ to make life a misery for everyone else.  And since I’m not someone who is able to keep his mouth shut, grin like a lunatic and pretend that all is well when it isn’t, I get tired of falling out with the dopey parents.   And I always get the same thing:  “You’d know you haven’t children yourself”.  Usually delivered in a waspish tone that suggests that they have just given the ultimate put-down.  It’s a good thing, really, that I’m not the thin-skinned, sensitive type.  If I were I would undoubtedly be ‘triggered’ and have to run off to my ‘safe space’ – or whatever the current moronic jargon is.

And when I say that’s a decision I made and maybe they should have made the same one because they seem to be pretty useless as parents, it doesn’t always go down terribly well.

I just don’t think that they are doing either themselves or the children any favours in the long run.  This idea of entitlement is everywhere.  Too many seem to be unable to say a simple “no” to their little munchkins anymore; and so the rest of us are left looking in bewilderment at a crazy world where a child’s most frivolous wish is granted – and of course, granted immediately.  Instant gratification, because…well, bless ‘em, don’t they look so damned cute as they stand there all red-faced and bawling.  The kids, I mean, not the parents; although that can happen too.

It’s easier just to grant their wish.  No wonder the world is going to hell.


Meanwhile, the world of supposed adults threw up another manner in which society is going down the tubes with the recent case in the North of Ireland where rugby stars Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding were found not guilty following a rape trial, with their friends Blane McIlroy and Rory Harrison being acquitted on other charges.  The verdict led to many spontaneous demonstrations as the public got an insight into how these trials were conducted.  Indeed, it seemed at times as if the girl herself was on trial, not being allowed to call any character witnesses, having her underwear passed around the jury and a hundred other things that seemed weighted towards simply grinding her down.

Well, the verdict is what it is, but the really shocking thing that emerged as regards Jackson and Co. was the utter lack of respect they hold for women.  Any women.  By now, you’ll have seen the texts that these fine upstanding young men passed around between each other. I’ve no desire to reprint them here, but they were dreadful in their complete disrespect for any woman.  Not that they can have much respect for themselves, to write such appalling stuff in the first place.  If this is the culture that Rugby creates, I’m glad I have no time for it.

These vile men used words and imagery to reduce women to lumps of meat, whilst ignorantly congratulating themselves on being ‘top shaggers’.  Well, they’re top something all right, but I’d have another word for them.  And it was this insight into their world and warped mindset that led in part to such a huge reaction against them.

I’m no saint and have undoubtedly made remarks at times that I’ve regretted, but the texts from these guys go so far beyond what is even remotely acceptable as to be on a different plane altogether.

This is nothing to do with the #metoo movement.  The world and macho subculture that this trial opened up for us is one that should shock men and women alike.  Indeed, men were conspicuous at the demonstrations afterwards; and I don’t mean the usual white-knight virtue signalers that we saw wearing their sad little pins at the recent Oscar ceremonies.  These guys were out there on the streets because they were as upset by what these sportsmen had written as women were.  Certainly, I wouldn’t like to be mistaken for the same species as them either.

And although it’s hard to see why any woman would be willing be make a complaint to the police after this (and I hope I’m wrong), something good may just come out of this terrible case.

I’ve not much time for that strident generation of feminists who don’t even want a man to open a door for them; but I think that the coming generation of women is going to be a whole lot more rational when it comes to the differences between us.  They will be more confident and sure of themselves.  And they’re not going to be taking any more macho nonsense from the likes of Jackson and his pack.

That can only be good for both sexes.  Hell, we all have to share this planet together.


And I had only typed that last sentence when I heard the news that America, France and Britain have overnight been bombing Syria.  Crazy world, indeed.

I’m thinking of these lines from H.P. Lovecraft’s poem Nyarlathotep:

Soon from the sea a noxious birth began;

Forgotten lands with weedy spires of gold;

The ground was cleft, and mad auroras rolled

Down on the quaking citadels of man.

Then, crushing what he chanced to mould in play,

The idiot Chaos blew Earth’s dust away.