Getting the priorities in order.

Getting the priorities in order.

It’s like deja vu. I have too many irons in the fire…again. So I intend to take a break for a while. Gotta get my priorities in order.

If, in the meantime, I think of something that will change the world, you guys will be first to hear about it.

My blog has made it, by some mistake, to the short list of the ‘best humour blogs’ in Ireland. I haven’t worn my funny cap in months. Strange. Best of luck to the remaining participants.

On the car journey home from work today, my workmate and myself were listening to the news on the radio. He had lived across the pond, in Boston, for a few years. He has fond memories of the States, some of which he retells to me on our journeys home.

But today on the radio the newsreader told the heartbreaking tale of a young girl who accidentally shot her gun instructor…with an Uzi !! That’s a submachine gun. It ‘sprays’ bullets.

I will pray that the girl will fully recover from the eyewitness shock of what a gun actually does. The poor girl. May God watch over her.

“…the girl was nine years old,” finished the newsreader.

With that, my workmate starts nodding and goes “And they can’t order a beer until they’re 21.”

Then silence in the car…except for the weather on the radio.

Thank you for reading

Frankie.

 

 

 

Big brother, small brother.

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I spoke on our local radio station today. I was great! You should’ve been there.

People all over County Donegal stopped what they were doing just to hear my words of wisdom. You could’ve heard a pin drop.

There was a lady speaking via phone to the host. She was waiting at her home to be collected by the local police and whisked off to prison. The sentence had been handed down a few days previous. Her crime? She wanted to teach her children at home.

She and her husband have six children. They have home schooled them all so far. The eldest is now 27 and having a successful career, as are the following two. The remaining three children are still at various stages of learning. From what I gathered, the children are taught at home until in around the early teens. After that, they are encouraged to take the next step, which is usually a more specialised form of education.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating and well…so far so good. But…

There is always a but. The department of education (the state) couldn’t just leave it be. Oh no, that would be too much like common sense. They dragged the woman through the courts in an attempt to force her to submit to the state’s system. She refused. And now she is headed for the slammer.

Driving along, listening to the radio, I was so impressed by her version of things that I pulled over and sent a little text message of support into the radio station.

Well, lo and behold, the station phoned me back asking, no begging, me to join in the conversation live on air. I obliged.

The truth is I am not really that hot at public speaking. What I wanted to say came out okay but my heart was going a mile a minute, and my hands were sweating like crazy. Of course the host, being neutral in opinion, didn’t give me an easy ride either. But all in all it went alright .

After the call, I slunk back in my driver’s seat and ran the conversation back in my mind’s ear. Smiling to myself at how knowledgeable I sounded.

Just then, my phone bleeped. It was a text message from my boss, who also happens to be my younger brother. It read as follows : “If you don’t get back to your feckin work soon, you will have plenty of time to home-school your own kids!!!”

Oops, I had forgotten other folks have radios also. Big brother, eh?

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His bark is worse than his bite, and very witty too…I hope.

Thank you for reading

Frankie.

I am somebody now!

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I don’t know about you but I enjoy reunions. I had a reunion with a few old schoolmates last week. It was good fun, recalling all the antics.

We got away with murder. There is one story in particular that sums up what we were like, back in the day. But before I share it there is something else that happened during the week. It gave me cause for much excitement. This blog is officially in the running for Ireland’s most coveted prize in blogging. I will have to pull the socks up and get serious for the next few months. You can view the long-list here http://www.blogawardsireland.com/category/long-list-2014/

To see the words “Trucker Turning Write” in the list gave me such a smile. I knew it was nominated thanks to Liz at http://www.lizard100blog.wordpress.com  and my wife who both encouraged me to give it a go. Even if nothing comes of it the following clip sums up the feeling of simply being on the nominee list.

 

 

It’s Saturday night and I am treating myself to a few beers at home. I enjoy a beer at weekends. I never really developed a taste for anything stronger. But…

There was a friend of mine whose parents were teetotallers. They didn’t drink alcohol but they always kept a bottle or two about the house, for visitors, you know. My friend was a normal teenager, curious about all things taboo. Sometimes when he got the chance he would try a drop behind his parents’ back. Vodka was his preference. He would consume as much as the circumstances would allow and simply top the bottle up with water.

This practice continued from midsummer all the way to Christmas until the bottle was so watered down that it was basically…just water.

All was fine until his parents invited the neighbours around for “a wee drop of Christmas cheer”. Being typically Irish the neighbours accepted generous top-ups without complaining about the vodka. But being typically Irish they went around the neighbourhood the following day telling everybody about the Christmas Scrooges who tried to pass off a bottle of water as vodka.

It didn’t take long for word to filter back to the parents. They were in shock. They promptly did what every Irish parent would do…totally overlooked anything domestic; their sons were good boys, beyond suspicion.

No, they took the nearly empty bottle and drove straight into town, to the off-licence (liquor store) where the bottle was initially purchased and demanded a refund and an apology. After much arguing, believe it or not, they got their apology, having somehow managed to convince the storekeeper that somebody working in his establishment had been helping themselves behind his back.

The perfect crime.

Those were the days. They don’t make parents like they used to.

Teens? I reckon teens will be teens in every generation.

Thank you for reading

Frankie.

ps…Good luck to all nominees.

 

 

He who procrastinates…

He who procrastinates…

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Procrastination. I’ll come clean…I had to look it up.

I have heard the term a few times before and I had an idea that it was a swanky word for time wasting. A quick look in the dictionary and, yes, that seems to be what it means.

There is another term I must check out sometime; Ad-hock. The spelling is probably wrong but that is how it sounds. I have heard it used once or twice in the past. I heard it again today on the radio. I think it means “a quick fix”. There is a certain radio host who must have learned all his English from a Jane Austin novel. He speaks like she writes (she wrote), if you know what I mean – Why use a small word when a big word will do? You know the sort. Still, without people like him we would probably be back to babbling if left to our own devices.

Incidentally, I believe the term babbling comes from a Bible story about a tower of babel.  The people of Babylon were building a tower to the heavens and, long story short, God didn’t like it and cursed them all with different languages so they couldn’t understand each other.

I guess something simple like “Pass me the cement, please.” would then come out like “Tobhair dom an straighil, le do thoil.” Before long the builders were like “huh?” Nobody understood each other.

The chances are that is just pure myth but there again, who knows?

Getting back to procrastination, it could also come under the same banner as hesitation. Years ago, at a disco, I was procrastinating about asking a certain girl to dance with me. The tunes played on and the time rolled by and yes, you guessed it, another lad got in before me. I can still hear my friend’s words when I confided my heartbreak to him. “Frankie,” he said as he patted my shoulder “he who hesitates, masturbates!”

So my advice to any procrastinators is – Go easy, too much can make you blind.

Myth?

Thsnk yiu fir..

Forgive me, I find this font size quite hard to read.

Thank you for reading

Frankie.

In response to http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/now-later/

picture from google images

 

 

Here’s Johnny!

Here’s Johnny!

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“Hold it right there!” She shouted, as she chased me through the forest.

I had no intention of holding it there, or anywhere. I was a fifteen year old fugitive on the run. My crime? Taking the day off to go swimming with friends.

A thought has just occured to me. I can’t remember any rainy days at school! All my memories happened during warm sunny days. Or maybe the Irish weather was simply better back then.

I didn’t care much for any subject on the curriculum. I was handy at some and desperate at others. Whatever I learned happened naturally. It either caught my attention or it didn’t. I wasn’t big into studying in my my spare time. The teachers never really bothered me much, unless to share a laugh.

I was one of those who stayed under the radar, unnoticed for the most part. I had a friend called Mike. He could roll a cigarette with one hand. Now that’s a gift! You can’t teach that.

The both of us had it susssed. We played the system like a grand piano, with two stools. If we wanted to have a day off, we took it! We knew every loop-hole in the attendance records. We took truant and turned it into art. We were the best.

But like all wiseguys there came a day when our goose was cooked.

We were on our way back from a day’s swimming and smoking at a small unused pier outside of town.  Up ahead we saw two females. Mike goes “I’ll have the good looking one.”

“Sure you can, whenever I’m finished with her.” I replied.

“Oh Shit!” said Mike, when he realised it was a sports teacher and her friend.

We jumped over the low stone wall to our left and made our way deep into the forest. To our amazement, they followed.

“Split up.” I said as I ran.

“Good luck.” He answered and disappeared in the opposite direction.

I can still feel my heart pounding as I remember that chase. Running through the dense woods and hearing her untiring footsteps behind me.

“Hold it right there!” She shouted.

She watches too many movies, I thought to myself. I would have shouted “Don’t shoot!” back at her but this was no laughing matter.

I came to a large eight foot high wall. There was a gate equally as high. As I approached at speed I could see it was padlocked.

It’s funny what a person can do when pushed to the limit. I scaled the gate like a commando. The landing was a bit messy but as I got to my feet I could hear her approaching the gate.

“I know you, ” She screamed. “Get back here.”

I looked back to see her with her face squeezed between two vertical bars on the gate. It reminded me on that scene from The Shining.

She was shaking the gate like a mad woman. I turned and ran on. I almost thought I could hear her shout my name over and over as I ran, “Frankieee, Frankieee…” I dismissed that as just voices in my head.

I was wrong. She had indeed been screaming my name, until she damaged a vocal chord or something. She was quite hoarse the following day as she explained to the Principal what had happened.

I said nothing. It was game over. I was on the watchlist from then on.

And I would have gotten away with it too…if it hadn’t been for those meddling teachers.

Thank you for reading,

Frankie.

In response to http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/04/02/prompt-land-of-confusion/

Truck Talk

Truck Talk

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“I don’t know your, your…friend… here but to be honest, Frankie, I am shocked at you.” She said. Then turned on her heels and stormed out.

I didn’t see that coming.

There is a roadside diner I frequent for lunch. Lots of people from all professions stop to eat there. It’s one of those places where the staff make you feel as if you’re the most important customer they ever had.

There’s a waitress who works there. I understand it is rude to describe somebody by their physical appearance.  So I will just give her name, as it is spelled on her badge. Manddy! Notice the double ‘d’. Her name suits her. That’s all I’m saying.

So this one day I arrived in to find a friend of mine sat alone at a booth by the window.  He’s a truck mechanic. I used to work alongside him for years until I hung up the spanners and opted for a life inside a truck rather than underneath.

It was great to talk technical again, with somebody who knew what he was talking about. I was telling him about a few problems I had been having with my old girl, my baby, my truck.

She doesn’t have the modern self greasing system. It is an older model. All greasing has to be carried out by hand, using a tool called a grease gun. Each joint has a small little connection to which the gun  would be attached. These connection points are called grease nipples. The word nipple conjures up a different image in the mind of a mechanic. Not a sexy image at all. It is a messy job.

We were in deep conversation when an elderly neighbour of mine arrived in and sat at the table next to us. A real lady, it has to be said. I gave her a little wave. She replied with her trademark nod and smile. Rather like the queen of England would do.

Manddy took her order then came over with more tea for us. We thanked her and returned to our conversation.

“Do you wanna know what I would do with her?” asked my friend.

“Go on, give me your expert opinion.” I answered with a knowing smile. He loved talking trucks.

“Well she’s a big girl, isn’t she?”

“She is indeed.” I nodded.

“And you say she’s been around the block a fair bit?”

“Well, no shame in it.”

“Aye, but she’s seen a fair bit of grease if you know what I mean?”

“I suppose.” He had a point. “Put it like this, she was never neglected anyway.”

“Well I would pull her inside and get underneath her. There has to be something you haven’t tried yet. Move the pins from side to side and listen to her. If she’s making a squeeky noise then you’re on the money!”

“You reckon she needs more grease?”

“Aye, there has to be an air pocket in there somewhere that hasn’t seen grease in a while. I know it’s hard to believe. But trust me, I know her type. Maybe she has a blocked nipple.”

“How would you unblock that?” I asked.

“Don’t waste your time unblocking it. Sure nipples are dirt cheap nowadays. In fact I would replace the set. But try to give her the grease first. Maybe that’s all she wants… ”

Our conversation was interrupted by the sound of breaking glass. My neighbour was in a hurry to leave. But not before she stopped at our table to create a scene.

On her way out she passed Manddy who was pouring tea at another table.

“As for you,” she said as she looked her up and down. “Hmph!” Then left the diner.

My friend and I looked at each other.

Then he goes “Women! I’ll never understand them.”

 

Thank you for reading,

Frankie.

In response to http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/24/daily-prompt-sixteen-tons/

 

Three cops and a fountain.

Three cops and a fountain.

There was a very good reason that I physically restrained my wife from throwing a coin into the Trevi fountain. Even though every euro was precious to us personally, it had nothing to do with the recession back in Ireland. But the police, or polizia to be exact, were having a hard time understanding.

It was my wife’s first ever time on an airplane. It was my second. I was the expert! Even though I was too young to remember my first time, I was such a know-it-all.

“Don’t worry. Sit back and relax. You won’t even know you’re in the air.” I reassured her.

My wife was making her peace with God, just in case. She was feeding the rosary beads through her fingers at a rate that would have made Mother Teresa green with envy. The plane taxied down the runway. I was all business. Until it hit full throttle.

I don’t know what came over me but, when the pilot gave her the welly, I cracked. I snapped the beads from my wife’s hands and prayed like this was the cresendo of my life on earth.

I had spent more than fifteen years of my life as a motor mechanic (before this trucking lark) and the laws of physics had led me to believe that there wasn’t a rivet on the earth which could stand the sheer acceleration dished out by these jet engines.

We must have been in the air about thirty minutes when my wife, who had just discovered her life’s purpose (flying) was asking me to look out the window at all the little tiny houses down below. I couldn’t look. My fear of heights had been heightened by the shaky rivets and the volcano ash cloud which had blown all the way from Iceland to northern Europe.

Bing bong! The captain informed us that we would be taking the scenic route (long route) to Rome. Lovely! Just flipping lovely!

Bing bong! “Ladies and gentlemen, we are now over the Alps. Enjoy the view. Oh and by the way, I will take this opportunity to introduce a new pilot. This is his first time in charge and I am sure you all agree he is doing a fine job…”

That’s was it. Our fate was sealed. I know it is a cliché but I whispered to myself “We’re all going to die.”

I could picture this little apprentice, barely through puberty, grinning from ear to ear on his spotty wee face. Saying to himself, ‘Let’s see what this baby can do’, as he gazed around the dashboard like a kid in a candy store.

Have you ever spent four hours putting on and taking off your seatbelt? No? Well I have. There was a red light up near the front which was going from red to green then red again, at roughly ten minute intervals. What I thought was the ‘Seatbelts on‘ light turned out to be the ‘somebody’s in the toilet‘ light.

Of course nobody corrected me. Why would they? A full grown man hammering out Hail Marys to beat the band had enough on his plate.

We made it to Rome. When I stood up my wife commented that my shirt was stuck to my back with sweat and my face “looked a bit grey.” I didn’t care how it looked. All I could do was smile. I would have kissed the ground but we had to walk through a tunnel straight into the airport buliding.

We were in town for my older brother’s wedding. He was always the awkward one. He couldn’t just get married in Ireland like the rest of us. Oh no, that would make too much sense.

Anyway, he got married. It was a lovely wedding, I’ll admit. And the weather!! I always thought weather like that only happened in the movies.

The following day my wife and myself, wandering around, found ourselves looking at the famous Trevi fountain. When I say looking I mean standing on our tip toes trying to catch a glimpse of the thing over the shoulders of every other person on the planet who all had the same idea, on the same day. Damned Tourists! With their cameras that appear large enough to snap somebody pretending to place a flag on the moon.

We wiggled our way through the crowd until we reached it.

“Give me a euro,” my wife said, in a panic.

When I asked why, she informed me that if a person throws a coin into the Trevi fountain fate will ensure that person will return to Rome again sometime in the future.

Upon hearing this I quickly removed my empty hand from my pocket. I lied that I didn’t have any change. As beautiful as Rome is, I wasn’t prepared to put myself through the hell, better known as flying, it took to get there. I have been on mainland Europe a few times but my choice of transport is always the car ferry. Probably because I can swim. I haven’t quite been able to master flying yet. Perhaps it’s the lack of feathers.

Of course as fate would have it, she had found a coin in her own pocket. I grabbed her wrist just as she was about to throw it. A struggle ensued. I could hear bystanders discussing if they should interfere or not. Just then a little street urchin made a grab for my wife’s camera (a lego camera by today’s standards). So I grabbed him with my free hand. This was turning into the ridiculous.

Within seconds three big straight faced Polizia-men arrived. One of them took the boy away by the scruff of the neck, whilst the other two handled our little “domestic”.

That is as much as you’re getting. Did she or didn’t she? That is the question.

There is a famous saying; When in Rome.

There is another famous saying; Not on my shift.

There is also a third; She wears the trousers!

Thank you for flying

Frankie.

In response to http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/21/daily-prompt-coins/