In a Word . . . Pest

I learned to enjoy most people when they are a bit jarred

One of the great pleasures in my humble little life is to sit in a favourite corner of my local and there chill while ruminating on the day’s events as the beer refreshes parts few others can. It takes at least one drink for me to graduate to discussion on things past, passing and to come.

This is a respected pattern where other regulars are also concerned. There is an unspoken rule of "leave the fecker alone" until he/she is sufficiently human before resuming debate on Einstein's theory of relativity or whether Donegal football can survive Michael Murphy's imminent retirement.

But there is always one. He barges in on our sacred spaces regardless of any “rule”. He must air his opinion, whether you want it or not, and you are expected to be singularly attentive.

It happened again recently and I was reminded what I missed about Covid.


What do you do with pests like this? In my own case the reaction is involuntary where Yer Man is concerned. Terse, hardly does justice to the monosyllabic reaction, hoping he gets the hint. He never gets the hint and, bless my sweet small town soul, but I cannot bring myself to tell him to feck off.


It probably comes of a background where everyone was a neighbour and any angry exchange could set off generations. For generations. Besides, in the main, people in communities – even urban ones – like to get on.

Even if he was inebriated I could make some allowance. Having worked in bars down the years, I learned to enjoy most people when they are a bit jarred. So long as they are not slobbering all over the place.

Some of the funniest stories I've heard from people I know involve drink. Some I did not know, such as the late British foreign secretary and infamous drunk George Brown.

It is claimed that at an official reception on a visit to Brazil he asked a figure in red to dance. He was refused because, as the person he approached explained, "you've had too much to drink. The tune the orchestra is playing is the Peruvian national anthem, not a waltz, and I am the cardinal archbishop of Lima."'

“Yer Man” is rarely jarred. He’s just bad-mannered.

Pest, from Latin pestis, for “a curse, a bane”.