From the moment Sorcha walks through the front door, I know that something is wrong. I haven’t seen her face so drained of colour since Brown Thomas downgraded her platinum store cord when she fell below the annual spending threshold at the height of the recession.
I’m like, “What’s wrong?” because she looks actually ill.
She goes, “It’s Honor,” and I get this instant heavy feeling across my neck and shoulders. “Ross, you won’t believe what she’s done now.”
I was watching this TV programme about emigration last week, with all these parents at the airport, watching their children heading off to stort new lives for themselves in Australia, Canada and the States – and I thought to myself, one day that’ll hopefully be us.
I’m like, “Okay, what has she done now?”
"I was on Claire Byrne Live tonight," she goes, "and we were talking about, like, online bullying? I was discussing what measures New Republic would introduce to tackle cyber trolls and this audience member – oh my God, I'm sure he was a Renua Ireland plant – said, 'If you were serious about tackling online bullying, you'd talk to your daughter about the things she says on Twitter.' Ross, did you know that Honor has been trolling celebrities?"
I’m there, “Er, no. I genuinely didn’t realise that at all. It’s definite news to me.”
She goes, "This man read out some of her Tweets, Ross – on, like, live television? She told Niall Horan that it didn't matter how many limos or private jets he travelled in, he'd always have the whiff of the bog about him. She called Khloe Kardashian a shmugly mutt."
“She’s not the best-looking sister, in fairness – even though I’m not defending Honor.”
“There I am, pontificating about how we need to educate young people about the evils of trolling – and I don’t even know what was going on under my own roof!”
“I don’t think either of us should beat ourselves up over this, Sorcha. It’s a general rule when it comes to Honor that the less you know about what’s going on in her life the better. That way, if the cops ever knock on the door, you can genuinely say you’ve no idea what they’re talking about.”
“Ross, what kind of parents does that make us?”
“I’m going to go out on a limb here and say amazing, amazing parents. I seriously don’t think we should stort doubting our record in that regord.”
It fails to put Sorcha’s mind at ease.
She takes out her phone, calls up Honor’s Twitter account, then storts scrolling through her feed, the shock slowly registering on her face.
“Oh my God,” she goes, “she called Justin Bieber a stain on the underpants of humanity… She told Miley Cyrus she was a talentless yokel with daddy issues… She told Bruce Jenner she’d love to wipe the smile off his forehead.”
I just shake my head.
I’m there, “Like I said, the only consolation we can take from this is that we’re not to blame in any way.”
She goes, “Ross, this is going to be all over the papers. People are going to say I’m a hypocrite. Talking about making the world a better place while raising a sociopathic daughter. She’s got nearly 400,000 followers!”
And then she storts shouting, “Honor! Honor!” up the stairs.
I’m like, “Maybe we shouldn’t bother bringing it up with her Sorcha. Leave well enough alone and blah, blah, blah.”
“Leave well enough alone?”
“You know how she reacts when she’s cornered. It’s better that she’s saying horrible things to millionaire celebrities than to us.”
“I can’t believe you just said that… Honor, come down here right now!”
Sixty seconds later, Honor finally comes down the stairs, sighing and rolling her eyes and dragging her Uggs along the floor. She’s like, “Whatever this is, it better be good.”
I’m sort of, like, rolling my eyes in sympathy with her – unseen by Sorcha, of course – trying to let her know that I don’t think this thing is as big a deal as her old dear is making of it.
Sorcha goes, “Have you been trolling celebrities on Twitter?”
Honor just shrugs.
She’s like, “Yeah. Sofa King what?”
“Is that all you have to say?” Sorcha goes. “All these nasty, spiteful things you’ve been saying to all these people. Amanda Holden! Harry Styles! Barack Obama! He’s one of my all-time heroes along with Aung San Suu Kyi and Maya Angelou. ”
I swear to God, Honor turns around and goes, “Dad egged me on.”
I’m there, “I wouldn’t exactly say I egged you on, Honor.”
“You did. You said Twitter was a great way of actually getting at these celebrities and taking them down a peg or two.”
Seriously. You try to show an interest in your daughter’s hobby and it gets thrown back in your face.
I'm there, "I didn't mean all celebrities. I meant some celebrities. The ones who are getting away with murder."
“He came up with the line about Khloe Kardashian,” she goes.
“Yeah, as a joke. I actually think she’s kind of foxy. She’d probably be number two or three on my Kardashian ‘To Do’ list.”
Of course, Sorcha is listening to all of this in literally just shock. “It seems I’m not only raising a bully,” she goes. “I’m also married to one.”
I’m there, “I only came up with one or two lines, Sorcha. One about Khloe Kardashian, one about Selena Gomez and one about that dude Cristiano Ronaldo. And what I said about him wasn’t personal. I meant it about all soccer players.”
Honor goes, "While I'm finding this conversation fascinating, I actually have better things to do?" and she turns around and storts walking back upstairs to her room.
“Not so fast,” Sorcha goes. “You embarrassed me tonight, Honor. You embarrassed me in front of the entire country slash electorate.”
Honor looks at me over her shoulder and she’s like, “I think your wife is having some kind of menstrual breakdown. Deal with her.”
Sorcha’s there, “You need to be punished for this, Honor, and that’s what I’m going to do. For the next month, I’m restricting your Internet access to one hour per day.”
I’m like, “That’s not bad, Honor. I’d take it.”
“And, Ross, I’m cutting you off altogether.”
ILLUSTRATION: ALAN CLARKE