Ross O’Carroll-Kelly: ‘You’re not going out, Ross. Not bringing Covid-19 into this house!’

For five days, I’ve been stuck in the house, thinking ‘God, my family are annoying'

Whenever I stort to feel anxious about the future of the world, I always find it helps to remember the words of the late, great Fr Denis Fehily

Whenever I stort to feel anxious about the future of the world, I always find it helps to remember the words of the late, great Fr Denis Fehily

 

In times of, I don’t know, crisis, whenever I stort to feel anxious about the future of the world, I always find it helps to remember the words of the late, great Fr Denis Fehily: “Iucunda memoria est praeteritorum malorum”, which roughly translates as, “Whatever shit goes down, there will always be rugby.”

But we can’t be certain of even that any more.

I’m watching Brian, Johnny and Leo. They’re gobbing on the kitchen window, then cheering their spits on as they dribble down the glass in a race to the window sill. With the Six Nations suspended, the O’Carroll-Kelly Saliva Stakes is the closest thing we have to live sport now.

Sorcha has all the pots and pans on the go, cooking enough dinners to see us through months of self-isolation. I grab the wooden spoon and I go to have a mouthful of her famous Donal Skehan’s Beef and Guinness Stew, except she snatches the spoon from me and goes, “That isn’t ‘today’ food, Ross!” Then she spoons the entire thing into a Pyrex dish and, with a black Shorpie, she writes on the lid, “February 2021.”

Jesus Christ.

For five days now, I’ve been stuck in the house with my wife, my children and my old man and I can’t help thinking, ‘God, my family are annoying.’

I’m there, “I’m going out.”

Sorcha’s like, “You’re not going out.”

“I’m going off my rocker, Sorcha. It’s supposed to be Paddy’s Day.”

“I don’t care, Ross. You are not bringing Covid-19 into this house.”

Who said anything about me coming back?

“What was that?” she goes.

I’m like, “Sorry?”

“You said something under your breath – about not coming back.”

“Yeah, no, you must have hopefully misheard me. I’m going to see what Honor’s up to.”

So I tip up the hallway to the livingroom, where I find her and the old man playing – believe it or not – Monopoly on the coffee table. I have this sudden flashback to my own childhood. The old man insisted we played every Sunday afternoon because he said it would teach me about – and I quote – “capitalism in all its wonderful glory”.

And, right enough, I notice that the old man has piles and piles of cash in front of him, while Honor is basically broke and looking utterly miserable.

I’m like, “Monopoly, huh?”

And Honor goes, “Oh my God, I hate this focking game!”

The old man’s there, “I’m teaching your daughter about capitalism, Kicker – in all its wonderful glory!”

Listen to Ross

I notice that some of the names on the board have been crossed out in biro and new names have been written in underneath. I see that “Kimmage” has become “Harold’s Cross” and “Crumlin” is now “Terenure”.

I’m like, “Why have you written in new names?”

The old man’s there, “I’ve, em, gentrified some of the areas I bought.”

“And when I land on them,” Honor goes, “I have to pay him twice the amount that it says on the cord.”

I’m like, “Why did you agree to that?”

“Honor got herself into a little bit of financial bother about 20 minutes ago,” the old man goes. “Overextended herself. I agreed to refinance her – and, in return, she allowed me to upgrade the value of some of the properties in my own portfolio.”

I’m suddenly remembering how he likes to make the rules up as he goes along.

Honor rolls the two dices, slash, I don’t know, die? She gets, like, a one and a two. She moves the little top hat along the board, going, “One, two, three…”

“Capel Street!” the old man goes. “I’m sure that’s one of mine!”

Honor’s like, “Er, it’s not – it’s, like, mine? And I want to build a house on it.”

“On Capel Street?” the old man goes, chuckling at the very idea. “Well, you know what you have to do first.”

She takes a hundred from her little pile of money and she puts it into – hilariously – a little brown envelope.

I’m like, “What are you doing?”

The old man points at a square on the board. The words “The Electric Company” have been crossed out and in their place he’s written “The Political Establishment”.

“The very first thing I bought!” he goes.

She hands him the envelope and he slips it into his pocket – or “offshore”, as he calls it.

Then she hands him the dosh for the gaff and he adds it to his pile.

I’m like, “Whoa, is that money not supposed to go to the bank?”

“I bought the bank,” the old man goes, biting the end off a humongous Cohiba. “Yes, it was experiencing a little liquidity problem just before you walked in, so I agreed to take on all of its assets and liabilities.”

I’m there, “Honor, this is how he plays – he makes up the rules to suit himself.”

The old man rolls the – I’m just going to say – dices, then he moves the cor along the board and lands on, “Go to jail”.

I laugh.

“Hilarious!” I go. “Now you’re banged up – like you were in real life! Justice at last!”

The old man’s there, “Fortunately not, Ross. I also own our friends in the Four Courts!” and he points at the square that used to say “Water Works” and now says “The Judiciary”.

I’m there, “Honor, I can’t believe you’re letting him cheat like this.”

She rolls the dice. She’s like, “Nine, ten, eleven…”

“Shrewsbury Road!” the old man goes. “That is one of mine. And you owe me precisely… one thousand euros!”

Honor’s there, “I don’t have a thousand euros.”

“Then I shall have to acquire one of your properties.”

I notice Honor try to slip a cord up her sleeve.

“What about Dundrum Town Centre,” the old man goes, lighting his cigor, “formerly Busarus?”

Honor’s like, “You’re not having Dundrum Town Centre! It’s not for sale!”

“I don’t really see that you have any option. Unless you want to discuss restructuring your loans with the bank. But then I own that too.”

Honor ends up suddenly losing it. She grabs both sides of the board and she tips it all over the old man’s lap.

“Stupid focking game,” she goes, then she storms out of the room.

I’m there, “How are we all going to survive this thing?”

And the old man takes a long pull on his cigor and goes, “Iucunda memoria est praeteritorum malorum, Ross!”

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