‘The recession was a fluke. No one knows why it happened’
Ross O’Carroll Kelly: ‘The boom is back, but this time the decking will be composite’
I love my daughter and I would defend her to death, even though I know deep down there’s something probably wrong with her
I ask Honor what she’s up to and she asks me what business that is of mine? I’m there, “I’m just showing an interest, Honor. There was some child psychologist on TV saying that parents should make a point of knowing what their children are doing at all times. That could be bullshit, of course.”
“If you must know,” she goes, “I’m rubbing mouth ulcer ointment on the rims of all the coffee cups.”
I’m like, “Do you mind me asking why?”
“So when people drink from them, their lips will go numb and they won’t know why.”
“Oh my God,” I go, “that is absolutely hilarious.”
She’s there, “I’m not doing it for your approval. I’m doing it because it amuses me.”
“Well, it amuses me as well. One of the reasons I love it is because it’s clever – but it’s also not dangerous. Hang on, it’s not dangerous, is it?”
“Don’t know. Don’t care.”
Jesus, you’re saying it like I gave him a crossbow or a porn magazine”
“I love your attitude. You can always deny it was you if it all turns bad. You’re so funny, Honor. And that’s not me sucking up to you because I’m scared of you.”
She finishes applying the ointment to the last cup. Oh, that’s the other thing I should have possibly mentioned. We’re not even in our gaff? We’re in Christian and Lauren’s place in Booterstown – it’s their son Ross jnr’s seventh birthday porty.
I’m like, “Come on, let’s go and see what everyone else is doing,” and we tip into the living room. There’s, like, nine or 10 kids – high on sugar – just chorging around, screaming. Sorcha and the other moms and dads are sitting around, talking about – the usual – Donald Trump.
“It’s like that time in the West Wing,” Sorcha goes, “when John Goodman became the president and he storted to undo all of the amazing, amazing work done by Jed Bortlet. It was, like, so upsetting to watch. But this time it’s happening in real life.”
Lauren goes, “I’ll go and get the coffee,” and this wave of excitement comes over me. I try to catch Honor’s eye except she’s sitting in the corner, just staring at her phone.
“Coffee!” I go. “I’m looking forward to this.”
There’s more talk about Donald Trump, then five minutes later, Lauren arrives back, with the cups and a coffee plunger on a tray. Honor is just, like, totally zen about the whole thing, whereas I’m struggling to keep the laughter in.
Suddenly, Christian – who’s been supervising the kids – walks into the room, looks straight at me and goes, “Ross, what the hell do you think you’re doing?”
The Rossmeister Speaks
I’m like, “What are you talking about?” because I genuinely have no idea.
I notice little Ross jnr is standing beside him.
“Giving a present like that to my son,” Christian goes.
I’m there, “Hey, he’s also my godson. I’m entitled to spoil him. You’re welcome, by the way.”
Lauren decides to get involved then. She’s never been a fan of mine. She goes, “What did he give him?”
“A card,” Christian goes, “with a cheque inside – for €2,000.”
There’s, like, shock on the faces of all the other parents – including Sorcha’s, by the way.
I’m like, “Okay, what’s everyone’s issue?”
Lauren goes, “You think it’s cool to give €2,000 to a seven-year-old boy?”
I’m there, “Jesus, you’re saying it like I gave him a crossbow or a porn magazine.”
There’s suddenly a lot of tutting and shaking of heads going on.
Christian’s there, “Ross, we don’t want our children growing up not knowing the value of things”
It’s actually little Ross jnr who goes, “Ith thoo much money, Uncle Roth. I’m only theven. You should have jutht bought me a thmall prethent – the thame ath everyone elth.”
He’s a little focking hangman. He’ll be getting nothing next year.
Christian’s there, “Ross, we don’t want our children growing up not knowing the value of things.”
I’m like, “Why not? Jesus, I remember you paying 600 yoyos for a sterling silver wick trimmer for Lauren one Christmas back in the day.”
Lauren goes “Well, they’re the kind of mistakes we’ve all hopefully learned from.”
All I can do is just shake my head. “Look,” I go, “the recession was a fluke. No one knows why it happened, just that it did. People need to stort getting over themselves and realising that the boom is back – the only difference is that this time the decking is going to be composite.”
It doesn’t seem to put anyone’s mind at ease. My own wife storts giving me a hord time then. She goes, “I can’t believe you think it’s okay to give a child €2,000.”
I actually laugh. I’m there, “Our daughter would burn through that kind of money in an hour in Dundrum – and she’d be back with her hands out for more.”
And Lauren – this is unbelievable – goes, “Maybe we don’t want our son turning out like your daughter.”
That ends up being the last straw. I’m not having anyone dissing Honor – especially with her sitting in the room. I love my daughter and I would defend her to death, even though I know deep down that there’s something probably wrong with her.
I’m there, “You’d be lucky if either of your kids turn out half as well as Honor.”
And that’s when one of the other dads suddenly goes, “I can’t feel my lips. Jesus, I think I’m having a stroke.”
I actually laugh. I can’t help it.
Then one of the other moms is like, “My mouth is numb, too. I thought it was something to do with the Botox.”
Botox for a seven-year-old’s birthday porty? How can she sit there and pretend we’re not back as a country?
“Oh my God,” she goes, “I think there’s something on the rim of these cups? Look!”
I’m there, “Yeah, no, I saw Ross jnr acting shifty in the kitchen earlier. He seemed to be putting something on the cups all right – the little sociopath.”
Honor looks up from her phone – doesn’t even smile – and goes, “It was me. I put mouth ulcer ointment on your cups because I though it’d be funny. And my dad egged me on.”
Christian looks at me as if to say “Point proven”, and then he takes the cheque and makes a big show of ripping it up into a thousand tiny pieces.