Monday, November 24, 2008

Whining for a change

‘I’m the whiniest man in Ireland’, or so intones a spot-on Eddie Hobbs sound-alike, in a rather irritating advert which is currently running on radio here. In the 30- second slot, Eddie drowns out any other thoughts that may, until then, have been forefront on your mind, his high-pitched Cork accent, nail-scraping layers off your car’s wind-shield, as he aliteratively whinges on and on, in that nauseous nasal twang of his, about the cost of calling directory enquiries. Well I have news for you Eddie. ‘Get ready to defend your whiney-man title claim’!

If there were a Whiney Olympics, I honestly believe Ireland would be a shoe-in for the Gold medal in several events, the short sprint shrift, the marathon moan and even in the decathlon diatribe. ‘Yeah sure’, I hear you say, ‘but what about the whining Yanks, or the whingeing Israelis (sic), or better yet, the bleeding, bleating Poms, sure wouldn’t any one of those groups leave us in their wake in a whining competition’?

Admittedly, they have a head start on us alright, given their well-deserved reputations for whingeing on about the littlest things, in their oh so lacklustre lives, but when it comes to the whining stakes, despite their early pace, they don’t stand a chance once the Joe Duffy team trundles off the blocks and they start moaning their miserable way around the course.

These are the crème de la crème of whingers and whiners. So undeniably ‘bad’ are they at complaining, that there is serious suspicion they are on steroids, haemoroids or some other complaint-enhancing drug. Their talents are not limited to individual prowess in the supplication stakes either, for they are equally good at the team sport of collective whining! If Eddie Hobbs is the Rona O’Gara of whining, then the Joe Duffy Team is the All-Black’s A-team of curmudgeoning.

I have a mental picture Joe Duffy in my mind, seeing him as a Dublin-accented Radar, his Mash unit bombarded by volley after volley of ‘Incoming’ whiner’s calls. ‘Me mammy died in 1998 and I am still getting bills for her mobile phone’. ‘I can’t get parking outside de Social Security office for me Merc’. ‘Me house was repossessed be the bank last week after I offering to mind it for them for a few years for nuttin’! ‘Since the Gardai frightened my feckin’ dealer away, I have to pay for a bus-ride to O’Connell Street for me fix’. 'I got my nails done 11 times that weekend in Coco Beach, so I could prove to the lads back in FAS, that black nail varnish dries much faster than red or pink'.

Why even our politicians are getting in on the act, moaning about how much time they have to spend in the Dail, and how many clinics they have to do, the lost weekends, the feigned attentive listening to the shameless supplications of their cantankerous constituents, and all for such a modest salary, not nearly enough for the unsocial hours and the constant ear-tugging.

Indeed, such is the age-spread of our curmudgeons, that it is obviously a cradle to grave skill-set. Actually, I believe that our penchant for whining begins at the cradle…let me paint a picture here for you, the enormous neo-Georgian house in the countryside, the matching BMW X5's, the nursery wing, the hand-painted cartoon scenes on the walls, the inspiring mobiles on the ceiling, the smell of Johnsons baby powder, the pale moon face of the Russian nanny, leaning over the cribside and whispering ‘Phfats the matter, my preety leethel whiney Irish babee...Gripe?'

Yes, I blame it all on the foreigners…oh, and on all them cute hoors from Cork! Hmm, now there's a thought, maybe Cork should offer to host the first ever Whiney Olympics. Rename Millstreet to Moanstreet. Michael Martin could open it and Eddie Hobbs could be the host!