“Do you want anything else, Mam?” We’re in the shop buying the annuals for Christmas.
“Don’t forget Ireland’s Own, Ann. It’s good to read a story that isn’t all about sex,” she says. “Nothing but sex these days. You can’t avoid it.”
“Janey, where are you going, Mam, that there’s all this sex to avoid?” She doesn’t reply.
I pick out the RTÉ Guide for the two week’s telly. We only get it the once a year. Denis likes looking ahead to see what films he’s going to fall asleep in front of.
“You must be fierce proud, Ann,” says Mary Mac in the shop as I go up to the counter.
“A big thing about Rory. In the RTÉ Guide.”
Oh, what’s he done now? I read it in the car. 2021 Jump Street. The Viral Stars of the Year. There’s a small picture of Rory with a bald wig and the headline: The Man with the finger on the Tidy Towns Pulse.
It reads: “The young Kilsudgeon man who previously saw fame with his social media campaigns for Independent TD Patsy Duggan – see the Duggan and Diving Series on YouTube – saw the TD reach a new audience and got him reelected despite pressure from The Yellow Vest Party – has struck gold again! This time it’s with CommitteeBants; a hilarious TikTok series situated around a fictional Tidy Towns group and its formidable vice chair Hanna Devaney.”
Hanna Devaney! Cmon Rory!
I go looking for it on the internet and we watch one, me and Mam. “OK Zoomers” it’s called. The fecker must have been listening in on the Zoom meetings. The video has eight versions of him playing a load of characters from ‘Ballinashite Tidy Towns’.
There’s someone a lot like Gordon Patterson adjusting his glasses every four seconds and taking half an hour to start the meeting.
That has to be Tommy Shea wondering if gangland criminals are responsible for dumping lawn cuttings at the back of his house and the woman who is always mentioning her son high up in computers and looking for a site for a data centre is definitely Nuala Costigan.
“Which one are you Ann?” asks Mam. Then Rory appears in an awful straggly wig altogether.
“He has your hair right, anyway,” says Mam. Hanna is shouting. It doesn’t sound like me at all until it does.
“What way is this camera at all? Are you on mute? Denis! Are you on the Netflix? The reception is cat.”
He didn’t even bother changing his father’s name. Then he does the bit which I know I do in meetings where I mute and tell Denis exactly what I think.
Only in Rory’s video I haven’t muted by accident so the whole meeting is listening to me saying, “an hour and a half in this shagging meeting and we haven’t agreed a single thing. Honestly Denis I don’t know why I bother my barney with this shower.”
“Did ye know about this?” I ask into the Family WhatsApp.
Freya: “A man becomes famous off the emotional labour of women and a picture of a sign saying: Days since the patriarchy were last at it: Zero.”
Rory: “It’s called hard work, Freya.”
Me: “You didn’t work hard on the name. Hannah Devaney/Ann Devine. Could you not have called her Mary or something?”
Rory: “Then Mary The Shop would think it was about her. Anyway, you’re famous now.”
Me: “I was famous before in my own right.”
But the next time Gordon sends out the invite for the a Tidy Towns meeting he has this bit in bold at the bottom. We will be keeping it to 45 minutes MAXIMUM. They must have heard me... I mean Hanna Devaney.
There’s one upside to fame anyway I suppose.