Tao Te(a) Ching
On the 5th December 1970, astronomers reported hitherto unknown astral activity; horses brayed at the end of Coronation Street; dogs barked at the frogs that were raining down from the sky; Birnam Wood caught a taxi to Dunsinane. Aye. There were some pretty portentous moments. Something BIG was going on.
Coincidentally, in a little hospice in Holles Street, Dublin, a poor young woman was doing her best not to scream obscenities at the attendant nuns as they flapped around like flightless birds of the Arctic and the labour pangs caused her body to implode. Something BIG was coming out.
Minutes…hours…who knows?…passed and she was presented with a purplely, bloodstained, mewling monster. It only had one head, but TWO bloody arms and legs. In short, it looked like a fat asterisk. She bestowed upon it the name of Diarmuid, a name which, as we all know, is steeped in history, tradition and mispronunciation. She spoke her first wish for the little fat thing, “Let him become a lovely fat priest.” She didn’t really know her son.
Years went by, as did the days. Diarmuid grew to be a boy, then a young man who behaved like a boy, then an adult who still behaved like a boy. He worked here and there before embarking upon a career as a teacher of the English language, fulfilling the historical tradition that the Irish have taken upon themselves to promote the language of the coloniser. And with Irish spelling the way it is, it is better that they chose to flaunt their ability with English than to try and teach gaelige to the barbarians.
Diarmuid first inflicted his teaching upon the innocent Greeks; then he whisked himself of to Euskal Herria, aka The Basque Country, aka the North Coast of Spain, where he did great damage to the minds of adolescents and adults alike and, in return, they complicated his life immeasurably. Realising that the time had come to flee Europe, he spent nine months in the Sultanate of Oman, but left when he discovered that the ruler was not married to a sultana. That would have been a sight to see. He sailed westwards and landed upon the cold, grey, pebble-strewn beaches of England where he was ensnared by a Mortgage Monster which holds him captive to this very day.
On his journey through life, this corpulent Quixote has not travelled unaccompanied. He is lucky enough to have found his Dulcinea who to her everlasting regret, agreed to accompany him on his quest for…oh, there’s no quest as such. They have three Sancho Panzas and a Rocinante which appears to be a cocker spaniel.
Oh there are times when he wonders if he wouldn’t have been a better lawyer, a happier priest (yeah, right!), a successful author. But then his inner voice, the one that the criminal psychologist had failed to silence, speaks up and says, “Diarmuid, mo chara, life is EFL and I.”
This usually induces a vomitting seizure, similar to those experienced by the peyote eaters. Regrettably, that’s where the similarity ends. And our tale too.
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Tao Te(a) Ching