Some young lads have been acting the maggot on our street. Nothing too serious, just picking up some small pieces of our gravel and throwing them around the road. They’re not throwing them at our window, which leads me to suspect they’re just bored. Perhaps they’ve figured that to take a man’s gravel and throw it at his windows is perhaps a provocation too far. Either way, we’re in an awkward position; the prime supplier of small stone weapons in the area.
As reasonable people, it’s hard for us to know how to react. I’ve thrown a baleful glare (or at least a glare with more than the usual level of bale) and a “Cut that out!” at them. But nothing too energetic. Often in these situations, the simplest solution is to retreat into a daydream and concoct an elaborate vigilante fantasy.
I love daydreams. I have a number of favourite genres: Vigilante, breakdancing, rescuing people from a burning building, rescuing people from a vigilante… however, the best ones always involve sport. As time has gone on, they’ve been more and more difficult to imagine. Lately, with the acquisition of some distinctly unsporty ‘insulation’ around the midriff , I’ve diverged further and further from the path of athleticism.
In order not to be a laughing stock in my own daydream, I don’t actually play myself. Instead the role has gone to a better-looking more foreign version of me. Gone is the pasty skin and asymmetrical face. My Afro-Brazilian-Portuguese heritage has given me looks that mean I could easily be in a Calvin Klein ad, wandering around in a white shirt, whispering about something. (It’s not too much of a stretch – Cork father and Kilkenny mother makes me practically mixed-race ).
One slight snag with this set up is that it’s rather difficult to explain how a child from Sao Paolo manages to spend some of his life being brought up on a small farm in Dripsey. I like to gloss over these plot holes, sometimes with the aid of a musical interlude, and get to the sport.
I am selective about which sports I visualise. I don’t do rugby because I’ve never played it and I’d have absolutely no idea what I’d do when I got the ball. And I don’t want to get hurt, even in a daydream.
In hurling, my home-movies are limited by the fact that the highest level I’ve played to was Sciath na Scoile. My career ended in the humiliation of being substituted, only to be replaced by a girl. As I’ve no idea how to hurl, I’m limited by day dreaming to starring in the final credits montage of the Sunday Game where I outfox some Kilkenny defenders with an outrageous backheeled goal. It’s sure to enrage hurling purists but then again, I’m well recognised within the game as being a bit of a maverick – with my filmstar looks and well publicised breakdancing career.
It’s only when I day dream about soccer that I manage to string together anything resembling a narrative. It’s often loosely based on real events. During the 2002 World Cup, as the country was riven down the middle by the Saipan incident, I dreamt up a fantasy where I sorted everything out. I was Junior Monteverdi, the Afro-Brazilian midfield colleague of Roy’s. I was qualified to play for Ireland because I had been granted Irish citizenship after saving all those people from the burning building. We made a good partnership, Roy and I. He was tough, uncompromising. I was skillful and creative. We were not friends – Roy doesn’t let many people get close to him. But he grudgingly gained respect for me. Previously, because of my filmstar good looks, background in breakdancing and extravagant afro hairstyle, Roy had been suspicious of me. He figured I was a ‘fancy Dan’. But I won his respect when I saved his dog Triggs from a fire. And it was mainly due to this mutual respect that, following the row with Mick McCarthy, I was instrumental in getting Keano back into the Irish squad. As a triumphant Irish team lifted the World Cup, many said it my diplomacy that had won the day.
Elsewhere in the dream, despite still playing football at the highest level, later years see me branching out into other careers. In one astonishing feat, I become the first professional sportsman ever to win the Booker Prize and X-Factor in the one year.
…. Ping!….. They’re throwing pebbles on the street again. This is getting annoying. When someone starts f***ing with your gravel, you get disproportionately angry, very very quickly.
I should do something but instead I flick through the MyTube for a suitable daydream. There are a number of favourites. If I’m lazy I’ll do the ‘Singapore Police’ style crackdown. This involves calling the Gardaí who are now equipped with hazel rods with which they can severely whip any ASBOish teenagers, boy racers or people who don’t have their change ready when they get on the bus.
The next genre is the Clint Eastwood Films-style option. I’ve a more hands-on role in this. Some miscreants are giving me lip. I say nothing first, just keep slapping the hurley into my palm. I spit some tobacco juice and say: “Laws on self-defence been changed punk, welcome to the House of Pain”. At this point the day dream starts to unravel.
Even though this is a fantasy, deep down I’m still a worrier. I can’t help imagining consequences, potential problems. Once I administer the rough justice, there is momentary satisfaction. However the next scene is me trying to explain to an angry mother why I’m beating her Trevor with a hurley. Then the Gardaí arrive. I hope they will whip the parent with their hazel rods but instead they have handcuffs. For me. The tabloid press get involved. The headlines bleat: Comedian Beats Up Promising Sportsman. The whole thing becomes a daymare.
But there is a way out – the beauty of daydreams is that, unlike asleep-dreams, you have ultimate control and if it’s not going well you can just change them. I simply reshoot a few scenes to protect myself from the law. Instead of being a ordinary homeowner taking a stand, I am now The Hurler – a vigilante superhero who takes revenge on annoying people armed with a silver hurley. My deeds are famous, my identity is secret. Now if I could just figure out how The Hurler gets out of a mid-terrace house dressed in a cape…