|MacConnell Plan to Fight Recession is sure to beat the blues|
There is this spry little silvery Dublin man, maybe 50, with a gold Celtic cross dangling across his breast, a green anorak, twinkling eyes, a pint of Guinness, and we meet through cigarette whorls outside the front door of McGann's Pub in Doolin.
It is the heart of the October Bank Holiday weekend. The fabled Clare village is so crowded and lively there is hardly room for the fiddlers to operate their bowing arms or the concertina players to fully expand their instruments.
The barmen are blurs behind all the taps and optics, the musics leak out through the windows, there is a full moon on a dry brisk night. It is mighty craic.
"This is the only way to fight the recession," says the little Dubliner. "Eat drink and be merry and to hell with tomorrow because we can do sweet damn all about it anyway."
And we touched glasses out there in the Smoking Zone, maybe five or six of us, in common consent. And the bands played on right through Doolin.
The Dutch Nation's family and friends, a raft of them, were over for the long weekend, and that is why we went to Doolin. They were surprised, I think, at the atmosphere being so merry in the teeth of the global recession.
Earlier in the evening we all heard news of more job losses in Shannon, and all manner of dire economic tidings, not only from Dublin but from London and New York too.
When we came home the small Dubliner's wisdom rang in my head, the Dutch contingent headed down to Killarney a little later, and I sat down at this keyboard and, almost instantly, devised the MacConnell Plan to Fight Recession.
The template is national, but then this is a global recession so it may be of use and benefit to you as well.
There are ten basic commandments attached to the Plan. And it is based on the little Dubliner's attitude:
1. Either switch the TV/radio off altogether, or lock the remote on to any channel of your choice apart from news, the markets and politics.
Avoid these at all costs. We know all the bad news already. It is depressing in the extreme to hear it repeated over and over ad nauseam from all corners of the globe.
If there is any news item involving ourselves or our region it will very speedily be brought to us by phone calls from family, friends and neighbors. We don't need to hear the rest any more. What will come down the tracks will come down the tracks one way or the other.
2. Continue to read newspapers, but do so cannily and carefully. Avoid the front page altogether. Begin at the back page and read all the sports section through to the beginning, relishing all the excitements along the way.
Avoid the feature section in the middle because these contain dark stuff nowadays, and on no account go near the editorial page. Opinions here are based on economic opinions and reports, and it is clear now that the economists (and politicians) have not an idea how to deal with this global disaster.
Do the crossword if you wish. Do not read the news pages on any account.
3. Buy good heavy sweaters and this will enable you to turn down the central heating significantly and still be warm and cozy.
4. Continue to visit your friendly local pub (in my case the Honk), but never again sit beside pessimists.
Choose optimists at all times, especially those who like to talk about football, hurling, Irish women in general, golf, and all the things that really matter.
5. Learn the art of drinking your pint of porter or beer just that little bit slower. Nobody will notice, and at the end of the evening you will be just as happy and probably will have saved the price of two pints for the next evening.
6. Memorize two new jokes every week for passing along the grapevine. Ideally these should have a rags-to-riches punchline.
They should never be too blue and should be of sufficiently high quality to make folk laugh out loud belly laughs rather than quiet chuckles. Tell such jokes every time you get a chance. They will improve the moods even of pessimists.
7. Do not apply to any bank or banker for either loan or increased overdraft. You won't get either.
Smile at any passing bank manager, however, and wish him/her a good day. Nobody is talking to them nowadays for obvious reasons, and those at the field level we have contact with feel lower than a snake's belly.