With friends gathered in a restaurant for dinner to do a bit of catching-up and to shoot the breeze, the conversation got around to the subject of illegal drugs and youth, as opposed to the legal stuff like alcohol.

Someone said she loved the way the sniffer dogs at airports get into the spirit of their work with all the frantic nosing around they display amongst the travel bags and occasional groin. She thought it was very cute and showed how loyal the mutt is to its master.

There was consternation when I suggested the reason the dogs are so keen is because they have been deliberately addicted to various narcotics such as cocaine, heroin, and hash, by their handlers, hence they are craving for a fix everytime they think there might be something in a travel bag.

"That's how they find it so easily," I offered.

A woman was aghast at my contention and her husband said I was being 'insensitive' to make such a comment, and couldn't I see she was a dog lover?

It probably didn't help when I responded with a comment I felt might lighten things up a bit by answering: "People's private lives are really no concern of mine, but I think it makes perfect sense to turn dogs into junkies so as to seek out the stuff - they have great noses, after all."

A younger person at the table piped up: "There might be some truth in it because I saw on 'Family Guy' where the dog Brian became addicted to coke after he got a job as a drugs sniffer at Quahog airport."

The dog-lover husband was by now frothing from the mouth and on the verge of calling me out for fight because of what I'd started, and my great aunt Maude was adamant the animal cruelty prevention people would never allow a dog to be injected or otherwise ingest the stuff.

"Not in Ireland anyway, we're still a Catholic country," she ventured.

"I'll have no more of that guff outta you directed at my wife!" the irate husband ejaculated across the table at me, and for some reason only known to himself, felt I had in some way offended his honour. Getting heated by now, my lovely date attempted to pour oil on troubled waters, suggesting we calm down and later we could check up on the smack-heads dogs and bitches contention on the Internet.

Another pleaded that in the meantime we'd order another four bottles of wine.

"We're all friends here, aren't we?"

Everyone agreed, and a peace of sorts descend ... but I don't think it's quite over yet. Things were said. Such is life nowadays. We live in times when so many folk feel their lives are like they see in the movies, and umbrage is taken at the drop of a hat or spilt drink.

Men especially get all macho and can quickly become their own super-hero in defence of world freedom and the like, I find. They go to films like 'Avengers' and on leaving take on the persona of Thor or Iron Man, out to put the world to rights and taking crap from nobody. This is especially apparent when the drink kicks in, and the clouding of fact and fantasy merge seamlessly.

In a world sodden with booze, I often wonder how anything gets done in work and in politics. Our Dail must be unique in that there is a pub attached to the Parliament House so that our representatives can get sozzled in between passing legislation affecting the citizens of Ireland.

Too many Irish people seem to me to be permantely high on something, and I'm sure that in the US there is a lot of truth in the news that Wall St. saw much of its problems arise because whizz kid dealers and investors and bankers were walloping down huge quantities of cocaine and drink.

Listen to those we know well who drink a lot, be it at the dinner table or in the public arena of debate. They will lament the abuse of weed and alcohol by the young, all the while lashing back the wine themselves as if it contained no alcohol per gallon of the stuff consumed before dessert arrives.
Loquacious guests will rant eloquently about the feckless youth of today, and by the end of the night one has to call a taxi for them to get home, lest they attempt to sit into their own cars and drive off into the night.