Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Handy my arse


I have the January blues and I have them bad. It's nothing to do with what you might expect; I'm not seriously in debt or frantically wondering how best to cook that adorable labrador puppy I got, now that I realise all too late that he's for dinner and not just for Christmas.

Granted, I am detoxing a little bit, but somewhat like Eleanor Rigby, I'm rotating my kidneys in a jar of formaldehyde I keep by the front door, I check them every time I go out and they seem to be coming along nicely.

Anyway, what's really grinding my gears is this. Peat Briquettes, that's what. For the uninitiated, these are little blocks of compressed bog peat (see pic) that burn really well and have been a staple at Irish firesides for years, after the watershed point in history where we all got too lazy to go and cut real turf. Like our gap-toothed forebears atop rickety donkey carts used to do, the ones on those postcards we flog to American tourists hoping they won't notice the con.

Now why exactly would humble peat briquettes cause me such anguish? Well first of all, it's a repressed anger that resides deep within me and I need to step back about twelve years here to explain fully. I was chatting up this fine looking young one in the pub on a college night out circa 1996 and I had cleverly steered the conversation towards fossil fuels, as you do. She was very much in thrall to my witty solid fuel patter but the whole thing hit the skids when I mentioned the briquettes, pronouncing them in my Cavan brogue as 'brickitts.' As opposed to the quasi French way you're, apparently, supposed to do it, i.e. brick-ettes. For some reason she found this absolutely hilarious and after cackling like a hyena for a few minutes, called over her friends so they too could hear the quaint bogman yokel and his backwoods mispronunciations. To make matters worse, I further erred just moments later in the course of continuing conversation (when they'd all calmed down) and instead of saying lorry, as in the trucks, I said 'lurry' - like we do, sigh, in Cavan. This was the last straw for yer wan who simply dissolved into breathless hysterics all over again and went off to the toilets with her clucking entourage in tow, all wiping their eyes and shaking their heads.

She hadn't come back three hours later, so says I to myself straightening my belt proudly, while cursing the brickitts and the lurries they rode in on, she's ruined her chance and is getting none of the ould sex off me tonight so she's not.

Now we can all agree that this is reason enough to have a slight aversion to the brickitts. But over the Christmas I was given a whole new reason to hate the little hoors. Mammy McDanger was getting into the festive spirit and wanted the open fire lit for the season that was in it, but she had no brickitts and no logs. (In case you're wondering, in Cavan we say logs like this: 'logs'.)

So I decided I'd go off and get the brickitts while brother McDanger went off for the logs. I opted to stroll the half mile or so to the tiny shop in the village that sells fuel, sweets, newspapers, fresh fruit and veg, hardware, groceries, pharmaceuticals, ornaments and not at all unusually, coffins. I was looking forward to getting all toasty in front of a crackling fire and was even whistling the tune they used to use on the ad for the brickitts, called the Marino Waltz if anyone wants to know. I also remembered the jingle from another, older ad. 'Handy peat briquettes' it used to say.

Yeah, well, handy my arse is all I can say. Ten minutes later I was puffing and panting up the street with a bale of the little feckers swinging from my hand and the strap on them digging into my palm and fingers, raising lumpy white welts. I kept swapping it from hand to hand but to no avail, me mitts were falling off me with the cold and stinging with the welts and it kept twisting in mid-air and banging off my legs and just feckin' annoying me the whole way home. (Edit: I'm reading this back now checking spelling and the double entendre in there is just too wacky not to mention. Sorry. Back to the post now.) They got progressively heavier as well. I was just a little bit pissed off with the whole lot and was very happy to get home so this ass could unburden himself so to speak.

The tale of woe might end there you'd think but no. My struggle was just beginning. Brickitts are supposed to be 'handy' because the strap on them is meant to peel away easily in one movement. So I expectantly grip the little tab and pull. And pull. And grunt. And pull. And grunt. And a little fart escapes. I wince, and grunt some more. And pull. No give. I pull again. There's veins starting to rise at my temple. I grunt. I heave. I groan. I hiss, and then I bellow: "For fecks sake you fecking infernal bastards of hell feck off back to damnation with your handy bullshit fugging Jesus arghhghhghg!!!!"

Finally, boiling and seething, I grab a hatchet and with one fell blow the strip snaps apart and the brickitts fall out, at last. But I don't stop, I just keep chopping and hacking and smashing the little bastards because if feels so good.

And then I burned them. And rubbed my hands and laughed demonically into the flames as they perished.

Don't. Fuck. With. Terence. McDanger.

23 moos and woofs:

Grandad said...

A very handy way to open a bale of brickitts is to hold a [burning] cigarette lighter to the strap. Stand to one side though, as when the strap burns through it sends burning globbets of plastic flying all over the place. It's a very pretty sight, and produces some interesting, and permanent decoration on the walls and ceiling

Catherine said...

That plastic strap is pure evil. Pure and utter evil.

I also open the strap by use of fire sometimes by melting it with a match. Or else I use scissors, fold the damn thing into a ball, and throw it on the fire where it curls up and dies.

By the way, with this comment verification thing: it's called 'Word Verification'. Since when has 'lkjtdrfz' been a word?

Terence McDanger said...

The burning one is a good one alright but it doesn't get the agression out like the old frenzied hatchet attack prescribed in Cavan psychiatric sessions for generations now.

And why don't they just show some punter burning the strap on the ads, instead of some smiling Play-Your-Cards-Right model peeling the strip away like newspaper? Hrmmmph.

Btw, I hate having to use the word verification thingy but it's a good way of keeping the headbangers away...

Baino said...

Aha . . packaging like this is manufactured by a company called Bastards Incorporated. They are the same morons that produce: Gladwrap boxes, ring pulls that fall off, fold back juice bottle sealers and a plethora of complex opening devices designed to exact the same response as yours! Smashing them to smitherines was the only course of action you could take. Well done! I am now afraid, very afraid!

Adullamite said...

I understand the folly of speaking normally. As a Scot in England I am always being questioned about words like 'book.' 'Buuk?' they ask grinning. I was confronted by a Glasgow doctor (middle class weegie, whatever next?) who had been in discussion with a room full of colleagues when they reacted in similar vein. He came to me in a strop, "Say 'took'" he demanded. 'Took,' said I. "They laughed!"
said he! On the other hand,back home I am called 'English middle class' because I have adapted so the cretins can understand me.

Be yersel man! Crowds will flock tae ye. Ken whit a mean like?

Terence McDanger said...

Crowds flock to me already. Usually the angry, baying kind with pitchforks marching on my home, however.

My cousin worked for a while in a London pub, and he said the number of times the customers tried to get him to say £3.33 (tree turty tree) had him driven demented!

Catherine said...

About packaging again: on the American Dialect Society's Word of the Year list was wrap rage which is anger induced by the inability to open supermarket packaging - I reckon that can be extended to peat briquettes as well, since they probably don't have Bord na Móna in the US....

Batbitch said...

You any good? At sex, that is.

Terence McDanger said...

She (and as likely, you) will never know.

Nice hairdo!

Susan said...

Something I've been wanting to blog about for a looooong time!

http://www.iol.ie/~cparker/cavanese.htm

Skip the boring part at the top to get to the words-- I never knew about the Crow Shit, but then you know how I feel about Killeshandra.

!!

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