What a week.
Last Saturday Ireland played New Zealand in a rugby match in, of all places, Chicago. For the first time ever and breaking New Zealand’s 18 match winning streak, we won. The Irish squad faced down the indomitable Haka by forming a figure of eight in honour of Anthony Foley, legendary Irish player and coach, who passed away unexpectedly and tragically a few weeks ago. It was one of the most emotional moments in the history of Irish sport. The match was incredible. No Hollywood screenwriter could have made up a more thrilling ninety minutes of television. Husband damn near wet himself. He had to phone his brother to make certain he hadn’t dreamed the whole thing.
On Sunday we watched a freshly hatched iguana stand still and unblinking to escape detection by a nest of hungry snakes. David Attenborough, we felt, could not be relied upon to supply a happy ending so we perched at the edge of our seats and yelled for that baby iguana with as much enthusiasm and uncertainty in our hearts as when we cheered for the Irish team. Against the odds, little Iggie made it to safe ground and we jubilantly applauded another happy ending.
You see where this is going now, don’t you?
On Tuesday we went to bed secure in the certainty that America, having put on a spectacular show for the last few months, would deliver another happy ending. The polls, the pundits and common sense assured us that all would be well. Obviously they, and we, were wrong.
The exact same thing happened with Brexit. We woke up to a shocking result. The thing is, the Brits have trained us, through years of plays, books, BBC dramas, and even rugby matches, to be prepared for tragic endings. British soap operas kill off the good guys willy nilly and they NEVER turn up in the shower a year later claiming it was all a bad dream. Admittedly, there was that dodgy thing with Sherlock falling from the roof but we figured they were trying to sell him to America.
Shakespeare thought nothing of leaving a couple of minor characters on the stage wondering what the heck had gone wrong and what the feck should they do next.
‘Go hence and have more talk of these sad things: Some shall be pardoned and some punished.’
America wasn’t kind enough to prepare us the same way. America does happy endings. Had we woken on Wednesday to Hilary’s victory speech we might even have scoffed a little and said that it was all a bit Disney. In America heroes prevail, bad guys go down and Ireland beats New Zealand.
Donald Trump left the stage after his victory speech to the strains of ‘You don’t always get what you want.’ Now that’s just not Disney at all, at all.
On Wednesday the Irish media was stuck at ‘what the heck happened?’. Yesterday they stretched to ‘what the feck happens next?’. I was still nursing a hope that Hollywood would release an alternate ending.
Today I have a shitload of laundry to catch up on and a poorly five-year-old to nurse.
‘But Mama,’ she said to me in an accusatory tone, ‘you said you thought the girl was going to win.’
‘I did. I was wrong.’
‘I’m very disappointed.’