“What on earth are you reading?” I asked Spike Righteous crossly, down in the club yesterday evening “its damned rude you know not to drink your brandy like a gentleman when its bought for you”. “But I bought my own Thackeray” Spike answered, his head still engrossed in his book “and yours too I’ll have you know”. “No reason to make a song and dance about it” I replied curtly, tipping the ash from my Monte Cristo no.4 on his shoes “well what drivel is it that you are reading that has you so consumed….the fictional story of weapons of mass destruction….the DIY manual of how to fix an electoral voting machine costing €50 million that doesn’t work ….or perhaps the self-help guide for grossly incompetent Taoiseach’s”. “None of the aforementioned I’m afraid Thackeray” Spike answered with a sigh “though they all sound very interesting….no…I’m reading the new novel by Diarmuid Hudner called “Im Happy Now.Com”….and it’s totally invigorating I can tell you”. “Well Im happy for him…fair play to him” Biffo “The Garda” Boyle said, taking a sip from his Giggle Juice “sure if he wasn’t happy before at least the cratur is now”. “So why does he have to tell everyone about it” I said irritably “thats writers for you….they think everyone cares whether they’re happy or not…well I don’t” I said ordering a round on Spike in disgust.
“That’s not what the book is about actually Thackeray” Spike intervened whilst at the same time nodding to Tracey man-barmaid to look to Biffo to pay for the round “he tells the story of how three young people who were experiencing different problems learnt how to find happiness in their lives”. “Well that’s just typical isn’t it” I said slamming my hand on the counter for effect “going around telling everyone how to be happy….damn nerve…who does he think he is ….Jehovah….what all this happiness lark about anyway”. “It’s very un-Irish alright” Biffo said sombrely “everyone knows that Irish people can’t be happy…..it’s all England’s fault for poisoning the spuds you know….if they’d just left well enough alone shure we’d be laughin”. “But the English are gone Biffo” Spike said pointing a finger at him. “Gone but not forgotten Righteous” Biffo answered angrily “I can never ate a British Queen without weeping”. “Well I think we should take this Hudner chappy out and give him a damn good thrashing…we’ll see how happy he is then” I said gulping back Biffo’s brandy while he cried about old Ireland. “But the book is about anti-bullying Thackeray….violence and intimidation is not the way to happiness” Spike said with a heavy sigh. “Well a good thrashing never hurt anyone….happened to me in school and look at me….a very well adjusted member of society” I said sticking out my chin. “That’s open to interpretation Thackeray” Biffo remarked shaking his head. “Hudner says that happiness is a conscious decision you make….it must be true because it’s selling out in Eason’s and Waterstones” Spike said shrugging his shoulders “and they’re gone mad for it in the States”. “Hudner bedamned….I’ll make my own decisions” I shouted drinking Spike’s Tequila Sunrise with a flourish “I’m an Irishman and a patriot and if that means making the decision to be unhappy for the rest of my days then so be it”. Being happy….still it seemed like a good idea at the time….