ROSS O’CAR­ROLL- KELLY

‘ My sons take af­ter me, not just in terms of looks, but in their love of be­ing sur­rounded by ad­mir­ing fe­males’

The Irish Times Magazine - - COVER STORY -

Honor says that Courage Kennedy’s mom is look­ing for my phone num­ber. This is while I’m do­ing the school run. I’m like, “Who’s Courage Kennedy? And what have you done to the poor girl that her old dear wants to speak to me?” In the back of the cor Brian, Johnny and Leo are shout­ing, “Horse­shit! Horse­shit! Horse­shit! Horse­shit!”, which looks like it’s go­ing to be their swear word of the day.

Honor looks up from her phone with a hurt face on her. She goes, “Why do you al­ways think the worst of me?”

I’m like, “Ex­cuse me?”

“Er, I’m not al­ways hor­ri­ble, you know, Some­times I can be a very nice per­son.”

“I know you can. Es­pe­cially when you want some­thing.”

“Well, just so you know, I stopped bul­ly­ing Courage two years ago. She’s now one of my, what I call, use­ful idiots.”

“Oh, that’s, em, great, Honor. Shows real growth. So why is her old dear look­ing for my dig­its?”

“I think she wants to send you the in­vi­ta­tion link to join her Mount Anville Moms What­sApp group.”

Brian shouts “Fock­ing Horse­shit!”, and he thumps the win­dow with the side of his fist.

I’m like, “You said it, Brian. There’s not a chance of that hap­pen­ing.”

I’m al­ready a mem­ber of seven dif­fer­ent Le­in­ster rugby dis­cus­sion fo­rums on What­sApp, as well as a “Shane Byrne for Pres­i­dent” cam­paign group, which storted out as a joke but we man­aged to talk our­selves into the idea over the course of the first af­ter­noon. Now we’re try­ing to per­suade the dude to ac­tu­ally run.

God, I love Shane Byrne.

“It was Mom who ac­tu­ally storted the group,” Honor goes. “But she doesn’t re­spond to mes­sages any­more. I think she’s ac­tu­ally mut­ing?”

I’m there. “Wouldn’t sur­prise me. Your old dear has def­i­nitely changed since she joined the Church of LinkedInOl­ogy.”

“Well, that’s why they want you to join the What­sApp group. As in, you’re, like, kind of my mom these days and she’s, like, kind of my dad.”

“So what do these women talk about on this What­sApp group? Recipes for ve­gan skin­care for­mu­la­tions and em­brac­ing your F. U. P. A.?”

“Yeah, but they also talk about, like, school stuff?” “Horse­shit!” Leo goes. And I don’t bother ques­tion­ing his anal­y­sis.

“Plus they do loads of, like, ac­tiv­i­ties to­gether,” Honor goes. “On Wed­nes­days they have yo­galates.” “What, in Stor­bucks?”

“It’s not a drink, Dad. It’s a fu­sion work­out. But they do go for cof­fee to­gether on Tues­days and Thurs­days. And some­times they drink wine.”

“It sounds like my idea of a night­mare,” I go, as I turn into the cor pork of the school. “Look, if this woman asks you for my num­ber again, just tell her that I don’t have an ac­tual phone.”

“What’s in it for me?”

See, I’m an­other one of Honor’s use­ful idiots – the orig­i­nal and the best. I’m there. “I’ll give you fifty yoyos.” She goes, “I want a thou­sand.” “Okay, I’ll give you a thou­sand not to give her my num­ber.”

Of course, now I’m para­noid that this woman is go­ing to end up see­ing me and nab­bing me. I’m there, “Okay, Honor, out you get.” She’s like, “Ex­cuse me?” “Er, we’ve ar­rived at the school – hop out there.” “Yeah, the cor is still mov­ing, Dad.”

“Come on, it’s barely mov­ing Honor. I’m do­ing five kilo­me­tres per hour, look.”

“What do you want me to do – per­form a roll?” “Just open the door, throw your legs out and sort of run along with it for a few sec­onds with one hand on the top of the door and the other hand on the roof.”

“Dad, will you stop the fock­ing cor?”

And that’s what I end up hav­ing to do. Honor gets out, goes, “That grand bet­ter be in my bank ac­count by lunchtime”, then off she trots into the school.

So I throw the cor into drive again, and I’m about to take off when I no­tice a fig­ure stand­ing in front of me. And, though I’ve never met the woman be­fore, I know in­stantly that it’s Courage Kennedy’s old dear.

I have two choices here. I can put the cor back into pork and talk to the woman, or I can pre­tend I didn’t see her, put my foot down on the ac­cel­er­a­tor and hope she man­ages to jump clear. In the end I de­cide that that might be the wrong thing to do. The Je­suits clearly left a mork on me.

“This is fock­ing horse­shit!” Leo goes. “Fock­ing, fock­ing horse­shit!”

I wind down the win­dow.

“Hi, Ross,” the woman goes, “I’m Mal­lo­rie Kennedy, Courage Kennedy’s mom! I just wanted to in­tro­duce my­self!”

The smell of Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir sud­denly fills the cor, and the most amaz­ing thing hap­pens. The boys stop sud­denly swear­ing. Be­cause they can pre­sum­ably see what I can see, that Mal­lo­rie Kennedy is – and hope­fully this isn’t me ob­jec­ti­fy­ing women – a se­ri­ous, se­ri­ous honey.

I’m there. “Mal­lo­rie. Yeah, no, I’ve, em, heard a lot about you.”

“Oh my God,” she goes, look­ing into the back of the cor, “look at those beau­ti­ful boys!”

All of a sud­den Mount Anville moms stort ap­pear­ing from ev­ery di­rec­tion, crowd­ing around us, go­ing, “Triplets! Aren’t they just adorable?” They’re not, of course – they’re foul- mouthed thugs.

“Can we take them out?” one of the other moth­ers goes. “Have a lit­tle hold?”

I’m like, “Er, yeah – at your own risk, of course.” “I’m Re­becca, by the way. I was in school with Sor­cha. I re­mem­ber you were a great player.”

I doubt if she’s much of a judge, but I still go, “Yeah, no, thanks,” be­cause I’m a sucker for a com­pli­ment. “I’ll take it.”

“He never lost his looks ei­ther!” one of the other moth­ers goes, and they all laugh.

I can feel my face ac­tu­ally red­den.

They’ve taken the boys out of their cor seats now, and they’re telling them what hand­some boys they are and I’m think­ing, “Okay, goys, don’t stort eff­ing and blind­ing now”, but they don’t be­cause my sons take af­ter me, not just in terms of looks, but in their love of be­ing sur­rounded by ad­mir­ing fe­males. “So,” Mal­lo­rie goes, “we’ve got this What­sApp group for Mount Anville moms.”

And I’m like, “My num­ber is 087…”

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