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Irish Eyes

By Mattie Lennon

Nothing Rhymes with Volvo

I'm trying to set up a support group called VOLLOCS; with a V. (Acronym will be explained anon).

You see I owned a Morris Minor in the seventies.............. Which reminds me. Have you ever noticed, apart from the social possibilities afforded, the literary merit of the MM? Fair play to Christy Moore, Richie Kavanagh, and Micky McConnell - they saw the rhyming potential of the Morris Minor; Dine 'er, Wine 'er, Baldy Miner, Recline 'er. Try working Peugeot, Chrysler, Citron, or Hyundai into a villanelle or a sonnet.

Have you ever heard anyone stand up at a Fleadh to sing; "The Toyota Camry Car?" And an ode to an Isuzu or a Renault would be utter Philistinism. I suppose you could rhyme something with KA, but who'd want to?

I digress. As I said, I owned an MM in the seventies and I sustained a lumber-disc-lesion (slipped disc to you) in the same decade. I contracted the latter in the back of the former during nocturnal post-dance activities around Lacken and surrounding areas of the Wicklow Mountains. I claim the Morris Minor designers/manufacturers were, at least partly, negligible through providing front seats which tilted forward making certain pelvic roll-back activities possible, if uncomfortable, in the rear. There are many places in our towns and cities, where the outside of a building describes an internal right angle, contagious to the thoroughfare. Have you ever noticed that, in such corners, there is sometimes a convex railing, with a spiked top, in position? This was a Victorian device for the purpose of discouraging erotica while parallel with the perpendicular. Why couldn't Sir Alec Issigonis have designed, if not spikes then, some form of deterrent in the back seat of the MM?

But instead of inhibiting they subtly advertised the added facility. A promotion leaflet from fifty years ago reads; "........relax in perfect comfort in the rear seat of the Morris......the seat is extra wide and deep and there is extra leg room.....deep pile carpets pad the floor...." More recently Paul Skilleter, in a Technical and Historic analysis of the Morris Minor, says it;"....gave a standard of ride-comfort such as had never been experienced in a small British car more than a is a familiar, dependable friend that does everything asked of it....has well planned accommodation inside."

And what did the late Ian Nairn mean, when he wrote, of the MM, in the Sunday Times,; ".....there is no way I can see a comfortable solution to a passionate embrace in the back seat?"

Bad back or no bad back it would be sharp practice on my part to take legal action against the designers of a machine with such attributes; and anyway, Sir Alec Issigonis didn't leave forwarding address. Of course I mightn't fare very well in court anyway; and it would be less than prudent to call a witness.

I see, now, where the British inventor, Cris McGlone, has applied for a patent for the "Posture Perfect"; a buzzing leotard. If the wearer adopts a wrong posture an alarm will go off. I wonder..........

A friend of mine, a shopkeeper, claims the aforementioned alternative gymnastics are not possible in the MM. (This man once owned a Morris Minor, but it must be said he has a perfect back) "I'll show you how possible it is" says I " Get me a Morris Minor and a........." Then I remembered the words of Nicolas Boileau; "Chaquee age a ses plaisirs..." (every age has It's pleasures) I am anno-domino-barred. However I felt obliged to point out to my friend, the shopkeeper, that when Dermot O'Leary was promoting "The Oldest Swinger in Town," it wasn't a Prefect or an Austin Seven he used on the posters.

I'd swear the ancient Romans knew the erotically appealing properties of the MM; do you remember that little red car in the background in Ben Hur? It certainly wasn't a Romeo or a Lada.

Remember the character in Lee Dunne's "Does Your Mother" who was conceived in a watch-mans hut; he was called "Watchbox." Now wouldn't Morris Minor make a better name for a person than, say, Ford Orien or Opel Vectra?

A University-of-California study has found that men whose initials form negative acronyms e.g. P.I.G. or B.U.M. die 2.8 years younger than those with initials like V.I.P. or W.I.N. It would hardly be conducive to longevity to be called Volvo Diesel or Saab Turbo.

And speaking of longevity; the next time you see some fellow walking with difficulty (I would have every sympathy with him, he is in pain) but, ask him what's wrong with him. He will quote all sorts of erudite specialists and tell you we evolved too quickly. We weren't intended to stand up straight, he'll tell you. Then you'll have to listen to all sorts of fancy terminology; Scoliosis, Lordosis, Lor...this and Lor..that. Just listen to him for a while and then innocently ask; "Did you ever bring a Morris Minor to a dance?"

If you happen to see my old Morris Minor on the road (the Reg.No. is 7440 IK) have a look at the current driver. If it's male and walking in the manner described above, there is a good chance he didn't heed the warning on the faded bumper-sticker; PRACTICE SAFE SEX, AVOID THE BACK SEAT.

Oh, I nearly forgot the acronym.

~ ~ ~

The term "broad-mindedness" is used to describe the attitude of everyone from those who advocate wholesale abortion to those who think that wife-swapping should be made compulsory. But it is the ability to see the other person's point-of-view and is therefore considered a virtue. And while I do not fully agree that "....our virtues are only vices in disguise," I have perceived that there is a price to be paid for broad-mindedness, compared to such virtues as chastity, honesty and tolerance.

I mean, if you were to give me a belt in the mouth and I could perfectly see the reason, as perceived by you, I'd be unlikely to take retaliatory action. If you claimed inability to pay money owed to me and I had what it takes to fully empathize with your penury, I wouldn't get a penny. It is a noble and God-like thing to refrain from criticizing your brother until you have walked a mile in his mocassins. It could, however, leave you with a shoe on your own foot.

If one of your bosses adopts a zero-tolerance approach and you can see his point of view so well that you agree with him, then you're banjaxed. Didn't Patrick Kavanagh say, when warning against preaching too near the gates of Hell: "After a while in Hell, you begin with Hell's point of view."

It could be argued that broad-mindedness is a lack of conviction in one's own opinions.

There is very often nothing wrong with compromise -- that is, giving up part of a claim. But being so understanding of your opponent that you forfeit all claims is a shortcut back to cave-dwelling. For whatever reason, I'm not particularly good at seeing the other fellow's viewpoint. And when I do see it, I tend to do all in my power to conceal any signs of my understanding to him.

Sometimes I say, "Thank God I'm a narrow-minded bastard."  

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