Wednesday, September 30, 2009


You know how it is. You're fucking whacked as you arrive home from a pretty exhausting day at work. Deadlines to meet, meetings to attend, COs to beat (ha!). All you can think of is grabbing the remains of last night's curry out of the fridge, nuking it in the microwave for 5 minutes, scoffing it down and then collapsing in front of the telly for the rest of the evening.

I had one of those days today. I'm not complaining, being nicely busy makes the day go faster. Evenings at home on these days are usually a stark contrast to the day in work. I like to just do feck all. Grass needs cutting? Arse. Ironing? Pish. I'm going to watch The Simpsons.

So I was barely in the door and had just about left my handbag down along with the random assortment of stuff I've brought in, when the doorbell rang. "Ooh", I thought expectantly, "It must be that fit new neighbour with the nice tight jeans that show his nice muscly arse off to perfection coming round to introduce himself." And off I bounded to answer the door.


"Hello, my name is Lara and I am an art student from Israel. Would you like to see some of my paintings?"

"Eh. No."

"Oh just have a look."

"Er, no."


"I've just got in from work. I haven't even had a chance to take this ID badge off. I'm not interested."

I got the door closed before the girl had time to take another breath.

That's the third Israeli art student I've had ringing my Ballyfuck doorbell this year. The first one managed to keep me on the doorstep for twenty minutes in January while he proudly displayed "his" work. I didn't buy anything but did enjoy the puzzled look on his face while I compared one painting to the work of Jack Vettriano and another to that of Modigliani. Art student? My hole. And the hard sell techniques are spectacular. The second one came at a time when I was recovering from a chest infection and stood wheezing in the doorway. Incredibly this "art student" was also a "medical student" and offered a back massage to help clear the congestion! "Feck off", I told him.

I usually "answer" the door by sticking my head out of one of the upstairs windows and shouting down to the caller. It's great fun altogether.

"No, sorry, you can't come in. I'm imprisoned in this upstairs room but if you come back in five years I'll have grown my hair long enough to be able to let it down and then you can climb up and rescue me and maybe at that point I might buy something off you".

Or, alternatively, a stack of pre-prepared flour and water bombs by the window are another useful aid.

Forms downloaded from Revenue's website and left by the window are great too. "Are you paying income tax on these sales? If not you'd better fill this out!"

Bloody cold callers. Why can't they all just fuck off and let me eat my dinner in peace? The next one gets a fork in the eye.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Shooting the Breeze

Most people I know like to catch up with current events and gossip over pints at the weekend or a convivial tea break in the Department canteen. This is an important part of our daily lives and it helps if it's done in reasonable comfort.

Which is why I can't understand people who conduct their social lives in strange places.

Like on the stairs. As someone who likes to jog up and down stairs I frequently find myself impeded by groups of middle aged women who, at some stage, decided to take a rest going upstairs and just stopped where they are, ripe for being run into by that rarest of civil servants, the energetic ones. And do you think they say sorry, cop on and go somewhere else? Not likely. There must be a rule somewhere in the civil service code of conduct that says "You must inconvenience a minimum of three people daily in shared areas". If I find where this rule is written and if it doesn't specify how I should inconvenience others, then I'll resign myself to kicking these people up the fucking arse.

The ladies' toilets are also ripe, in more ways than one, for social gatherings. What more perfect way to get the latest news with the tinkling background music of hissing piss and the gentle percussion of poo plopping into the water? Not to mention the attendant aromas? It always disturbs me when I walk into the workplace loos to find two women gossiping and who glare at me when I enter, as if it were their private space. They are usually still there when I've finished washing my hands.

Worse again are those acquaintances from other sections who attempt to engage me in conversation in the bathrooms.
"Hello Govstooge."
"Hello Lucretia."
"Any holidays planned?"
"No, but I've just come back actually."
"Really? Where from?"
"Outer Mongolia."
"What was that like?"
"Pretty good. Whiffed a bit in places, mind. A bit like here. Have to go, I'll talk to you later."

Maybe for the next staff suggestion scheme I'll make a submission saying everyone should set up a Twitter-type thing on the Department intranet. That way we'll know what everyone else is up to. We won't even need the canteen after that...

Eh, maybe not. Coffee anyone?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Raging Bullshit

Isn't it funny, the way people can just be in the wrong place at the wrong time? Or that they just might have picked the wrong person to piss off on a particular day?

I generally like to shut myself off from the outside world when I'm out and about. I don't like to listen to the sounds of traffic or machinery when I'm enjoying a leisurely stroll. I usually firmly implant my iPod headphones in my ears to counteract any of this extraneous noise. Listening to music on the go also insulates me against "smart" comments from teenagers and people who think they can get my attention so they can ask directions by driving slowly - kerb crawling if you will - alongside me while honking their horns. These I studiously ignore.

Occasionally, certain things will encroach upon my personal space, irritating me. A waft of stinking fag smoke from a passer-by. Idiots walking in a group, several persons abreast, thinking I'll step off the footpath for them (usually reserve my elbow for the nearest one of these). But these are accidental and unintentional.

The deliberate interference with other people in public is something I can't abide. Lecherous old men who think women are fair game and attempt to grab them. This has happened to me once and the perpetrator was on the receiving end of a "Go fuck yourself" from me and a stern warning from a uniformed Garda I knew.

Today was nearly as bad. I was walking close to the Department earlier on. I was somewhat preoccupied with a work related problem and was thinking about how I would approach the person responsible. All guns blazing, or softly-softly? Hmm. I prefer the former myself. But in the interest of future workplace harmony, I have to go with the latter. To make my temperament conducive to a gentler approach, I take out my iPod and begin shuffling it in the hope of finding a nice slow classical piece.

I had to settle on "Dancing with Myself" by Billy Idol, even though that wasn't going to achieve the effect I'd desired. I'd had to put the gadget away somewhat quickly as there were two boys walking towards me and there was something about their whole demeanour I didn't like. The iPod was in my pocket with my right hand closed firmly around it.

As the little fuckers passed, it turns out my instinct was correct, one of them did try to make a grab for it. Unsuccessfully, as my hand was around it, and remember, I was still in an all-guns-blazing frame of mind.

So if anyone was in the vicinity of the Department earlier on today and happened to see two boys running for their lives pursued by a swearing office worker, well now you know the story.

I didn't keep it up for long. I had no intention of catching them. I had better things to be doing you know. But I gave them a good fright and they weren't to be seen again. A couple of minutes later, I couldn't stop a broad grin from spreading across my face as I pictured the scenario. I've laughed about it to everyone I've spoken to since. Laughter truly is the best medicine and I did find that it diffused the tension I had been feeling where music couldn't.

The moral of the story? Leave Govstooge alone in public. This EO bites.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


...c'est les autres. At least, that's what Jean-Paul Sartre once said.

And I'm inclined to agree. Hell truly is other people.

Take one of my colleagues for instance. Let's call this colleague "Calamity" for illustrative purposes. I don't work directly with Calamity as he is in a different office, but I speak regularly with him on the phone. I shouldn't, but I invariably do, ask, "How are you today, Calamity?" Because this invariably leads onto a litany of the latest woes to befall this misfortunate functionary.

So far, I've been told:
"My arse exploded last night."
"My wife's arse exploded last night."
"I was off last week. Spent the whole time in bed with a bucket by my side."
"I was on holidays in Darfur. Stupid time to go, really."
"There was a dead sheep with an upside down crucifix stuck in it nailed to my front gate this morning".
"Hitler's ghost woke me up last night."
"Bertie Ahern is my best friend."
"The hubcap came off my X5. I have an X5 you know. It's shiny."

For several months now, I have been a shoulder to cry on for Calamity. I have been a sounding board for all his problems. I have been Marjorie Proops, Doctor Phil, Joe Duffy, all rolled into one. I have interjected his lament with "ooh you poor thing" on innumerable occasions, so much so that when my nearby colleagues hear this phrase they have to snigger and say to each other "Uh-oh, Govstooge's onto Calamity again."

I bet you are thinking, "Aaw, Govstooge's really nice after all." No? Oh well.

Anyway, Calamity, if you happen to be reading this in between your bouts of vomiting and missing hubcaps, please take note that I am no longer a free counselling service. Find a properly qualified therapist and pay them whatever they ask, you earn more than me anyway, you tight fucking bastard.

And next time a piece of information goes astray between my department and yours, complain to me directly. Don't ring up my managers denouncing me and making out I don't know what I'm doing, even though it was the first time something went wrong.

Because, if I knew where you lived, I'd be round there to give you something new to complain about.

Hell is Govstooge with a pointy stick.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

New Recruits?

What is it with people bringing their babies into work? Today I had to endure shrieks and cries from the other end of the office along with all the other shit I have to put up with when a colleague brought her little bundle of joy into work.

Oops. I might have made this sound all wrong. Let me clarify.

The shrieks and cries weren't from the baby, who was gurgling peaceably in her carry-cot and smiling angelically at everyone. Aaaw. Bless.

It was the middle aged women who were crowded around who were making all the noise! Women whose voices were never meant for indoors! Women who could have made a living as lumberjacks "Timberrrrrrr!"! Women who have done nixers for the local builders when their angle-grinder broke and they needed something to cut sheet metal with, fast! Now think of a crowd of about ten of them and you've got the picture. Shudder. The ensuing cacophony was deafening!

"OOOH She's just like her MOTHER...!"

Fuck it. Let's just sack these loud middle-aged women and replace them with babies. Even on a bad day, a baby wouldn't make the same amount of noise. In all probability, they smell better as well. And they don't care about benchmarking, strikes, NAMA or Eastenders. All they want is a bottle, a clean nappy and a bunch of keys to keep them happy. Swap forms for keys and we're on a winner.

I think it'll work. With a bit of careful planning, no-one will notice the difference. There'll even be the same amount of drool.