“Right,” I declared self-satisfiedly to Fundy as we packed our bags and prepared to leave Killarney for the next unsuspecting town on our cheap-o bus tour of Ireland. “We’ve got just enough time to get to the shop for some stamps”.
We nodded at each other knowingly. Damn we were organised! We were so organised that we had made time to write postcards early in the trip so that they would arrive home before we did. Tackling the mission while simultaneously sampling Guinness upon our initial arrival in Dublin, we had congratulated ourselves on our savoir faire. All we had to do now was post them and our work would be done. Parents? – tick! Fundy’s Gran? – tick! Friends in the UK, Australia and beyond? – tick, tick, tick! We ruled the travelling school.
However, surprise surprise, many towns and many Guinness’s later the cards remained unsent. Time was running out if we were to not beat them back.
“So, if you give them to me, I’ll put them in the box,” I distractedly continued, wrestling an errant shoe-lace. “They might just make it.”
“No, you give them to me and I’ll sort them out,” replied Fundy, looking up from his pack.
“But you’ve got them,” I countered, wondering what he was on about.
“No. I thought you did…..”
*Tweet twee-heeet* A distant cricket punctuated the silence as the cogs of our comprehension cranked to a halt. We had left the written postcards in the pub in Dublin, probably tangled up with the Sunday papers. D’Oh!
It didn’t really matter. We consoled ourselves that we would simply pick up some more and send them off and no one need ever know. It was a shame though. Some of the original cards were real classics and we had taken special time to compose messages linking them personally to their recipients.
Having said that, most of the messages were pretty benign. There is only so much you can fit on the back of a postcard, but we had done our best to describe where we were and what we were doing and to ‘wish you were here’ and all that. We had filled each postcard to tender capacity with only one exception: a black and white card of a trench-coated Irishman ‘flashing’ at some sheep. This particular card was intended for our special friend, ‘the King’.
Now, Fundy and the King have been mates for a long time. They also subscribe to the brand of male bonding where the more derogatory the insult the higher the perceived esteem. They basically show their love by creatively offending each other. So, not wanting to break with tradition, on the back of the King’s ‘flasher’ postcard we had simply and eloquently declared:
King is a *something rude*
Doo dah doo dah
King is a *something rude*
Oh doo dah day
We never did find out what happened to those cards. They are lost in time and the ether. That is, apart from the above. To our delight, it arrived in the King’s mailbox about three months later. We laughed and beheld it in awe, wondering which unknown soul had not only found it and posted it, but paid their own hard-earned euro for the stamp.
And somewhere out there a new superhero known to us only as the ‘Paddy Postman’ requires no reward. De-wedging his on-the-outside underpants and checking his stamp gun, he glides onwards, ever onwards, from pillar to post-box, anonymously doing his duty for candour in correspondence everywhere.
Thank you, Paddy Postman. Wherever you are, thank you. And look out friends and relatives – somehow and at some time an outdated Irish postcard may yet arrive for you.
*This is a sample post. This story was originally published by the Herald Sun, May 24, 2009