independent

Thursday 17 October 2019

I still haven't learned how to control the urge to speak my mind

Justine O'Mahony

I'M NOT a particularly superstitious person but I read my stars every week in one particular local newspaper. They are written by a guy who I've interviewed a couple of times who told me things about myself that he couldn't possibly have guessed. Himself of course is totally sceptical. 'Yeah, so he told you, you were having a girl. Well there was a 50/50 chance he was going to be right.'

Every time I meet this guy he gives off such an aura of goodness that I want to believe everything he says in my stars. He constantly says that I'm going to have money worries (story of my life – just can't get enough of it) and that I'm going to follow a different career path (maybe the producers of Downton Abbey are looking for a new Irish maid). But mostly he offers sage advice about dealing with everyday issues.

This week he advised that I should hold my tongue in relation to family matters and not fall out with anyone because once something is said it can't be undone.

Now I'm not known for my diplomacy. In fact I'm notorious for my fiery temper and lack of tact. If something comes into my head, I just have to say it. It's like a form of Tourette's. I don't mean to be unkind or hurtful but normally if something is bothering me I have to get it off my chest and then I spend hours afterwards worrying about having p****d the other person off.

Alcohol makes me 10 times worse. If there's something I'm not supposed to mention you can be damn sure I'm going to say it when I've had a few too many. I told a good friend once that her husband was a right royal pain in the backside who had an ego the size of a juggernaut and ears to match. It was all true but obviously she didn't appreciate me dissing her man. Needless to say we don't exchange Christmas cards anymore.

You'd think I'd have learnt by mistakes but I haven't. It's like a reflex – something annoys me, I have to spit it out. I've been warned on numerous occasions to keep it zipped but short of actually gagging me, nothing seems to work.

So back to my stars and my Starman's advice to keep my mouth shut when it came to family matters. Not as easy as it sounds, especially when someone in particular is being totally unreasonable and driving everyone else up the walls. 'Say nothing now. Just don't get involved,' says Himself after he and another family member had a little moan about the Relly in question.

Then they had another little rant. Did she really have to be so bossy? And really. Was it necessary for her to be so contrary? And worst of all – why didn't she bloody buy her round like the rest of us? They had just stopped to draw breath when she walked into the room and they beamed benignly.

'What are you talking about?' she inquired innocently. 'You,' I blurted out. 'We were just saying you're being a right contrary cow.'

She glared at me and stormed out – probably to make a voodoo doll of me. I can predict next week's stars already: You are in the doghouse with a family member and the only way to win her over is to grovel and buy her a big bunch of flowers.

Honesty is a bloody expensive hobby!

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