I suppose in hindsight we shouldn’t have been all that surprised. Unrest and disquiet is in the air these times and in fairness, The Lads have taken a back seat for a very long time.

Just about every group within society has become organised. There are several women’s groups, ethnic organisations, victims groups, pressure groups, LGBT and transgender – to mention but a few. ‘Everyone is represented except us’, said one of the Lads

‘United we stand, divided we fall’, came from a small Lad at the back of the room as another member, with a few pints in him, burst into ‘we shall not be moved.’

Cutting straight to the chase, the breaking news this week is that The Lads have organised themselves into an association, which they hope will give recognition to the plight of a voiceless segment of today’s population in Ireland.

‘We are now a minority … a persecuted minority’, claimed one of the founder members to loud applause and roars of ‘up ya boya’ at the inaugural meeting. ‘The group name is very important because it makes members feel cohesive’, said the chairman. After the word ‘cohesive’ was debated for a while, the new chairman went on to launch the name of the new association. It will be known as AMEN – or ‘Association of Men Entitled to Nothing.’

AMEN will incorporate the previously known ‘Ordinary man in the Street’ and ‘The poor unfortunate Scrut’. It was also pointed out from the floor that 75 per cent of the letters in AMEN spells ‘men’; ‘but have you ever heard that mentioned before’, he asked.

There are naturally some requirements to satisfy before becoming a member of AMEN.

The applicant must be a Lad, never have been anything other than a Lad, and must give an undertaking that he will never try to be anything other than a Lad. ‘Slagging’ is encouraged among the Lads, but members must always be respectful and kind to women. Sexist jokes are permitted amongst members – as long as they are funny and not dirty or vicious.

Same thing with racist jokes: mild funny ones are OK as long as the teller can laugh at himself as well. And as one Lad pipped up with; ‘if he’s a Biffo … he’s a Biffo!’

To qualify for membership a Lad must have, or have had, a mother or a mammy. Any young applicant with a ‘mom’ will be placed on a waiting list. When yours truly enquired about being a member, I was told that my application would have to go before a full committee hearing. One of the founders has a long memory and apparently one Sunday in 1964 I went for afternoon tea with a girl and missed a hurling match. Joining is not as easy as it seems!

But back to the benefits of being organised into a fellowship of our own. AMEN is confident that there will be significant advantages to individual members and to the association as a whole. Last night’s spokesman was quite excited over how he sees future prospects.

Bernie Comaskey Books

‘Because we represent a threatened minority, we will get anything and everything that is going’, the man said. ‘You won’t see a discussion panel on RTE without a token chair there for one of us. At least one Lad from AMEN will be featured ever week in a three-page colour pull-out article in a Sunday newspaper. Most importantly of all, nobody … and I mean nobody, will be allowed to show even a hint of what appears to be discrimination against a Lad. It is essential that we always have a ‘hard done by’ Lad on standby to talk to Joe Duffy!’

There was a long discussion on how members might be discriminated against because of being a Lad. Several examples were put forward and answers sough and given as to how to deal with being ‘different.’ The last topic to be dealt with was the possibility of being pestered by the opposite sex. No resolution was passed on this one when some bachelor farmer members said they knew nothing at all about the subject. Then after it was explained to them, they stated that if a lady out there was interested in pestering them a little, they would like to wait to see how it affected them before making up their mind …

Two of the Lads called to my house. Both Miriam O’Callaghan and Ryan Tubridy were looking for an AMEN representative to come into studio. The Lads asked if I would do it. Of course I was chuffed and really looking forward to becoming a national figure. ‘Stand by for a phone call, I was told.

‘Ting-a-ling-a-ling’ … here it comes.  I nonchalantly mutter, ‘Hi Ryan’ after stretching for the ringing handset. But … shock …horror; instead of a phone, I find myself cradling the alarm clock. It was all a bloody dream – and sadly to relate, the Lads continue to be as disorganised as ever!

Don’t Forget

When in doubt, don’t.