Monday, October 13, 2014

Clever Word Play Is Not Always Appropriate

Alex Lyons is not the first person to have problems with Ireland's health service. The man was so unfortunate as to fall ill in the first place, and then found himself in a tangle of bureaucracy that left him so frustrated he lashed out. It was the lashing out with his tongue that got him in trouble.

Mr. Lyons is a comedian who has written for radio artists. You may have heard some of his cleverly scripted banter on the radio, but you'd never know it of course because there are no credits rolling at the end of a radio programme.

The gardai who were given a performance at St. James Hospital had no idea they were dealing with a man who had a particular affinity for the spoken word. They clearly did not get the joke. Mr. Lyons got arrested.

The comedian-writer was upset at being discharged from hospital following treatment for a stroke, not because he was not properly treated, but because he was not properly sent off with the required paperwork that he needed to get financial assistance to tide him over until he was fully back on his feet and able to compose humorous sentences once again.

When you're not well, you don't have much of a sense of humour and when that's your bread and butter, you're in for a hard time.

Mr. Lyons was so worked up over the frustration of dealing with paper pushers that he thought he was having another stroke. He raced back to the hospital and jumped out of his car, only to be ordered to move the car by security personnel who did not like people parking where they shouldn't. The man wasn't stabbed or shot or otherwise bleeding profusely, so it wasn't much of a real emergency, was it?

Hilarity did not ensue, but the fight was on. Mr. Lyons had to be forcibly restrained, and the next thing he knew the gardai were called. He wanted to be seen by a doctor, but instead he was being given the boot. Is this how to treat a sick man?

Mr. Lyons reached the boiling point. He turned his fury on the garda and called the man a Nazi. Not just any sort of Nazi, but a cabbage, bacon and spud-munching culchie Nazi. The garda took great offense at being called a culchie. And a prick. The abusive language was just too much to let it roll off the officer's back.

If Mr. Lyons can scratch up 150 spare euro he can be cleared of all charges. The judge decided that the offense was not particularly serious and anyone who's dealt with the health service could understand the display of temper. As for Mr. Lyons, he's not rolling in dough. Few comedians make it in a tough industry. He'd just like the whole thing to be tossed out so he can go home and write some clever banter for Marty Whelan.

Maybe if the judge enforces the charitable donation deal there'll be some jokes written about jackeen judges that are none too complimentary....

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