I’ve often by struck by how simply being surprising gets you noticed and remembered.
It might sound obvious. And it is obvious.
But simply being surprising can go a long way.
Because you make a deep impression.
And deep impressions stay with you.
I will never forget the first big surprise of my life.
Yet another of my Irish peasant farmer antecedents had died. Farming not too stressful obviously and it’s a physical activity. They all lived into 80s.
So i got dragged along to yet another funeral.
Funerals meant going to mass and being bored for me. I think i was like eight years old at this point.
When we got to the church, i noticed there was an Irish flag on my grand uncle’s casket.
I wondered why. he was a farmer. not a soldier.
After the mass we all went to beautiful cemetery in the shadow of a ruined medieval abbey by a river. It faced an old Norman keep. Just lovely.
And the catholic priest did his funeral rite at the grave. And he left.
But nobody else left. Which struck me as odd. I knew how this went at this point.
And then, out of nowhere, appeared six guys wearing masks and in military fatigues. They all pulled out assault rifles and fired shots over the grave.
I couldn’t fucking believe what i was seeing. This was like TV!
They then disappeared back into the crowd. And a young bearded man who i would later find out was Gerry Adams emerged and read a speech in Gaelic.
It was the IRA.
My grand uncle had been a hero in the original incarnation of the IRA in 1916.
It turned out he was a hero for his dispatching British army recruiters that would come to the area during WW1. England wisely thought twice about imposing conscription to Ireland, then a colonial possession. So they had to send recruitment officers to Ireland to get paddies to fight the Hun. After a while they stopped sending recruiters to his area.
My grand uncle was a bad ass!
I was so psyched. This was so exciting!
So the usual post funeral boring pub session was suddenly electrified.
I was very keen about this one.
What the hell was that all about???