Late one evening (i.e. at two o’clock one morning), a friend of mine found himself standing (i.e. swaying) before the wall-mounted menu in a Chinese take-away, stroking his chin and occasionally releasing a small ‘Hmmm’ of indecision. In truth, he had known what he was having from the moment they swept him out of the bar. But he was becoming a regular at this particular establishment and didn’t want to create the impression that his culinary tastes might be in any way limited. And so, even though he’d had Sausage, Peas, Onion, Gravy and Chips on his eleven previous visits and fully intended to make it an even dozen, he stood there mulling his options for a good five minutes (standard drunk time). You never know, his demeanour fought to suggest, I might just go for squid tonight. Or oyster sauce maybe. Hmmm. When he felt that he’d dragged it out for long enough, he turned to deliver his carefully considered verdict. But the man behind the counter merely shushed him, grinned, and held up a notepad upon which he had already scribbled the damning legend ‘S. P. O. G. C. x 1’ … A quick survey of other pals – I rang one and guessed what two others would say – reveals that this is a common problem in the Ireland of today and late yesterday. It seems that very few of us can consistently order the same old thing from our local take-aways without feeling small about it. What does this say about the national character? I mean, come on. Is this the country Parnell had in mind when he defeated the British at the Boyne in 1916? Surely not. It’s time we put this silly shame behind us. If you want a sausage supper – as the aforementioned dish is styled – then you just go ahead and ask for one, and to hell with everyone else. To thine own self be true, as Polonius said before he ordered chicken curry and chips for the forty-third time in a row.