Helmet optional

Far be it from me to tell you all how to live – that’s what TV is for, after all – but I am home to a thought that I just can’t keep private any more. It’s been weighing on my mind for some time now like a dodgy butcher’s thumb, and I must give it air. It is this: people should get shot out of cannons more. Now I’m not suggesting that you personally get shot out of one and I’m sure as hell not flagging any ballistic intent on my part. Nevertheless, I feel quite sure that we would all be just that little bit happier if once in a while someone took the trip. And circuses don’t count. For one thing, a circus is a place where the noble elephant, proud behemoth of the savannah, is reduced to wearing earrings and standing on one leg like a fi-dollar ho. More importantly, you expect to see people getting shot out of a cannon at a circus. But! Imagine the thrill that would course through your body if you turned a corner in your own home town just in time to see one of your neighbours sail confidently through the air and land in a big net outside the chemists. Wouldn’t it make your tired heart sing? We could make it a weekly event, say every Saturday afternoon – like a public execution, only without all the guilt and knitting. Every town in the country could do it. People would come from all over, from abroad even. Think of the boom in tourism (and pardon the pun). “Ireland … land of saints and scholars and people getting shot out of cannons.” Let’s hurry, before someone else thinks of it.

2 replies on “Helmet optional”

There’s a wonderful description of the onlookers’ reaction to Philippe Petit’s tightrope walk across the twin towers in Colum McCann’s Let The Great World Spin. Not as funny as yours though.

Started that book and drifted away to something else. Must give it another whirl.

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