If you’re planning a bit of extra marital atin’ over the fence, spreading the wild oats and praying for a crop failure, then next Sunday night is not the night to do it. Not this year anyway. Cos this is the night that the hotels of the country will be scoured to make sure that everyone in the room (registered or not ) is lined up again a wall and counted for the purposes of the Census. For one night, fight your desire to avail of low-rate Sunday rates for liaisons of love. That’s the night that the staff will kick in the door, tap ya on the shoulder while you’re in flagrante delicto, ask who are you, what’s your name, have you any kids, how do you get to work, and how the hell did you manage to get into that position without ruining your back?
Ever since John Denver sang that song about Annie “you fill up my census,” the fear of the census has send shivers down the spine of every proud private Irish person wanting to know “what would that census crowd be wanting with information on whether you travel to work in a lorry and whether you’re barely able to throw a few focails together. In bibical times, the belief was that the census was often called by Satan. And in many parts of this country, that feeling persists.
But you have to do it. Don’t, and you end up fined or in jail. Publicly flogged. They say that if you don’t fill it out, they make you fill it out in front of your neighbours. So get that green form out, get the pen ready, and get ready to spill out your soul to the CSO. Here are some of the questions that you might find in there:
— How many siblings have you? Do you feel that some of them are more loved than you, may have got ‘the land’ or were allowed sit closer to the table?
— Were you ever what they call ‘bi-curious’? Did you act on it? Or regret it? Or regret that you didn’t act on it? (Multiple choice question )
— Have you ever lived outside the Republic of Ireland? If the UK, did you claim the dole while working or order a subscription to The Readers Digest that you never paid for?
— Do you know what you did last summer?
— Can you speak Irish and have you ever used it to warn your sister about the dangerous fecker eying up her bag in Lanzarote? “Feach ar an fear gorm, a Peigin. Ara, stad, ni raubh me racist. Ta alainn mo chara daoine gorm.”
— Where do you work and have you ever stolen staples and sellotape from it? Sure what harm, they won’t miss them.
— What is the difference between a duck?
— Has your Father (Irish ) ever told you he loved you (Or does ’you’ll catch yer death of cold in that thing’ suffice? ).
— If you’re a farmer, did you vote for Joe Healy? And if not, why not?
— Have you ever worn women’s clothing (This one for the men only )
— Have you ever worn women’s clothing (This one for wimmen from the Midlands only )
— Have you been to Mass recently. If so, who said it and did you have enough change left for that sneaky second collection after communion?
— Are you any way racist at all, go on, even a little bit. It’s OK, you can tell us. Sure that not racism, that's just banter.
— What are you doing here in a hotel on a Sunday night anyway and the weekend nearly over. And are they your trousers there on the floor?
— Do you eat meat? Or are you one of them vegans. If so, have you told anyone today that you are?
— Did you ‘go mad’ during the Celtic Tiger years by buying a house on the Black Sea or snorting cocaine off the belly of a trafficked sex worker? If so, tut tut.
— Have you ever seen a UFO? Do you believe something happened in the Galway dressing room at halftime in the All-Ireland. Getting back to the UFO question…
You get the drift. Get a good stout drink into you on Sunday night, gather the family around ya, and then start counting them. Tell the truth now, ya hear. See if they can handle the truth.
Come to your census. Do your duty. And no big dirty lies. And then on Monday night you can go back to meeting the quare wan or the quare fella in the motel.
Right, lick that pencil.