An Omagh window-cleaner today received a certificate to say he is allowed to take two seats on a plane, train or auto-mobile after he was diagnosed with Big Ball Syndrome, otherwise known as Testicle Magnificence in the medical profession.
Damien McNeill (44) revealed last week how he was often on the receiving end of dirty looks and disparaging tuts as fellow commuters fumed at his insistence on a wide-angled sitting approach, often taking up two and sometimes three seats. All that changed today when an Omagh Surgery identified McNeill as a sufferer of Testicle Magnificence, awarding him a certificate which can be shown to all public service operators:
“I was a social pariah. For years I tried to sit on just the one seat but would find myself passing out on the journey from Omagh and Tattyreagh and waking up somewhere miles away like Seskinore. Recently I tried to ignore the threats and slaps as I took up two seats, especially from pregnant women or the elderly. Now I can hold up my Big Ball Syndrome certificate and enjoy the journey.”
McNeill also confirmed he’s looking forward to his upcoming trip to New York where Testicle Magnificence is the norm rather than an exception.
“I might be the first man in Tyrone to be awarded this certificate but apparently 85% of Americans have Big Ball Syndrome and can take anything up to four seats at the cinema or restaurants. I think New York might be my spiritual home.”
Meanwhile, close friend and cynic Lenny Pollock is unsure how the new diagnosis will go down in the town:
“If I was Damien, I wouldn’t be celebrating quite yet. Omagh ones are not a people to accept official documentation and I wouldn’t be shocked if his certificate is shoved somewhere that’ll make his journey even more uncomfortable.”
A BBC documentary on McNeill’s plight will be screened some time in the summer, titled ‘Damien’s Danglers’.
Following the news that the Mid-Ulster District Council have decided to reclassify Ballygawley as a town, residents of Seskinore have reportedly become restless after they revealed they have been turned down for the same classification for 45 consecutive years despite being 200% bigger.
Ballygawley, which was a village until recently, is expected to experience a windfall since the declaration, with news of famous celebrities across the globe accessing house prices in the area as well as the attractive categorisation of being a ‘townie’ instead of a plain ‘villager’ or ‘bogman’.
Seskinore Tourism Co-ordinator Jessie Pink admitted that the award was a kick in the stomach:
“We just can’t believe it around here. What does Ballygawley have that we don’t except a massive roundabout? We have a primary school and a church just like them and we don’t have pubs which should be a plus with all the bad press alcohol is getting.”
Ballygawley now joins Omagh, Strabane, Cookstown, Dungannon, Castlederg, Coalisland, Fintona and Carrickmore as Tyrone’s official towns, further enraging Seskinorians:
“Carrick-buckin-more? I’ve a field bigger than Carrickmore.”
Ballygawley is to welcome the new classification by issuing advice to homes on the behaviour expected now from townies. They include:
- Reading up on latest fashions/hairstyles and changing them every 5 weeks
- Cheap tracksuits to be worn after 6pm and on weekends
- Baseball caps with acute peaks at all times
- Women to wear less clothes with a lot more flesh on display
- Women to don baby blue jogging jackets with ‘PRINCESS’ emblazoned on the back
- Poorly dyed blonde hair with split ends and two inch long roots
- To look down on anyone who is intelligent/not from a town
McDonald’s and Burger King are monitoring the situation.
By Landan Seamy
A 46 year old aspiring secret agent from Seskinore has phoned the Ulster Herman to say he’s “almost definite” that the back door draw is a fix.
Sean McGrinny revealed always had his suspicions when the draw was on TV but then RTE and the GAA colluded to put it on the radio so no-one could see. The full phonecall transcript follows:
“Any old fool could be suspicious” mused Sean “when it was TV. The way they’d be pushing the balls around in a big glass barrel that was see through put doubts in everyone’s mind. But then the southerners thought they’d stifle the questions from the north by transferring the draw to the radio”.
“To my shame” confessed Sean, “I nearly forgot to be suspicious myself until last year when I happened to be in Dublin on the morning of the day when Tyrone drew Armagh. I can’t say why I was there being a spy and all but to cut a long story short I found myself in a pub in Donnybrook and there were some people there who looked wild like RTE people. I can’t recall exactly what they were saying cause I was quite pissed but I’ll never forget the big grin on their faces as they looked at me in my Tyrone shirt. It was obviously all a fix”.
“This year I took the liberty of asking people in and around Seskinore who they thought Tyrone would draw. At least 17 people predicted Meath. 18 if you count my mother in law. That was nearly half of the people I asked. Most of the others predicted Derry. Not a single person predicted Tipperary. What more proof do you want than that? The whole thing is a bloody fix”.
“Why is the draw on at 8.30 in the morning when most people are at work. RTE and the GAA thought they had the whole thing sewn up but they didn’t count on me. Being a spy I’m in control of my own agenda so I got up early on Monday morning and sat down to listen to the ‘draw’.”
“Their first cynical tactic to stop people listening was they delayed the news by talking for ages to someone in Athens about whether or not Greece will default on it’s debt. I mean is anyone in Ireland even remotely interested?”.
“When the draw started I turned the radio to full volume and couldn’t hear a single ball being shuffled during the entire affair. The only noise I could hear was someone making tea in the background. As Tyrone drew Meath someone in the RTE studios shouted “Jesus” in a cynical and shameless attempt to fool people into thinking it wasn’t fixed”.
Sean’s proud wife says that he comes from a long line of shrewd observers. His father was one of the first people in Tyrone to realise that men did not land on the moon. He was famous around Fintona and was once told to leave the pub at 2AM simply for insisting that there was something suspicious about JFK’s assassination. Sean’s grandfather was no cod either and had a theory that it was an emigrant from Tattysallagh who helped Shakespeare write 9 or 10 of his best plays.
Local man Packie McGinn of Fintona was the surprise winner last night in the celebrated ‘Laziest Arse of the Year Awards, where he won a prize in one of the hotly-contested categories.
The star-studded event, staged at the Glenavon Hotel in Cookstown, was attended by many local celebrities including Seamie Boyle, the Seskinore man who came close to appearing on Channel 4’s Embarrassing Bodies in 2009, and C J Hetherington from Clogher, who featured on last week’s Crimewatch.
The coveted ‘Longest Outstanding Household Chore’ category was eventually won by the 62-year old McGinn of Fintona, after having proven that he had a light bulb in the hallway landing he had been meaning to change since August 2012.
The proud winner declared,
“It’s true. I know it’s nearly two years since it conked out, but I’ve been busy. I’ve had a lot on my plate what with the World Cup and all. And it’s one of thon screwy-in light bulbs, not your traditional bayonet cap, so it probably means a trip to Sammy Trotter’s in Dungannon cause there won’t be one in the garage. Well, there might be, but I’ve not got round to checking. And it means I’ll have to bring in the step ladder from outside, or at least one of the dining room chairs from downstairs. Sure, I’ll get round to it one day soon. The wife’s always on at me about it, but you can’t hurry these things”.
McGinn’s wife, a clearly emotional Bernadette, said,
“This is a bittersweet moment for me. On the one hand, Packie’s never won anything in his life never mind been nominated for such a prestigious award and it’s something that we’ll treasure for the rest of our days. But on the other hand, if I stub my feckin’ toe one more time wreckin’ about that hallway in the dark, I swear to God I’ll take the head clane off the bollix”.
Other chores which were nominated in the same category included a door hinge which has been squeaking for over a month, a child’s game of Operation which has needed new batteries since last Boxing Day, and a kitchen table which has had a shoogly leg for nearly a year.
The controversial television presenter Jeremy Clarkson was once again mired in controversy yesterday about a Tyrone-based filming of BBC2’s Top Gear, when he is said to have inadvertently muttered the word ‘Brolly’ by accident.
The episode, parts of which were released on YouTube, was filmed in a disused quarry near Orritor, which Clarkson is said to have wanted to use to, ‘drive tractors into each other and maybe blow up some caravans’.
But thousands of residents were last night demanding the presenter’s resignation after an incident which has once again embroiled the presenter in further controversy. The use of the B-word occurred when Clarkson was trying to choose between two vehicles, one a New Holland T7030 Delta and the other a John Deere 6330 Platinum, during which he is alleged to have said, “I really can’t choose between the two, they’re both brilliant”, but, on several careful listening of the recording may or may not have come out as, “I really can’t choose between the two, they’re both Brolly-ant”.
Many Tyrone residents were outraged.
“The hoor”, said Liam Donnelly, a pot hole maker from Urney. “Thon Clarkson needs to go. This is beyond a joke. If I actually bothered paying my licence fee I’d definitely stop. It’s only this past month I’ve been able to switch the telly on again after the RTE incident with that commentator last year. See? I can’t even bring myself to say Joe Brolly’s name. Oh”.
62-year old Conal Mulgrew, a trapeze artist from Seskinore, said,
“Top Gear’s had its day, although to be fair the last time I watched it they were reviewing the new Hillman Hunter, so it’s been a while. I don’t really bother. They don’t do nearly enough stuff about link boxes. Bet that would get the viewing figures up. Still, he can’t go about saying words like that. There might have been wee’ans watching. Or Sean Cavanagh’s oul wans”.
In a separate incident, complaints have also been made to the BBC about The Stig, who said that diffing was for ligs.
A Seskinore writer of a new children’s book has been accused of copying a long-standing children’s classic.
Last month author Marty Gallagher of Doogary Road was in discussion with several well-known Tyrone-based publishing houses about a children’s book he had written entitled ‘Darragh the Tank Engine’ about a fictional train and his little train friends, before being accused of copying a similarly named character and story-format from another popular children’s book.
“My characters are completely different from anything else that’s out there”, protested Gallagher. “See, I have this one boyo in it who’s not a train at all but a human who looks after all the railways and trains and suchlike, called the Plump Regulator. I know it’s probably a bit size-ist but it just seems like the right character. I can’t explain it. I’m copying no-one hi. It’s deadly. And if it gets made into a telly programme I don’t want some posh actor from London narrating it. I like the idea of someone with a strong regional accent, like that John Bishop fella. He’s quite good. It’s just something about the Scouse accent. Class”.
Gallagher turned to writing a few years ago after heavily investing in a typewriter manufacturing business in Belfast, which promptly went out of business two weeks later.
“Aye, who could have predicted the changes ahead, eh?” said Gallagher ruefully. “I tried to save the business by diversifying into selling filofaxes, but it was too little too late. That’s why I’ve since turned my hand to writing. I’ve some imagination, even although I don’t know where my half my ideas come from”.
One of the would-be publishers based in Trillick, the publishing heartland of Tyrone, who didn’t want to give her name, declared,
“I know where his bloody ideas come from. He needs to catch himself on. He approached us with a book last year called Barry Cotter, about a boy wizard from Cappagh who got up to all sorts of stuff with his mate, Sean Greasely. Wonder where he got that idea? And then there was his other so-called book, ‘The Lion, The Witch, and The Washingbay’. Honestly, you couldn’t make it up. And obviously neither can he”.
As of yesterday evening, Gallagher was hard at work on his typewriter expanding his range of train characters, including a “a friendly wee Welsh engine called Ivor”.
Hospital authorities across the county have issued a plea to Tyrone residents to ‘calm down a bit’ on the dancing, as a four-fold increase in ‘jiving-related injuries’ put hospital services at breaking point at the weekend.
It is thought that the increasing popularity of local singers such as Nathan Carter, Derek Ryan and Lisa McHugh, combined with the forthcoming Garth Crooks concerts, have thrown residents into a frenzy of what many have euphemistically referred to as ‘dancing’.
“We’re on high alert”, admitted hospital doctor Sheila Quinn from Edendork. “It’s like a bizarre but very worrying form of hypnosis, particularly in some of the men. Put on ten seconds of ‘Wagon Wheel’, and suddenly they’re thirty years younger and John Travolta. You should see them. At best it’s 250 quid off of ‘You’ve Been Framed’ and at worse a 10-day spell in traction. Have they no sense? What makes them think that if their hips are clicking one minute, they can do a back flip the next? Holy Smokes”.
Crisis point was reached following the announcement of the Garth Brooks tour dates.
“Since then, we’re just swamped with injuries”, said Quinn. “Last Friday night we had admissions of a whole lock of different accidents at pubs and clubs, from dislocated wrists to sprained backs, locked knees, and broken ankles. And that’s just from people getting out of their stools. The actual jiving injuries were even worse”.
Authorities now fear that the outbreak has spread to domestic premises.
“We’re getting more and more call-outs to people’s homes”, admitted paramedic Aiden Mullan from Trillick. “We got an emergency call to Urney last Thursday and were treating this one boy for convulsions. Turns out that was just him tryin’ to throw some shapes to ‘Friends in Low Places’. Jaysus, we thought he had swallowed his tongue. And then on Sunday, this one in Seskinore had grabbed his missus after Sunday lunch when ‘Cotton Eyed Joe’ came on the radio. He tried to spin her round and ended up catapulting her straight through the conservatory window. Poor woman. We were picking glass out of her arse for hours”.
Hospital authorities have confirmed that they are to remain on high alert throughout spring or ‘until people wise up’. Meantime, radio broadcasters have been cautioned against ‘inciting people to jive’, with Hugo Duncan having already received a formal reprimand for deliberately playing ‘Achy Breaky Heart’ without a health warning.
A recent survey by a man in America has revealed that Tattyreagh children are the best behaved in the world but are also told the most lies by over-cautious parents. To back up his findings, Dr Zeus Valencia interviewed 120 Tattyreagh exiles who listed ‘white lies’ that have haunted them well into middle age.
Amongst the most effective were:
- If you swallow chewing gum you’ll fart bubbles
- If you misbehave, Santa will eat you
- If you aren’t in bed by 9pm, God will kidnap you
- If you don’t eat your crusts, you’ll be bald in the morning
- Mushy peas are chopped up lizards
- If you don’t come with me now, I’ll leave you here by yourself.
- Maybe tomorrow
- If you make faces and the wind changes you’ll stay like that.
Ciaran Kelly, a 46 year old forklift operator, maintains he’ll never shake off a few of the fears:
“My ma used to stop me from taking food from the fridge by claiming that there was an angry wee man in there who operated the light. Even now I’m tara afraid to open it, 40 years later. Last week I didn’t eat for three days. Then there’s the one where my da would say if I didn’t shut up he’d tell ‘the man’. I wake up in tears sometimes thinking the man is outside the house. It’s a nightmare life I lead. Tattyreagh must change.”
Jane Hurson, who left Tattyreagh for Seskinore in 1987, claims she has even passed down some of the lies to her own children:
“I feel so ashamed. Yesterday I told my daughter the one about the ice cream van – if it plays music that means it has run out of ice cream. It’s like a disease we have. I went straight to confessions and doubled the penance. Next I’ll be telling her the Brits took our dog instead of just saying it died. I need help. Please.”
The Tattyreagh Parents’ Society released a statement today saying the report was ‘a load of balls’ and ‘pure lies’. They added that ‘we all know God cries when someone lies’, predicting heavy rain all week.
A man from Seskinore has become the first in the county to complete the Rubik’s Cube, some 28 years after being given the puzzle as a Christmas present. John Joe O’Hagan, 45, an unemployed chicken chaser from Millbridge Road, finally acomplished it on Sunday evening, after having spent an average of two hours a day on the puzzle for almost three decades.
“I’m wile pleased” said a delighted John Joe. “That buckin’ thing has been the bane of my life but once I started it was difficult to put down. Someone bought me a book on how to do it but I thought that would be cheating. And besides, what the feck does ‘L2 D2 R2’ mean? It sounds like a robot out of Star Wars”.
O’Hagan got the Cube for his Christmas in 1984 from his parents when he was 16 years old, along with an Etch-a-Sketch, a space hopper, and pair of moon boots. Friends and family said he became withdrawn and alienated from society as he tackled the difficult poser. With its 6 coloured sides, 21 pieces and 54 outer surfaces, the cube is capable of producing 43 billion different permutations. It is thought that O’Hagan probably tried most of them at least twice on his quest to conquer the puzzle. His father, John Joe Snr, said,
“To be honest, JJ’s not the sharpest tool in the shed. I remember when he first got the Cube it took him three weeks to get it out of the packaging then another six to find out that the sides turned. Being totally colour blind probably hasn’t helped either”.
However, Tyrone’s very own mathematical marvel is not resting on his laurels, and intends to have another go.
“I hope I can get my record down from 10,372 days. It’s the fastest in Tyrone but I think I can do it faster, maybe even the fastest anywhere”, said O’Hagan. The current world record is 7 seconds.
When asked how he managed it so quickly, a modest Jon Joe said,
“I just thought a bit differently about how to go about doing it and when I did that, bang, I immediately cracked it about 4 years later”.
O’Hagan finally managed to solve the puzzle after he found out how to pull it apart and put it back together again.