Monday, January 26, 2009

Dublin Paul's Claim

A coupla years ago, back when the missus and I still lived in beautiful downtown Lynn, Massachusetts, (read with sarcasm for proper effect,) I found myself on the stir-crazy side of bored one Saturday night. Cheryl had already retired for the evening, and I decided to go out for a drink or two. I figured I’d head down to the only "real" Irish pub in Lynn, a city renowned for its multi-cultural citizenry. It was about 11:ish, the joint was kinda crowded, and there was a guy with a mullet doing Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again” on karaoke, (but in fairness, he wasn't that bad...) Not my preferred scene but 'twas better'n nothing.

Yeah, that's what passes for an Irish pub in Lynn at 11:PM on a Saturday night.

In any case, at the bar I met a man from Dublin who said he hadn't had a drink in about three years. I offered to buy a round as he MUST'VE been parched, right? He said he quit drinking Guinness because ever since Ireland put a ban on smoking in the pubs, there was nothing to mask the smell of, and I'm quoting, mind you, "Guinness farts."

As this was a new term to me, my teacher's mind sought clarification.

Apparently, people go home from work in Ireland, get a bite to eat and head down the pub nightly, as it is the social epicenter of any community. In the pubs, the patrons would imbibe in their typical evening refreshment; a pint or two of the black. Not long into the evening, the Guinness would, uh, accentuate the fragrance of the earlier evening's meal's odorous by-product in that confined space. It was only not too long ago, that the cigarette smoke would overpower that bouquet and all would be fine. Nowadays, however, with the ban on smoking, there is no longer a convincing, convenient, and accepted atmospheric shroud to hide the telltale evidence of the prior repast. This resulting aroma was the reason Paul from Dublin claims he chose to quit the pubs and drinking altogether.

But the question remains: Does Dublin Paul’s claim hold water? With the smoking ban in Ireland, did the pubs become suddenly noticeably, and possibly intolerably stinky? And is Guinness to blame? Or was this tea-totaling barfly, “Paul” simply full o'shit?

I often wonder.

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