Dogwhistle: ‘Godshot!’ Also, proof that such a thing exists, and that God may very well be Irish. All the while while we were sober. Deets…
So 30 years ago today, we were still at school in New Orleans, and one of the courses we were taking there in the Spring Semester of Junior Year (not abroad) was Modern Irish Literature. The professor, who happened to be the Dean of Students for the college of Arts &
Parties Sciences, was a tall, sentimental, bespectacled, snub-nosed Irish-Catholic named Jm. F. Kilroy. JFK. You couldn’t make this stuff up. Dean Jm. F. Kilroy, initials JFK.
Anyway, its being Saint Patrick’s Day, it was surely no occasion for a tall, sentimental, bespectacled, snub-nosed Irish-Catholic named Jm. F. Kilroy to be marking the day inside a classroom or a lecture hall. No. The afternoon meeting was postponed to the evening, inside his residence. So there we gathered after dark, about 20 of us or so sitting in the living room, and he led the class while rheumy-eyed and seated in an easy chair. He bade us to read aloud, mostly Yeats, even though Yeats was no Catholic; Yeats still fought for the Irish State, though. Again, you can’t make this stuff up.
For us, however, the time was getting close. We were nervous. A few blocks away on the campus proper, at the auditorium enclosed by the giant concrete dome, our favorite alternative-music band was nearing showtime. Originally, the band was supposed to have played New Orleans seven days earlier. Being students and having no disposable funds, we were not able to spring for the ticket then. Nor we were able to scrounge up the money a week later for the actual gig. Yet we wanted to get out by the front entrance, pick up the sounds and the vibes, like a contact high, even though it was the Lenten season and there was no drinking or doing anything else like that for us. Lent. St. Patrick’s Day. Bad combination.
Oh, yeah. One more thing. The last name of the band’s lead singer: McCulloch. Though the band is from Liverpool, Great Britain, Liverpool sits along the Irish Sea there, and this tall, not-as-snub-nosed lead singer, McCulloch, has to be Irish too, right? You can’t make this stuff up.
So we sat in the living room of the tall, sentimental, bespectacled, snub-nosed Irishman named Jm. F. Kilroy, listening to another Irish person, the little Irish girl with the curly hair and green eyes sitting between another a snub-nose. She was reading soulfully from ‘An Irish Airman Foresees His Death’. We were foreseeing making it to the auditorium in time, whatever the outcome.
The class ends, and Jm. F. Kilroy leads us into his kitchen. He opens the refrigerator and there is sitting a ring of Irish shortbread his wife has baked for us, plus a couple of six-packs of Budweiser. Budweiser! The dean tears a can from the ring-holder, bids all of us to have some also, along with the shortbread. Its being Lent, we cannot partake. We eat some bread, though.
Then we hustle on over to the auditorium, fully sober, no drunken delusions about what will happen. We will stand outside the front entrance and not get in and be forced to settle to listen to the vibrations of the bass and a few muddy lines of guitar and vocals. We know.
Except that while we were standing out there, a guy comes up to us, unbidden, and we start talking. We ask him if he has any extra tickets. He does. He wants money for them. He also has a backstage-pass sticker. He wants more money for that. We make a lowball offer. He walks away. The crowd is filing in, the opening act is winding down. There is a murmur of anticipation now for the main act, the band whose lead singer was named McCulloch, here in New Orleans on March 17, 1988, a few blocks from the home of Jm. F. Kilroy, who is now nursing another can of beer after dismissing his Modern Irish Literature class from his living room. Yeats, mystical as always, remains with him.
The guy with the tickets and the backstage-pass sticker comes over to us. The opening number from the band, the headliners, the group whose lead singer is named McCulloch, starts wafting into the New Orleans evening.
The guy shoves a ticket into our hand, and a backstage pass. He runs over to the entrance and disappears. Something has happened, and we are sober and it is Saint Patrick’s Day in New Orleans and there was Kilroy and here comes McCulloch’s voice out through the giant front doors of the auditorium and the Ghost of Yeats is pushing us towards it all, The Wind Among The Reeds. And unlike the Irish Airman Who Foresaw His Death, we could not, did not, foresee this part of our life.
But here it is 30 years later now, and we still feel it clearly. Thank you.
Aqueduct 6, 9
Chas. Town 3, 6, 7, 8
Fonner 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10
Sam Houston† 1, 7, 9
Los Alamitos† 1
PennNat 3, 6
Santa Anita 10
Fast Final-Furlong Phantasms
Sam Houston 6, 10
Chas. Town 7
Fair Grounds 1
Golden Gate† 4
Sam Houston† 7
PennNat 2, 8
Sunland† 1, 7
Turf Paradise 4, 6
Chas. Town 1
Fair Grounds 9
Keystone 8, 10
Santa Anita 7, 9
*-morning-line faves only, including those bumped-up to morning-line-favorite status after accounting for raceday scratches and changes, which are current as of 12:57 p.m. EST; no-go if race switches surface or if any part of coupled-entry scratches; side effects include nausea, difficulty breathing and, in rare instances, cardiac arrest
†-raceday scratches & changes unavailable at press-time; do not operate heavy machinery after taking
YESTERDAY’s Fine Finishes‡
Chas. Town 8
Sam Houston 1, 4, 8, 9 (natural double on Races 8, 9 returned $741, for $2)
‡-High-Octane Chancers doin’ it exclusively with All-In-One V6 and its LifeLiner Speed Column analysis and LifeLiner Spread Column analysis, without regard to operational definitions of faves or freakazoids; thank you!
Godshot! God Is Irish! Well, He/She/It was on March 17, 1988, anyway…
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