Welcome to The Townland That Has The Occasional Nap

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It’s no wonder New York is ratty, irrational and subject to hallucinations.

It is, after all, The City That Never Sleeps.

Perhaps someone should make New York a cup of warm milk or sing it a lullaby.

As a new-ish parent the value of sleep and the consequences of the lack of it are two subjects I’m qualified to talk about.

But I’m not going to.

Parents talking about their children’s sleeping habits is the equivalent of a night at the opera. It goes on for considerably longer than it should, most of it goes over your head and by the end of it you’re ready to punch someone or something.

As well as being known as The City That Never Sleeps, New York is often referred to as The Big Apple. You’ll not be surprised to learn that this also irks me some.

As with all apples, big or otherwise, they tend to perish rather quickly. When I think of New York as The Big Apple, rather than picture it as a juicy red piece of fruit, I view it as a pulpy brownish monstrosity that should be put in The Big Brown Bin.

The real reason New York is referred to as the Big Apple has something to do with the ‘sport’ of horse racing, which in my opinion is even more boring than a night at the opera or parents talking about their children’s sleeping habits.

You’d be forgiven for thinking I hate New York having read thus far.

On the contrary, I’ve been there and I have a real fondness for the place.

I was in New York once, back in May of 2006.

While it was a brilliant trip from start to finish my lasting memory is myself and Karen being pooped on from a great height by a giant pigeon and having to trudge the sixteen blocks back to our hostel to scrub ourselves clean in the communal washroom.

The stink was unholy.

It is something I’d never experienced before or since. I reckon the pigeon had been on a fruit-based diet. I’ve no doubt it had been feasting on The Big Apple from The Big Brown Bin I mentioned previously.

For that reason I would have every justification in hating New York. But I don’t. I love it.

I just hate stupid city nicknames.

Back home people sometimes refer to Belfast as The Big Smoke or Derry/Londonderry as Stroke City. I also hate these stupid nicknames.

The problem with giving nicknames to things, people included, is that it leads to confusion in a factual business like journalism.

Knowing someone’s nickname isn’t of much use when you receive an untitled picture of a bloke you used to know from secondary school and his son, and want to include their names in a caption for the paper.

‘Pizzaface and his wee man at the funfair’ just doesn’t cut it.

As a relatively new driver I rely on Google for directions. Imagine if Google was being populated by the nickname crowd. My planned trip from Lurgan to Belfast would include the following directions:

Get on The New Road and follow the big blue signs for The Motorway.

After a fair distance take the exit that brings you out at The Big Roundabout With The Ball.

Drive around for a bit until you see either The Black Man or The Hoop Lady.

Congratulations, you are now in The Big Smoke.

Give Sticky Palms a buzz and he’ll see you right for a parking space.