TUESDAY, AUGUST 12, 1969, SPORTS
Copyright 1969/THE TIMES MIRROR COMPANY
Operation Leprechaun — Put Paddy on the Earth
DUBLIN — Now that we’ve put a man on the moon, I have evolved the next daring celestial stunt. We’re going to put an Irishman on the earth.
I approached my new friend, Paddy O’Cell, with the idea.
“It’s daring,” he conceded. “We’ll have to have the right man for the job.”
“What we’ll have to do first is get him a faster horse for his jaunting cart — so he can get used to speed.” I said. “Then, we’ll send him to basic training. We’ll put him in a simulated automobile and show him visions of cars driving at high speeds — up to 30 miles an hour — at him.
“Jesus, Mary and Joseph,” said Paddy. “The poor devil will have a nervous collapse.”
“Then,” I went on, “we’ll get him ready for intra-space communication with Ireland, a box you can talk into at one end and hear out of the other.”
“And what would that be?” Paddy demanded.
It’s called a ‘telephone in outer space,” I told him. “It was invented by Don Ameche and Alice Faye. Perhaps you remember the famous first words when he invented it?”
“I seem to,” said Paddy. “Something like ‘What has God gone and done now?’ ”
“No. The first words were ‘It’s busy,’ ” I told him. “Now, we’ll get our Irish earthonaut accustomed to pictures being shown on a screen.”
“Ah, we have them!” shouted Paddy. “Only the other night I saw the Gish sisters and Milton Sills.”
“No, Paddy,” I shook my head. “These pictures talk, too. And they’re showing something that’s taking place right now.”
“In the name of Heaven, man, talk sense!” growled Paddy. “Or are ye daft altogether?”
“He’ll have to get used to great heights — like going up to the 101st floor in a closet.”
“The 101st floor!” shouted Paddy. “Sure and who’s going to build anything that high? Why, you’ll find St. Peter on the 35th floor!”
“We’ll increase the automobile simulator to 50 miles an hour and, if he doesn’t get the bends, we’ll next take him to the room where he’ll have to get used to the lack of oxygen.”
“They don’t have oxygen on earth?” Paddy wanted to know. “Like we do here in Ireland, I mean?”
They do, Paddy,” I told him. “But it’s mixed with carbon monoxide and sulphur and ozone and hydrocarbons thrown in the air by cars and factories. We’ll have to blacken his lungs a bit and teach him how to see the water running out of his eyes. Otherwise, he’ll perish in that hostile environment.”
“Will he be meeting any savage creatures out there on the planet earth?” Paddy wanted to know.
“Only in Central Park,” I told him. “He will meet some friendly natives but we’ll have to condition him to that. I have a year’s subscription to ‘Playboy’ which should take care of that. You see, these creatures walk around in skirts that barely came to the top of their legs and not those long things you see here.”
“Well, he can always go to confession,” Paddy allowed. “Tell me, do you happen to have any pictures of these creatures?”
“When he gets to the second stage — Paris — he’ll send back some pictures,” I assured him.
“D’ye think maybe he could capture a few of these creatures and send them back here for study?” Paddy wanted to know.
“He’ll bring samples of lots of things,” I assured him. “Most of them will be curable, however.”
“Now, we’re a poor country,” warned Paddy. “Will we be able to afford this great program — what is it you call it?”
“‘Operation Leprechaun,’” I told him. “Well, it’ll cost a hundred quid, Paddy.”
“My God, you’ll bankrupt the country!” gasped Paddy. “Why that money could best be used among the poor. D’ye realize that would buy a pint for every man jack on O’Connell Street?”
“But, Paddy, astronomers have proven there’s sunlight and palm trees and running water and blondes in bikinis and tropical drinks and hula skirts and businessmen’s three-martini lunches out there!”
“Say no more!” shouted Paddy. “I’ll go meself! Lock me in the pressure suit and say goodby to me dear old mother and me parish priest. I’m off to put Ireland on the map!”
Reprinted with the permission of the Los Angeles Times
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