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Ross O’Carroll-Kelly: I’ve ended up on a poster for adult incontinence treatment on a gable wall in, like, Ranelagh

Only the crookedest lawyer in Ireland can get me out of this contract I accidentally signed with a modelling agency

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Ross O'Carroll-Kelly. Illustration: Alan Clarke.

Hennessy Coghlan-O’Hara is sitting behind his desk, sucking on a Portagás the size of A Plus Tord’s shinbone, with a big, lightbulb-munching grin on his face.

He goes, “The fock do you want?” – my supposed godfather, by the way?

I’m there, “So you’re saying you haven’t seen it?”

He goes, “Seen what?”


I’m like, “Thank fock for that. Yeah, no, I joined the books of this, like, modelling agency? Long story short, I paid them two Ks to put together a portfolio of photographs of me and then – this is where you come into the picture – I accidentally signed a contract agreeing that they could use them wherever and however they wanted.”

He’s there, “And?”

“Well,” I go, “I’ve ended up on a poster for some random – yeah, no – adult incontinence treatment on a gable wall in, like, Ranelagh?”

He bursts out laughing, sending a thick cloud of second-hand cigor smoke my way.

I’m there, “You have seen it, haven’t you?”

He’s like, “Of course I’ve seen it. I nearly drove into a lamppost passing the fire station in Donnybrook when your ugly face popped up on that electronic advertising board.”

I’m there, “So why did you pretend that you hadn’t?”

“Ah, I just wanted to hear you describe it,” he goes. “For a man who’s seen the s**t I’ve seen, there are very few highs left that are legal.”

“So you’re saying it’s in Donnybrook now as well as Ranelagh?”

“I’m saying it’s in Donnybrook, Ranelagh, Dún Laoghaire, Bray. There’s a huge one near the railway crossing at the Aviva. It’s going to be there for the England match. They’re at 14 Dart stations, north and south. Plus–”

I’m like, “What?”

He picks up a copy of this morning’s Irish Times and drops it on the desk in front of me. On the front page there’s a humungous ad featuring a photograph of me in a cricket sweater (photoshopped) with a pair of sunglasses on my head (not photoshopped).

I read the caption out loud. I’m like, “Talk to your phormacist about a new solution to Adult Involuntary Urinary Dischorge.

He goes, “Catchy slogan.”

I’m there, “Dude, the contract. I didn’t bother my orse reading it. That makes it invalid, right?”

He opens his drawer and pulls out a block of paper.

I’m there, “Is that the contract? How the fock did you get your hands on that?”

He goes, “Because I’m the best in the business, asshole. What kind of idiot signs something like this?”

I’m there, “An idiot whose old man is best mates with – like you said – the crookedest lawyer in Ireland.”

“Enough with the flattery,” he goes. “It’s not going to work this time.”

“Dude, you’ve got to help me.”

“I don’t got to do anything.”

“But you’re my actual godfather.”

He laughs – again, a cloud of cigor smoke – I want to say – envelopes me?

He goes, “Kid, I’m not even sure I am – your godfather, I mean. I was so coked off my head that day, I don’t even remember being in the church. Your old man forged my signature on your baptismal cert.”

I’m there, “You’re still my godfather in the eyes of, like, Jesus.”

Again, he thinks this is for some reason hilarious.

I’m like, “Dude, all I’m asking you to do is send them one of your famous threatening letters–”

“Forget it,” he goes.

“Come on, Dude. Remember the time I was expelled from school for setting off the fire alorm during Castlerock College and Muckross Pork College’s joint production of Goys and Dolls? Who was it who went to the Supreme Court to have the school’s disciplinary procedures declared unconstitutional?”

“This mug.”

“So I’m asking you to work your magic again.”

“Again. Yeah, like I’ve been doing your whole life – so you never had to face responsibility for your actions.”

“You’re saying that like it’s a bad thing.”

“The time you were arrested on your J1 in Nantucket. The time you were arrested on your J1 in Cape Cod. The time you were arrested on your J1 in Huntington Beach.”

“They were scrapes – hilarious, some of them.”

“It was always, ‘Don’t worry – I’ll ring the old man’s lawyer.’ Well, not any more. You’re all out of credit, kid.”

“Dude, please. I’m coaching the Castlerock College girls rugby team. These kids have massive, massive respect for me and I’m scared they’ll lose that respect if they see one of these posters. Or – like you said – the ad on the front of the paper.”

He goes, “You can leave of your accord through that door – or you can stick around and let me choose a window for you.”

I walk out of there to a chorus of Hennessy’s choking laughter. As it happens, I’m training the girls this morning. I drive to the school, having an attack of, like, paranoia, wondering who’s seen it?

I walk into the staffroom and every conversation stops. The teachers put their heads down or look away from me. I notice “Sweaty” Betty Hassett – the biology teacher – hiding her face behind her newspaper. And – yeah, no – it’s that newspaper. I hear a sort of snigger, like she’s trying to hold in the laughter?

I’m there, “For your information, I’m getting paid a fortune for that ad. And the joke’s on everyone else because I don’t even have problems in that area? Er, would I wear beige chinos all the time if I did?”

They all burst out laughing.

I walk out of there. I grab a bag of rugby balls and I head for the pitch, where the girls are standing around waiting. As I arrive, I notice them talking out of the sides of their mouths and whispering behind their hands.

I’m there, “Okay, captain’s run – let’s go!”

But they don’t move.

“Mr O’Carroll-Kelly?” Angelisa Gunning, our captain, goes.

I’m there, “I told you, it’s Ross. Or Rossmeister. Or The Rossmeister General.”

“Rossmeister,” she goes, “I saw your poster in Donnybrook at the weekend. And also on the cover of my dad’s Irish Times this morning.”

Shosh Birney, our scrumhalf, is like, “I saw it on Virgin Media last night.”

Jesus, it’s on TV.

I’m there, “Okay, get the jokes out of the way and then let’s train.”

“We all just wanted to say,” Angelisa goes, “that we think you’re – oh my God – so brave.”

I’m like, “Er–”

She’s there, “To do that takes, like, real courage? We just wanted you to know that you’re, like, an inspiration to us?”

Ross O'Carroll-Kelly

Ross O'Carroll-Kelly

Ross O’Carroll-Kelly was captain of the Castlerock College team that won the Leinster Schools Senior Cup in 1999. It’s rare that a day goes by when he doesn’t mention it