It was the photo on the front page of Saturdays Financial Times that caught Reillys attention. He was still fit, handsome and exuded that persona of responsibility.

The caption read ‘Irish Motor Tycoons Payout Exceeds £1 Billion.’

Long before self-service ever became de rigour in petrol stations Reilly subvented his drinking money as a student by filling petrol in Dooley’s Esso Station across from the University. It was the ubiquitous student job – good money, great craic and bugger all responsibility. Or so Reilly thought.

His comrade in arms was a lad from Dunmore called Paddy Gleeson.

One evening, the biggest Mercedes they’d ever seen pulled into

the forecourt and Paddy proceeded to fill it up. As he filled, the

driver chatted amiably to Paddy about business, student life and

his plans for a career.

All would have gone swimmingly had Grace Kennedy not chosen that precise moment to saunter through the forecourt en route to a Dramasoc rehearsal. Any time Grace strutted her stuff on

University Road, the traffic would immediately stutter and inexorably come to a complete stop. Everyone knew that it was Grace who inspired the immortal lines in the Saw Doctors song ‘I Useta Love Her.’

‘I useta see her up the chapel when she went to Sunday Mass

And when she’d go to receive, I’d kneel down there

And watch her pass

The glory of her ass’

In any event, Paddy was momentarily distracted and inadvertently

spilled a dollop of diesel over the drivers immaculate pinstripe suit. The scowl on the drivers face had a lot in common with the smell and stain of diesel – it was toxic and pungent and unlikely to disappear easily.

As happens so often in these vignettes from ‘The Life O’Reilly’ there was the distinct whiff of sangfroid in the air. In fact there was a strong feeling that there might be a lot of spilled sang as a result of Glesson’s indiscretion.

Reilly was ever the inquisitive mind and always fascinated by the ways in which people react or respond in a crisis. It occurred to him in that instant that Gleeson had one of three choices –

1. Mutter an excuse about the dodgy fuel line. It actually was leaking.

2. Blame the driver for standing too close to him.

3. Say nothing and hope nothing happened.

Gleeson did none of the above.

Looking the driver calmly in the eye he said.

‘I’m really sorry for spilling that diesel on your fabulous suit. It was completely my fault and shouldn’t have happened. Unfortunately it will smell and you do need to get it dry cleaned immediately.’

Taking his wallet out of his pocket, he withdrew the only money

he had to his name, a carefully folded fiver and said to the

Mercedes owner. 

‘There’s a great dry cleaners in Briar Hill called Bee Green Dry Cleaners. They use completely natural cleaning materials and your suit will be as good as new afterwards. The owner is a man called Stevie Langan. He’s my uncle. Tell him that Paddy Gleeson sent you and to look after you. If it’s not completely as good as new come back to me and I’ll sort it out.’

That was the thing about Gleeson. He took 100% responsibility

for the results in his life. His immediate response to every

circumstance in his life was:

I AM RESPONSIBLE.

LEARNINGS.

When you live and die by the I AM RESPONSIBLE credo

there’s no room for excuses or blaming or complaining. As Reillys great buddy Stephen O’Brien would put it ‘it’s either

full duck or no dinner.’

These three simple words, I AM RESPONSIBLE, if repeated regularly and lived with gusto, guarantee to ensure you have your greatest year ever in 2020 irrespective of the circumstances.That is, if you have the courage!

These words are the panacea to all and every form of

procrastination and prevarication.

Imagine if you were to take 100% responsibility for every result

in your life right now – positive and negative! That would entail

never blaming circumstances, luck or people for any of the

outcomes in your life. Try it for the next 24 hours.

I AM RESPONSIBLE.

When you front up to life, and take full responsibility for it, you

eliminate much of the scope for excuses, blaming and

victimisation. Whilst many of that years B. Comm class aspired to getting a good job, Paddy had a clear vision to build an empire and retire when he was still young enough to enjoy it.

Whilst half of UCG (at least the entire male half) dreamed of courting Grace Kennedy, Gleeson ended up marrying her. And whilst

some of us are still ducking and diving and making excuses

Paddy is a free man because he always believed and practiced

the credo:

I AM RESPONSIBLE.

Responsibility, like routines, comes before results.

QUOTE.

‘Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom

involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of

responsibility.’

― Sigmund Freud

QUESTIONS.

  1. What exactly will you take responsibility for?

(Thanks to my great buddy, Dr. Pat Harrold, who is doing such great work on the front line in the midst of this pandemic. It was ‘Harry’ who first dragged me kicking and screaming to Smokie Joes to listen to some crowd from Tuam called the Saw Doctors whom he claimed would be the next guys on the block. How right he was!)