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Go on ,Have a half wan

I love that little word half and its many uses in the English language. From my earlier days I remember older people saying “ I’ll have a half wan and a chaser” when they went into a pub and I loved the idea of the small power and a bottle of Guinness.

In the drinking parlance of course, we have some lovely terminology. Like ‘ he was half canned” or “he was half cut” when he came here, and he was well gone when he left.

In school Bro Pender often spoke about the power of positive thinking and that we should always look on the glass as being half full, about being optimistic looking on the bright side of life. He never wanted to hear about the half empty glass pessimistic people.

We had an interesting algebraic problem from the same man with the bottle being half full or half empty and if you multiply the two half bottles by 2 the empty bottle equals the full bottle. I am still trying to solve that conundrum.

Thankfully nowadays the attitude of being less tolerant of weaker people has changed drastically for the better and there is now a greater awareness and tolerance for diverse abilities and far more educational support available to all levels of disability in education.

People used horrible language like labelling someone as a “half-wit’ or “you’re not half the man your brother was “. This was terrible derogatory stuff and thank goodness we hear much less of it nowadays.

I was often intrigued by the term “half “used when teacher was investigating something by saying” we haven’t heard the half of it yet “or now I think its six of one and half a dozen of the other” if they were adjudicating on some argument and they wanted to finish up quickly.

In the mornings we were often asked if we were half asleep or half awake . When teacher asked for suggestions some one might propose what they thought was a great idea but would be ridiculed by teacher with a “ that’s the most half-baked idea `I’ve heard yet “ or’ that’s the most half-cocked idea yet”. Some people were afraid to share an idea in case they incurred the wrath of teacher or were ridiculed in front of their peers.

In football training we were exhorted to do better with “ come on we’ll have no half measures here’.

Half enters our lives in marital ways too with wives and partners often referred to as ‘The other half or the better half.

One sports commentator I like talks about games thus “ this was game of two halves , the first half and the second half”. That is such profound wisdom and analysis, he must be admired for his use of language and power of words.

Parents ,when talking to children might say, “ I’ve half a mind not to go to the pool today”,

If your behaviour does not improve.

There’s a pub between Tralee and Listowel called “The Halfway House” and many a pint has been consumed there and yarns exchanged in a half-hearted way over the years.

We also have halfway houses when people leave hospitals and institutions so that people can transition back to normal life .

In selling deals if people cannot agree a price might say “ I’ll meet you half way.

And so, I leave you with some shared truths and half-truths delivered in a half-baked way, but I have shared them with you with a heart and a half.

Yerra go on have a pint and a half wan, “twill do you a power of good.

Mick O Callaghan

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