You’re nothing but a slobber

A Breaffy Man in Castlebar
edwin-mcgreal_full_290

You’re nothing but a slobber



Edwin McGreal

Slobberin’. It’s a great Irish word.
Note the lack of the g at the end. Slobbering sounds far too posh. Slobberin’ has a much more culchie cut to it.
Slobberin’ - to do something half arsed; messing instead of doing it right. That’s not what you’ll find in the dictionary but it is what it has morphed into in the west, a colloquialism if you like. And in the west we accentuate the b’s to the hilt. Slobb-bur-in’.
‘What’s Reilly at out there’? ‘Ah, he’s slobbering as usual, taking a week to do a day’s work’.
See, it is very easy to get identified as a ‘slobber’ when it comes to work. Ireland, it would appear, is full of ‘slobbers’. Some are harshly branded so, others, well, we all know them.
We had a fella working at our house years ago and someone always had to stay and make sure he didn’t doss on the job.
See, he wasn’t an expensive worker. But, because he was a ‘slobber’, you had to keep an eye on him to make sure the work was being done right. Paddy loved to talk and there was no better man to get two hours out of a spot of lunch. Until my father told him he was paying him for the job, not by the day. Suddenly Paddy found a gear we didn’t think he had.
But slobberin’ applies beyond the work place. See, it is a lovely, nuanced word that can take on a world of its own. Slobberin’, believe it or not, is often used to describe how a lad is getting on with a lady.
‘Is he going out with her or what’s the story?’, one of our crew might ask. ‘Nah, he’s just slobberin’. That is, he is ‘with her’ in a loose sense but has no interest in anything serious. So there’s some free advice ladies, beware of the slobbers, they’ll always let you down.
But, for all my pontificating, I have engaged in a bit of slobberin’ recently myself and it comes to messing about with cars.
At the minute I have two cars in my possession. But that is not as good as it sounds. The combined value of them wouldn’t make €1,500. But, with two years NCT on them, I thought I could offload one of them for a half decent price.
And a fella came all the way from Sligo with the cash to buy it. But he knew what he was talking about when we met at Tom Rice’s. He took one look inside the engine, another look at me and knew I was a slobber when it came to cars. And he was back up the N17 like a bat out of hell.
The car, you see, hasn’t been terribly well minded in recent times. But it’s gonna have to start being minded. Because in the mean time, the other car has done itself in. Could take no more of my slobberin and calved (another great Irish phrase) on the way out the low road from town. My father reckons I drive the cars too hard. I reckon any car with 180,000 miles doesn’t need too much encouragement to collapse.
‘You’re some slobber,’ he says. He’s probably right.