What’s wrong with this picture?

Maybe we could use the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) to sort out real-life situations ...

So there I was the other afternoon, pegging it up a busy city footpath — not too fast, not too slow, maintaining a reasonable distance behind the couple in front of me, a middle-aged man and a middle-aged tiny woman.

Shorts and summer shirt for him, short-sleeved top for her, his and her rucksacks, and a map in her tanned hand.

I was a man on a mission, with just enough time to pick up an item in the pharmacy before work.

Suddenly, the little woman, drawing the map up close to her eyes and gabbling furiously to her companion, came to an instant puzzled stop.

Right on a bustling street corner, off Grafton Street, one of Dublin city’s busiest thoroughfares at any time but at the height of summer now, like the Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo — at rush hour.

I almost clobbered her with the work bag that came swinging violently off my right shoulder and threw me stumbling to my right, making all sorts of hurried adjustments to my flight path, all to avoid these human-sized blips on my radar.

This particular pair of blips were oblivious to me and to all the others behind me who had taken similar evasive action.

Being Irish and crap at confrontation — unless confronted first — I said nothing to the tourist pair — they had never even turned around, and were just about to move off, having recalibrated their route, and I just went around them, muttering.

Bit of a thing though, isn’t it, this not giving a feck about other people as you go about your business?

Happening more and more … in all sorts of social interactions.

We all know, for example, those buggers who pile up a ton of stuff at the supermarket check-out, and then, and only then, when the smiling assistant tells her — yes, it’s usually a woman — how much does she thrust a braceleted arm into her enormous handbag, eventually locate her bulging wallet, slowly take it out, all the while chatting amiably with the assistant as she sifts through ATM cards, receipts and scribbled bunion remedies, and finally slides her card into the slot and taps through her payment.

Smiles with delight as she fills up her Gucci shopping bags — okay I made that bit up — and skips off.

The whole queue is left grumbling but, again, this impediment to human progress and evolution, is oblivious.

Probably parked outside in a parents with kids parking spot.

Or maybe she’s the very woman who would challenge the person who gets out of that car with no squabbling three-year or buggy in the boot.

And my own pet hate, teenage exchange students crowding the path and spilling out on to the road and everyone has to walk around them. Muttering. Me, not them.

I’m sure you have your own bugbears or maybe buggy-bearers — you know the ones, they assume right of way getting on the busy bus, and feck you and your ankles, mate!

Anyway this time, my head went off on one, fantasy that is, and before you say it, I have been watching a lot of World Cup football.

I thought of referring them to VAR — the Video Assistant Referee — you know the little video kiosk thing, like in a 1980s gaming arcade, where the ref goes to check contentious decisions?

Ref Var 2 (1)
VAR away so close at the World Cup

So, imagine I filmed the Grafton Street Strollers stopping and blocking all the human traffic behind them? A lovely wide-angle video grab.

Downloaded it to the VAR kiosk that mysteriously appeared beside me, right where the Molly Malone statue used to be.

Looked at the incident from various angles, reached a conclusion, and ran off after the couple and referee-whistled them to a halt, with my other hand raised up in the bustling Dublin city centre air.

Then marched them into the VAR kiosk.

I would show them the incident, from every conceivable angle, leaving them in no possible doubt about their crime and their guilt, and then take off my referee’s ear-piece and paraphernalia and take out my coaching tactics board.

Now I expect arguments and exaggerated pleas of innocence, but I will be firm. I’ll put on my supercilious referee’s “I’m-right-you’re-wrong ” face and just blank all discussion.

If they persist it’s a yellow card — each! — and if they don’t I will blow my whistle hard enough to bring the entire street to a halt and take out my RED card.

Any more nonsense out of them now and they run the risk of a street ban! Zero tolerance.

No, best accept the referee’s decision is final and we can get on to the next stage: working on the right way of stopping on a busy street. Decelerate evenly — hand signals are optional — and come to a smooth halt, pulling in to the inside.

See? That was easy wasn’t it? — and no possible whiplash for me or the people behind.

Or better still, to satisfy my Jose Mourinho-meets-Cecille-B-De-Mille megalomaniacal tendencies, I could call in everyone from the original off-Grafton Street scene and choreograph and then again work through the knock-on effects of the original illegal stopping manoeuvre.

No director’s megaphone, mind, just me bossing everyone around, steering a shoulder here, a hand there, fussing over some trivial, but not to me, set detail, positioning and repositioning people all over my human tactics board — having gone through it all on my little plastic coaching board with its mini soccer pitch and magnetic black and red dots, until the whole thing is operating as smoothly as any 3-5-3 formation in Russia.

That’s it, VAR kiosks at every street corner, in every school … or perhaps not!

But maybe it’s what teachers should be doing with the kids in whatever they now call those mind-numbing Civic classes we had when I was in school.

Film a whole pile of real-live socially contentious situations and put them through some super-duper app or filter like the kids do on their iPhones, so you can do all that fancy editing stuff, just like on YouTube.

Put them up on the screen and the teacher talks them through the whole thing, what they did wrong, how they could do it better, and how society as a whole would be a far (VAR) better place without thoughtless women holding up a whole supermarket queue, students blocking up the path, or buggy pushers driving over your feet to get to the cheese counter in SuperValu.

Or you could film domestic incidents, like when they and their fellow teenagers let those dishes and congealed smoothie dregs pile up in their bedrooms or your home office, but then go mad when you don’t keep the space clear in the kitchen they reserve for preparing their smoothies. And don’t clean the blender properly after them either.

Just call in VAR, teach, and you’ll have them ready to run the world the way it should be. Not just the way they would like it to be.

There will be arguments, of course …. but it might liven up those Civics classes!

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47 comments on “What’s wrong with this picture?

  1. LOL! Not sure I’d like a VAR officiating on my every move … I’d be permanently in the sin bin. (No wait, that’s rugby …)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The joys of living in the country Enda. Although there are the joys of being stuck behind a tractor on country roads!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. There’s a Black Mirror episode on this! #Globalblogging

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lol, I was right with you there Enda until the blog moved onto football ⚽. I just don’t get it! Anyway. Still love reading your stories., even though I drifted off a bit today 🤣😛😘 but now I know about VAR, am wondering if we could get portable ones the might work from our phones or fitness trackers, after all if you’d been jogging or exercising at that point you could have done yourself an injury (one that would have required more that fake rolling around on the floor until a man ran up with a sponge and some cold water (that’s a football reference right? 🤔) #lgrtstumble

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah I think you’ve got the idea … work out the fine details and we’ll sort out all those petty annoyances in life!! Lol


  5. Spectrum Mum

    I’d be fine having one if it never got used on me & I was adjudicator 😉I hate it when you walk to a car and then have to wait while someone fishes out their keys. Open the doors as you’re walking towards it you fool! (My hubby always does this) #LGRTStumble

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh there’s any amount of them … except ourselves!! Mind you the kids are great at pointing out my irritating habits, like breathing and existing!!


  6. I knew what you werr talking about until the football bit. Lol. Anyway a good read. #lgrtstumble

    Liked by 1 person

  7. We decided they don’t VAR the Swiss because Shaqiri’s hips don’t lie.
    My wife has an additional delaying tactic in the supermarket. After chatting with the checkout assistant and searching through her bag, she then gets out a pile of money-off coupons and goes through them one by one deciding whether they apply to what she has bought, and then the checkout assistant has to check them off – it’s brilliant – makes the whole queue look like they’s got Tourette’s syndrome. Last time I was with her she saved 62p off a £150 bill.


  8. A great piece, Enda. I’m not sure about the VAR idea though: as we’ve seen in the World Cup, no matter how good it is, the technology is still at the mercy of humans and their infinite capacity to make cretinous decisions. And any system that doesn’t give Ronaldo a red card just for being Ronaldo clearly needs some work done on it 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh yes Clive it really has caused as many problems as it has resolved. The main body of pundits on RTE, our national broadcaster, are against VAR. Certainly it was too soon to introduce it for the biggest showpiece of them all. But then, part of the pageantry around footy is the endless debating. And it is certainly giving people plenty to talk about! Good job the football is great too ..

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think the majority of ours on BBC and ITV are generally in favour of it, though they don’t hold back with their criticisms if they think it has got a decision wrong. Most of the football has been good, thankfully: that compensates for some of the mind-numbing tedium provided by the pundits 😊


  9. Well, at least I know what VAR stands for now 🙂 #globalblogging

    Liked by 1 person

  10. We aim to please – and educate!😀


  11. I love your feta to writing #thatfridaylinky


  12. By having VAR at your beck and call, its rather Big Brother-esque isnt it? too much for my liking! However, I am so frustrated by slow walkers. When you’ve got a buggy in a busy place, it is hard to manoeuvre to get past and even without a buggy, being a small person I can usually weave in and out – not with slow people around!!!
    Thank you for sharing this with us at #TriumphantTales. I hope to see you back next week!

    Liked by 1 person

    • No I would hardly like to have my life under VAR scrutiny — strictly reserved for people who get ion my wick! Thanks for commenting!


  13. Now I know what VAR stands for! I really enjoyed reading your post, BTW.


    Liked by 1 person

  14. Great piece, as always, Enda! TY fo rthe laughter. Good thing I’m like you, always at the ready and never one to lose or misplace. Now wait a sec, while I call my Mrs. phone, so she can locate it! #LGRTstumble xo

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Go-to Mindfulness

    This had me smiling! 🙂 #thesatsesh

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Ha! That’s brilliant Enda. I totally second having VAR kiosks EVERYWHERE! Especially on London Underground (the tube trains). One of the worst things for me is when tourists stop at the very top or the very bottom of the escalators. Just you know… stop there. Hanging out. Whilst innocent escalator users pile up and go crashing into each other, attempting not to be sucked into the escalator vortex.. just because the flaming idiots decided to stop. Maybe taking out their maps. Maybe just stopping to have a drink. Who knows. But all common sense evaporated as they pretend to not see the disaster they have just caused 🙂 bring in the VAR! Thanks for joining us for the #Dreamteam – LOVED this read.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Unbelievable how people, especially young ones in situations like you describe, can be so disregarding of folk. Nightmare! Thanks so much for your comments

      Liked by 1 person

  17. diynige

    Oh no! Var checking my every move I would be red carded constantly haha! Thank you for linking to #Thatfridaylinky please come back next week

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Great post! I had no clue what VAR meant so it was super interesting to finally learn!! #bigpinklink

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Here we are, neighbors at #triumphanttales! ❤ xo

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Lucy At Home

    Hahaha I love the musings of this idea, and the thought of being able to Yellow Card someone who stops abruptly definitely has merit!… but in practise, the kiosks may be a little “big brother”-esque! Eek! Hehe #blogcrush

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Mackenzie Glanville

    You’re hilarious, but I see the serious annoyance in this too! This just makes me think even more so that I need to move the the countryside! Thanks for joining #ablogginggoodtime

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Funny how you can get football into this post! Hope you’re enjoying the World Cup (even if there’s no Ireland this time ;-)) #thesatsesh

    Liked by 1 person

  23. So that’s what VAR stands for! 😀 Groups of foreign students are one of my bugbears too, as are people who park in the reserved parking spots or any bad/dangerous driving infact. I recently saw a brilliant cartoon series on NY city ettiquette for tourists, The key is to never stop midflow, if you do, you have to stop behind an obstacle like a letterbox or in a doorway or anyplace where people would naturally pass around you anyway. Also don’t eat smelly food on public transport – donuts are ok, mouldy blue cheese sandwiches a definite no-no!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. I read a very good Irishman’s Diary in the I Times years ago about the need to have a slow, middle and fast lane on city footpaths, just like on motorways! Mouldy blue cheese sandwiches, eh? Imagine if they were lying at the bottom of your bag for hours in the weather we’re having … you would clear all of Grafton Street Liberty! Maybe all of Dublin


  25. Lucy At Home

    Just popping back because someone added this to blogcrush again 🙂 I think VAR would be very useful in sorting out bickering siblings – I find it exhausting having to constantly work out who did what to who and who had the toy first and whose toy it is to begin with, etc #blogcrush

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Youre right it would .. and the official resulting decision is final!!!!😀


  27. Pingback: Mix It Up Linky - 2/07/18 - Hooks and Dragons

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