2014-01-17 / Columnists

Boyleing Points

Bare Facts And A Name For The Wages
By Kevin Boyle

I’ve got to hand it to the hundreds of people who do the New Year’s Day ocean plunge and the Cystic Fibrosis dip in February. I’m such a weenie in the cold I shower with my clothes on from January to March. When so-called friends tell me they like the cold I have to reconsider them. I think, I’m friends with an insane person. If they like the cold, what other things do they like that might freak me out.

Give me the equator over Antarctica any day of the year. In fact, there’s clear evidence cold makes people certifiable. I just read that there’s something called the 300 Club. Three hundred comes from the temperature swing you put yourself through in a matter minutes. To join, all you have to do is go to Antarctica, wait for the winter temperature to hit 100 degrees below zero, strip down to your nude self and crank the heat to 200 degrees inside a makeshift sauna. Once properly heated, you dash out – naked as a jaybird – into the great outdoors for a hundred yard sprint to the ceremonial South Pole and then back to camp. Yes, body parts freeze. Just imagine if you’re not fast. Anyway, that’s what people who love the cold do.

So for you people out there who sometimes try to explain how cold weather gets the blood flowing, how it makes you feel alive. I say, yeah, yeah. You’re nuts. To me, if you’re at the equator you take off your clothes. If you’re at the South Pole you don’t. So for those of you one step from permanent residence at the Park Inn, if you like the cold, don’t talk to me

Boyleing Points: Pete Mahon runs the w12thrd.blogspot.com. He sends out emails with all sort of useful links. Get on his email list ! We’re email buddies so I’ve never actually heard him pronounce his last name. So I asked. It was a fair question, so much so, that he had to ask his mother.

"Ma Han" he wrote. "Ma" as in the old Al Jolson song Mammy from the film The Jazz Singer, and, "Han" as in Hand.

My dear Mother, of the landed Irish is she, is still alive and doing well at the young age of 96 over in Woodside, Queens.

I called her earlier today and asked her about the correct pronunciation of our last name. Her response was, as always, short, terse and to the point.

‘Yer 63 years old and yer father's passed 11 years and now you want to know how to correctly speak yer given name? My maiden name when I left Mayo and came to this country in 1948 was Kelly and our last name became Mahon only because yer father finally got off his arse and took a job with the police force in 1949. If he hadn't got a job when he did yer last name would have been Flynn!’

“As you can see, among the "Landed Irish" female population of Woodside, the pronunciation of one's name was not as important as one's employment status back in 1949 when my dear Mother finally agreed to marry my Father. This is the type of information you do not readily come across in Ancestry.com!”

Told you should join his email list!

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