Stranger Fruit

A pint of plain is your only man.

September 24th is also the anniversary of the birth (in 1724) of Arthur Guinness, the real patron saint of Ireland. In 1759 he opened the St James’s Gate brewery in Dublin and by 1778 he was brewing the elixir than bears his name. In his honor, I give you "The Workman’s Friend" by Flann O’Brien:

When things go wrong and will not come right,
Though you do the best you can,
When life looks black as the hour of night –
A pint of plain is your only man.

When money’s tight and hard to get
And your horse has also ran,
When all you have is a heap of debt –
A pint of plain is your only man.

When health is bad and your heart feels strange,
And your face is pale and wan,
When doctors say you need a change,
A pint of plain is your only man.

When food is scarce and your larder bare
And no rashers grease your pan,
When hunger grows as your meals are rare –
A pint of plain is your only man.

In time of trouble and lousey strife,
You have still got a darlint plan
You still can turn to a brighter life –
A pint of plain is your only man.


  1. #1 Scott Belyea
    September 24, 2007

    Well, well … I’ll have to thnk of something to do to mark the occasion. 🙂

    I have a friend who came to Canada with her family from England back in the 50’s. When she had her first child, her mother passed on the recommendation which was apparently commonly made to new nursing mothers of her generation – 2 pints of Guinness a day. Lots of minerals, and it will relax you and make nursing more successful.

    My friend declined the advice, but commented to us when recounting the anecdote that 2 pints would have resulted in her falling asleep before the baby was done nursing.

    We were having a pint at the time, of course …

  2. #2 Mike P
    September 24, 2007

    A well-versed ode to glorious beer is hardly the thing to keep me motivated at work on a Monday, John. Thanks a lot.

    Also, when are you coming out to DC?

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