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 The Golden Handshake
I'm not my mother's only child
Though she is wild fond of me.
I also have two brothers
And that adds up to three.
Brother John's a merchant banker
But some don't call him that..
He drives a Merc, he smokes cigars
And he's ugly, bald and fat.
He's married to a model
Such a beautiful wee honey.
When she said, "I do," 'twas then I knew
She married him for his money.
Brother John is loaded
From the shares he buys and sells.
He has nothing in a Post Office account
But lots in the She-Shells.
He sells them wee derivatives
That's how he made his dough.
Brother John in his red braces boy
Can make them wee derivatives go.
He buys them short and sells them long
Man he sure rakes in the green.
And there's something boys, I've just found out
Them wee derivatives can't be seen!
John retired when he was 30
He said he was burnt out.
The directors threw a party at the Ritz
With champagne, wine and stout.
And he got a golden handshake
The day he walked away.
"What's a golden handshake John?" said I
But John he would not say.
My other brother Sammy
Got a golden handshake too
When he retired from land development
At the age of 32.
I'm the only one that's working
I was born with not much brains
If you look down an open manhole
You may see me in the drains.
For I'm a sewage worker
Some might say, "Go on you nutter!"
But sewage gets me up in the morning boy
Sewage is my bread and butter.
But you got to keep it moving
That's the sewage workers cry.
"Keep that sewage rolling boy
Though you never see the sky."
You got to keep that sewage rolling boy
Rolling to the sea
"Keep that sewage rolling boy,"
Was what the foreman said to me.
So I kept the sewage rolling
By day and even by night.
Some common people don't say-sewage
They would rather call it-faeces!
For 40 years both man and boy
With my shovel in my hand.
I was as white as an albino boy
Down in the sewers you don't get tanned.
But I kept that sewage rolling boy
Rolling to the sea.
I've never seen a pile of sewage, boy
That could get the better of me.
I retired when I was 65
Well I had paid my due
And I didn't get one golden handshake boy
I ended up with-TWO!
For the sewage gets inside the skin
So now on every hand
I find my natural colour has disappeared
And both my hands are tanned.
I've scrubbed and scrubbed with lifebouy
Tried Jeyes fluid and industrial soap
But I've still got two golden handshakes boy
And I'm running out of hope.
For the women do not like it boy
It scares them stiff and rigid.
"Get away you dirty auld brute," they yell,
"You and your golden digit."
Now I have to wear wee mittens boy
When I want something for my tay
Or the checkout girls will point at my hands
Scream and run away.
But sometimes I still wonder
As into my golden hands I sob
Maybe I should have used the rubber gloves
Provided for the job.
Yet I'm still in love with sewage
 They can't take that away from me
I sure kept that sewage rolling boy
Rolling on to the sea.
Youse could be doing with me now in some parts of Belfast.
But old sewage workers never make a comeback. and yet-- sewage is still in my blood.
It's the aroma. It's something to do with the-aroma!.



Copyright 2009 J P McMenamin