Prelude to a Fall – The Birth of Tinman, Part 1

It is September 2006, and Tinman (or just Man as I was then) is drunk.

It’s Friday night at about 12.45, and I’ve just got off the last DART from Dublin, having gone straight to the pub next door with my workmates at 5.30. Drinking all evening is a talent which I’ve largely lost over the years, being more a head-out-at-ten type of bloke, but now that I’m working with other people again after years of self-employment I find the urge hard to resist.

wile-e-fallingAnyway, I’m just at the bottom of my road, with about another one hundred yards to go, when suddenly I hit my forehead really hard, skiddingly and sickeningly, against the tarmac footpath. I lie shocked on my face for a few seconds, then slowly push myself up onto my elbows. Straight away I know I’m in trouble, as I can feel blood trickling into my eye, and what isn’t trickling into my eye is dripping directly onto the footpath.

I get to my feet, finish the walk home, creep into the bathroom, and steel myself before I switch on the light. The horror show that greets me is quite impressive, though I can tell it’s all on the surface. I wake Mrs Tin, having prepped her first before I turn the light on, and between us we stop the bleeding.

Cute, aren't I

Cute, aren't I

I spend the next three weeks wearing plasters, a baseball hat and dark glasses at work. I also have to wear zip-up hoodies belonging to Tinson1 as I can’t get a jumper over my head. When people ask what happened I tell them quite openly that I fell while drunk, and presumably earn myself a reputation as a lush AND a bit of an idiot. The photos of that year’s Christmas Party show my forehead as a patchwork of angry red scars, and though these have faded so as to be almost invisible now, they still do not tan, so whenever we do get sunny weather I get the mottled complexion of a giraffe, though sadly not the height.

There it is , then, a salutary tale about the evils of over-indulgence in drink. I was truly mortified at the time about what a gobshite I’d made of myself.

And yet… sometimes I’d wonder how it had happened. I didn’t trip, because the tarmac was new and there was nothing to trip on. And, while a person who’s been drinking will obviously blame everything on that, I was 48 years of age, had been drunk hundreds of times before over the previous thirtytwo years, and had never before fallen straight onto my face, making no attempt to put my hands out to stop myself.

And I’d done all the hard part … I’d left the pub in time for the train, I’d negotiated the traffic and crowds of a Friday-night city centre, I’d managed the steps at Tara Street Station, stayed awake all the way home, and then walked through the rock and mud-encrusted right-of-way through Greystones Golf Course in total darkness. Then, right at the easy part at the end, I’d just fallen over. It was as if I’d, I don’t know, blacked-out or something.

Looking back now, it’s obvious that this was the start of it all. Though nothing else was to happen for another eight months.


Will Tinman find out what’s wrong with him? Will the blackouts start again? Will Tinman remember that this is a series, and write another chapter? Find out in Part 2 – “Starless and Bible-Black”.

4 thoughts on “Prelude to a Fall – The Birth of Tinman, Part 1

  1. laughykate

    I have a friend who managed to walk straight into a lamp post in the cold sober bright light of day and then needed three stitches in her nose after they fished her Prada sunglasses out of her face.Unfortunately she couldn’t blame it on a blackout.

  2. Tinman18

    HM, I probably said something like “you know Brian Cowen? Well, worse than that.”

    And LK, that just proves that Prada sunglasses are the best when it comes to blocking out sunlight. Perhaps too good, in fact.

  3. K8

    Sounds like alcohol’s innocent enough in this case… that’s a weird fall, you’re sure to remember how you got horizontal. I knocked half my front tooth off the last time I got twisted, and remembered every goddamn minute of it.

    Helluva taxi hailer was I till I got it fixed!


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