A few years ago, the nice people at Guinness festooned the city of Dublin with some giant inflatable "pints" for Paddy's Day. These pints were about five feet tall, proportionally voluminous, and had a seperate compartment at the base which could be filled with water to allow the pint to stand upright on its own. There were also mooring points to allow the pint to be hung from bits of rope and so forth. One thousand of these were distributed around the city; some in pubs, some outside pubs, some at off-licences, even a string of them across the river at one of the bridges.

The DSPs were drinking in The Queen's in Dalkey, said pub being something of a flavour of the month at the time (also, this was some time before Messrs. Maguire opened). We had found ourselves a nice little alcove near the door, which had several desirable qualities: a good view of the traffic, some shielding from the loud music, a good deal of seating at a table or two, and ample walls to lean against.

Also, there was one of the pints standing next to us.

At some point during the evening, Jean turned to me and said, "I bet you'd love to have one of those!"

OH dear. But of COURSE I would.

A plan was hastily contrived to acquire the pint. There was no way we were getting it out the door in its tumescent state, so we figured that we'd cover it all over with our jackets (there were a good few DSPs present, thus plenty jackets) and then pull the plug and let it deflate naturally. We encouraged it from time to time through judicious sitting-on and leaning against, and eventually had it all deflated except for the water-filled base. Actually, at this point noone had, as I recall, figured out that the base was water-filled, so it's probably just as well we didn't find the filler cap for the second compartment! I crammed the deflated pint into my biker jacket, and we all stood up and legged it out the door in what should probably have been a flying wedge but was really an ill-coordinated stagger. Cliffy came around the side of the pub with his car, several of us piled in avec pint, and off we went.

Scene: Off-license at Stillorgan. A giant pint stands out front. Two DSPs enter the shop to purchase alcohol. The rest stay in the car.
DSP: Hey, can we take your pint? <giggle giggle giggle>
Shop Guy: No! <giggle>
DSP: That's okay, we have one already!
DSPs in car: YAAAY! <wave deflated pint>
Shop Guy: <much laughter>

The pint went back to a house party, then back to my place, where it lived for several years. It was involved in a volleyball game one lazy sunny afternoon, and also found use as furniture and a prop for photographs. Eventually, it took a trip to London from which it never returned. In fact, for all I know it's still in a house in Tooting.

The story doesn't end there, however.

The year after The Great Pint Escapade, one of the accessories to the crime was working in a bank (DSPs get everywhere, you know). One day, sitting quietly at his desk, a new employee was brought over and introduced to him. The new employee took one look at our hero and...

New Guy: YOU'RE HIM!
Hero: Whaaah? Who? Hmm?
New Guy: You're the guy that was WITH the guy that stole the pint from the Queens!

Turns out that he'd worked in the Queens that night, and the staff were perfectly aware of what we were up to, but decided to let us off with it since we were putting so much effort into it. Whee!

At least I have a positive attitude about my destructive habits.