Big Trak is back!

Long ago, in the distant annals of time when our nation once before sampled the perilous taste of economic doom, there was a toy that captured the simple imagination of a simpler people. Big Trak was a programable toy tank which featured:

6 wheels, centre wheels are driven by two motors to allow the changing of direction, a 16 command memory, a 23 button keypad and front mounted blue photon beam headlamps.

(Image Source)

You could programme Big Trak to go off on all sorts of crazy journeys, turning left and right and periodically firing its photon beam headlamps. It is hard to convey how magical this thing was. I encountered the Big Trak as a hand-me down from my brothers, but it was testament to its sturdy construction that it survived that long, as its principal use involved it being setup and purposely programmed to steer itself to its own calamitous fall off the top of our stair case. We would spend literally hours thinking of different ways in which to direct the Big Trak to the same fate. We didn’t care about its 16 command memory; we had only one command. Drive. To. Certain. Death.

Big Trak also holds a special place in an apocryphal Christmas family tale. It is traditional for children to attempt to sneak down early on Christmas morning to see what Santa Claus had left. In our house these trips had begun to get earlier and earlier to the point where kids were attempting to sneak down before they had gone to bed. Our parents, fun-killing demons they were, put a stop to this, and ordered the kids to stay put until the morn. One Christmas Eve a few dare-devil children snuck down in the dead of night. Under cover of darkness they began to unwrap their presents. One lucky sod received the 6-wheeled programmable joy that was Big Trak and immediately began playing with it. Unfortunately, this night time revelry stirred the senses of our father, who came down stairs to inspect. Just about covering their giggles, the children skulked in the shadows as the menacing figure of a wild-haired, dressing gowned body wandered in the dark. Sadly, for all their stealth, they were about to be betrayed by their robotic tank friend. Like all tragic robots in history, Big Trak can only follow the commands of its human master, even if this means destroying them in the process. Thus, Big Trak set off on its preprogrammed mission, slowly winding its way out from under the kitchen table in an L-shape, meeting with its final destination, a soft bump into a slippered foot. The jig was up. Big Trak made its way back into its box, and a bunch of children made their way back to bed with a sore arse.

My sister noted this week that Big Trak is back, available from Argos. I can’t help but think that in this day of electronic farms and touch screen goo-gas, that Big Trak may not delight the current generation, but for us it was truly a thing of joy.

Dundalk F.C. 5 – 1 Shamrock Rovers

A master of the art of war has said, ‘I do not dare to be the
host (to commence the war); I prefer to be the guest (to act on the
defensive). I do not dare to advance an inch; I prefer to retire a
foot.’ This is called marshalling the ranks where there are no ranks;
baring the arms (to fight) where there are no arms to bare; grasping
the weapon where there is no weapon to grasp; advancing against the
enemy where there is no enemy.

There is no calamity greater than lightly engaging in war. To do
that is near losing (the gentleness) which is so precious. Thus it is
that when opposing weapons are (actually) crossed, he who deplores
(the situation) conquers.

Tao Te Ching – Chapter 69

Picture credit: Oliver McVeigh / SPORTSFILE


Business Pitch : You Dance On My Grave!

Last week our nations airwaves were abuzz with the news that a man, in an act of protest, had danced on former Taoiseach Charles Haughey’s grave.

The man, Vincent Kearney, staged the jig as the finale of a small video he had made in which he lambasts the Irish government’s scheme to avoid economic doom.

The dancing was really a gimmick to draw attention to his video, as other wise I don’t think many people who have watched the preceding 5 or so minutes. Of course, this got the nation in a fluster. Personally I don’t think it was a nice thing to do, because baring radiation fallout from a passing meteorite, Haughey can’t come back to defend his tomb.

It got me thinking however. I myself would have no problem with someone having a wee boogie on my grave. Being vaguely hippie-ish, I entertain notions of being buried naked with a tree planted on top of me. That sort of thing. It occurred to me that I might even want people to dance on my grave. I’m dead, I might as well let people have a bop.

So I have come up with the Deadman Disco©. A team of engineers will install a small dance floor onto your burial site. The dance floor will come with some rotating spot lights and a disco ball, and a series of tiles that will light up as revellers step on them (ala Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” video).

For an additional premium you can go for the Delux Deadman Disco Experience, wherein we will install a small jukebox into the headstone allowing dancers to choose from a number of tracks to get their boogie on to. For the full nite-club experience, potential dancers will have to stuff €13 into the head-stone, be rewarded with a watered-down pint and through a small funnel a small bit of vomit will be sprayed onto your shoes.

I am preparing my pitch for Dragon’s Den right now.

(Thanks to @CaesarLopez for the artwork)