Waking Ned Devine


“The fool and his money are soon parted.”    Thomas Tusser said it; lotto winners prove it.  A fool is anyone who believes that easy money produces happiness.  They foolishly spend their earnings in pursuit of instant wealth.  Fools fail to understand that wealth never births wisdom.  If they weren’t smart enough to earn it, they won’t be smart enough to keep it.

In the 1998 movie, Waking Ned Devine, Jackie O’Shea conceives a plan; “We’ll find the lotto winner and make sure we are their best friend when they cash the cheque.”  With the help of his wife Anne and his best friend Michael O’Sullivan they wine and dine the small burg of Tullymore.  The hilarious antics of elderly men skinny-dipping, motorcycling in the buff, slipping on intestines, and primping a dead man’s face reveal how the lure of wealth can overtake and deceive the noblest of men.

2Anne said, “Money changes a man, Jackie.”  I disagree and this movie proves my theory.  Money reveals a man’s true character.

His friends asked Jackie what he would do with a million dollars.  He declared, “I wouldn’t waste it on a car when me bike’s outside…I wouldn’t be floating around the Caribbean when I can float in the cove for free…I’d take what I needed and treat me friends to the rest.”  He may have said these words in jest but they spoke from the overflow of his heart.  For beneath his conniving plan was a man who played fair and cared for his friends.  He just needed a test of conscience.

So I test myself, “What would I do with a million dollars?”  I try to convince myself that the stress free life of financial security would make me content and young again as I did noble things with the wealth while at the same time indulging in some much needed plastic surgeries.  It’s when my list turns toward selfish gain I’m glad I never play the lottery and reveal my foolishness.

The most endearing scene of the movie is at a funeral. To cover their lotto fraud, Jackie eulogized Michael instead of Ned Devine.  “Michael and I grew old together.  But at times when we laughed, we grew young.”  Now that’s a good line.

3I may never have financial security.  But I can’t imagine a better eulogy,  “She grew old but when she laughed, others grew young.”  The next time I see a lotto billboard, I’ll choose to laugh.


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