Author Archives: Terry McMahon

Terry McMahon (left) in the ‘dodgy’ Roger Corman thriller ‘Dangerous Curves’ (2000) starring David Carradine

When we were kids the greatest show on television was Kung Fu. Today there’d probably a queue of crazy caucasians wailing about cultural appropriation but for us at that time there was nobody cooler than David Carradine as pacifist-monk cum closet-killing-machine Caine.

Every week Cain – played by this mongrel mix of Irish-Brit-Dutch-Welsh and Christ-knows-what-else Carradine – would confront inner and outer demons to restore balance to a chaotic world.

We didn’t have video players, so when something screened there was no pausing or playback or recording for later. The world stopped and you watched. That show spoke to our soul in a way that no Catholic Bible ever did.

When we got a little older we fell in love with the movie, ‘Revenge of the Nerds (1984). We never knew that the brilliantly-realised lead character Lewis was played by none other than Robert Carradine.

It was only when we sat down to watch both men in Walter Hill‘s iconic ‘The Long Riders (2000) that we realised these two pivotal characters of our youth were real-life brothers. It blew our minds.

Years later, in a bizarre deal brokered by then Minister for Arts and Culture Michael D.Higgins, legendary Yank producer Roger Corman set up a studio in the back arse of Connemara to make American B-movies.

Nobody quite knows the full story of how that happened but there’s definitely a feature-length documentary somewhere in there screaming to be made.

Corman controlled the movies by selecting the scripts, the central cast, and the director. The rest was up for grabs and actors who never got a foot in the door of the closed-shop that was Dublin were allowed audition.

That’s how I got cast as the bad guy pitted against the Carradine brothers in a dodgy straight-to-video Roger Corman movie.

I knew somebody had made a mistake in the Casting Department but I kept my mouth shut because it’s also how I would get to spend a month in the company of two icons that we had grown up adoring.

I was so nervous on the train journey I couldn’t sit. Walking up and down the moving carriages praying for a crash. I had just found out that the central cast were living in the same purpose-built house.

Two great cooks had been hired and we were going to be having dinner together every night. Me and the goddamn Carradines. I ran through the carriages to the tiny bathroom and puked up an already emptied stomach.

A car picked me up at the station and the driver tried to have a conversation but my childhood stammer had returned like a serial killer coming back to gloat over its prey. Fear was ripping my insides out and I regretted ever auditioning for this ridiculous movie.

As the driver pulled into the long driveway, the house was amazing. Built as an active-set to accommodate filming, the staircase was vast, the doors and the rooms were huge and the facades outside were designed for four different film genres. Roger Corman is renowned for his genius pragmatism.

The driver let me out and, as I nervously stepped inside, a beautiful blonde woman smiled the kind of smile that lights up the world. I was in love with her before she spoke a word. Two children came running in.

The girl was angelic and the boy was panting. This was Robert Carradine’s wife Edie, and their son and daughter, Ian and Marika. Before I could exhale, the boy grabbed my hand and dragged me to play with him. It’s as if he knew I was terrified and he decided to turn my fear it into magic.

Brought to Wardrobe and Hair and Make-up, the script may have been crap but the people trying to make it work were wonderful. At my request they shaved my head bald. My eyebrows too. Which was not the smartest move.

I went back to my room and began to shave the rest of my body. I was into the whole ‘method’ thing back then and I decided to go down the line. And down the ball sack. Just as I was about to finish turning my nether regions into a plucked turkey, I heard the door open and the sound of a woman’s voice.

Then I heard his voice. One of the most recognisable voices in movies. There I was with my nutsack in one hand, a razor in the other, and David Carradine had just walked into my room.

I slowly opened the bathroom door. My room was empty. But I heard him again. He was next door. The walls were so paper-thin he may as well have been whispering directly into my ear. I couldn’t believe my room was next to his. I couldn’t believe I could hear everything. I couldn’t believe the pain of shaving my scrotum.

David and his loving wife were looking to express their recently-married yearning for each other so I bolted out of the room to give them a little privacy.

As I ran downstairs, I nearly knocked someone over. He looked up with that gentle smile very few folks in the world possess and said, “You must be Terry.” Robert Carradine extended his hand and, from that moment on, all fear was gone.

From left: Marina Anderson Carradine, David Carradine, Bobby Carradine, Terry and Maxine Bahns

That night I was too excited to sleep so I snuck downstairs to the kitchen. A couple of minutes later, the sound of soft footsteps on the stairs. I thought it was the security guard to tell me to keep my starving fingers off the food.

Turned out it was David Carradine and he wasn’t one for sleeping much either. He tested me at first. Needed to figure out if I was indiscreet. He’d tentatively say, “Why am I telling you this?”

Then he’d stare at you. The way only he can. Caine in Kung Fu. But it wasn’t a real question. I’d stay silent. And he’d continue. Before repeating the same question. This became our nightly ritual for the rest of the shoot. We’d do that dance until 4 or 5 in the morning.

There are too many stories to be told. Plus, some are private. But these people brought me into their lives in a way that blew my mind, the same as they had done when I was a kid; particularly Bobby and his family.

After filming finished they came to visit my little family in our one-bedroom corporation flat on Dorset Street. It was bizarre to see a Hollywood star and his family strolling through the flats. And kind of beautiful.

We stayed in contact for years and Bobby and Edie even loaned me a baby Mercedes to drive my missus and young son from LA to San Francisco in the full knowledge that I had never really driven before and had no license.

David invited us to his house and I’ll never forget his words. He put his arms around me and said loud enough for everyone to hear, “There hasn’t been a day that has passed since, that I haven’t thought about you.” I had no reply. The hero of my childhood.

Time passed and we lost contact. People moved, phone numbers changed and life went on. When David died I thought of Bobby and Edie and their kids. I adored these people and was sad that we had lost contact.

David had become a huge star again with Kill Bill (2003) and Bobby was directing film and television. I had made a couple of tiny movies too and when one of them, Patrick’s Day (2014) was selected for the Woodstock Film Festival, we were flown over.

Woodstock was incredible and, as we were wrapping up an interview outside the sold-out cinema, I heard someone call my name. It was dark and there was a large queue but I knew I recognised that voice. From twenty-years ago. And then I saw her.

That beautiful blonde hair. That smile to light up the world. Edie Carradine. And standing beside her, that beautiful boy, Ian – now a man – and her iconic husband, Robert Carradine. They had read about the screening and, all these years later, they’d traveled half-way across the country to support me. I was so moved I nearly wept.

We went to a small bar after the screening. They were so proud of me. Like family. We raised a glass to the memory of David. The boy who had grabbed my hand that first day had grown up but he had lost none of his magnificent heart.

His mother had lost none of her beauty or her warmth. It was her who took the black-and-white photographs all those years ago. But Bobby had lost something precious. His brother. And it showed. The world hits the kindest people hardest.

They had to leave. A long journey ahead of them. They had come all this way. To rekindle something. With a nobody. We won the Grand Jury Prize in Woodstock that night with our tiny film in front of a huge crowd but all I remember is that quiet drink in that small bar with the Carradines.

Life is a gift. But it’s the people you meet that make it a miracle.

Terry McMahon is a filmmaker and can be found on Twitter @terrymcmahon69

Previously: Terry McMahon on Broadsheet

From top: John Connors winning an IFTA  last year; Calls to action against Mr Connors and Terry McMahon from ‘Collective Action’

When I was publicly labeled a “cowardly traitor” by Gemma O’Doherty I received late-night messages from private numbers.

I didn’t blame Gemma O’Doherty for those calls. My number is easy to get and they weren’t so different to any other sad-sack trolls on social media who get to be the hero in their own fantasy.

You could hear subtle breathing but nothing else. It was as if the callers were thinking. Planning. Perhaps fantasizing. One time you could hear somebody urinating. Long and slow. Knowing I was listening.

After that, things escalated. The callers finally found their voices. It was just ridicule, initially. Juvenile insults about my crap writing. My shit films. My horrible voice. But that progressed to declaring I was the enemy. A fraud. A dead wanker walking.

I said nothing to my family. My missus is pregnant and there are enough lunatics to be dealing with in our family already. She doesn’t need to be burdened with any more of my ‘political bollox’ as she aptly describes it.

In truth, the whole thing was kind of embarrassing. I’d backed the wrong horse and understood this was part of the fall-out. So I just deleted the messages and got on with the day-to-day reality of preparing for a beautiful baby.

But I was with a close friend one night when one of the messages was left. We were in his gaff reminiscing over a good single malt when one of the anonymous patriots let rip. My mate was shocked. He was adamant I should call the cops.

But a good single malt with an old friend is too rare to be interrupted by the ravings of some broken soul. It made sense to just pour two more measures. Besides, there was too much pain in their wailing messages.

Like the high-pitch hurt of an ex-lover at 4 in-the-morning who swears to themselves they will never call again. Except one last time. This final time. To say what can only be screamed.

O’Doherty can’t be held responsible for the 4am rage that they feel the need to express from the confused confines of their dank and sweaty bedrooms. There was never any real danger.

It’s the ones who smile directly to your face in daylight that are often the real threat. Or it’s the censorious cowards who insist they have right on their side as they attack with impunity anybody who doesn’t subscribe to their world view.

You know the ones. The new Puritans.

This anonymous group of brave-as-hell soldiers recently declared their intention to name and shame and takedown Ireland’s Right Wing “Fascists.” A noble call if ever there was.

Only problem is, they don’t seem to know what a fascist is. But, courageous as these heroes are, they’re not going to allow silly little facts get in the way of their feels.

The fact that John Connors has done more for disenfranchised people of all socio-economic classes and races than these keyboard warriors combined is irrelevant.

The fact that John Connors has single-handedly rewritten the social contract when it comes to society’s expectations of Travellers is irrelevant.

The fact that John Connors has created more works of film, television and theatre for no money than many of the state-funded companies combined is irrelevant.

The fact that John Connors has won multiple IFTAs and gave an acceptance speech that inspired millions of people is irrelevant.

The fact that John Connors is a young man in his twenties who refuses to be limited by any political doctrine or engage in censoring any opposition is irrelevant.

John Connors did commit one fatal error. The dumb bastard stood by his principles. And, frankly, he wasn’t the most articulate about it. He hurt some folks’ feelings.

Caught up in the national maelstrom of a profoundly divisive referendum John Connors refused to subscribe to the frenzy of Repeal. And, by Christ, for that, he must be punished. No matter how long it takes.

John Connors is a fascist. That’s a fact. He is a fascist because a small band of nameless-faceless self-appointed keyboard warriors feel he is a fascist.

They feel he must be stopped. By any means necessary. And the other sad fact is, some people who should know better have refused to defend him against what could easily become a career annihilating accusation.

Some people who should know how dangerous the weaponising of censorship is have remained silent because John Connors is a mouthy chap who should have learned acquiescent silence as all the other artists did.

John Connors is a man who might have had a different moral position to some people on a life and death issue. He may have articulated it badly. Trying to do the right thing, we’ve all messed up.

The self-appointed moral guardians of a so-called ‘Antifa’ group publicly naming and shaming John Connors as a fascist is one thing but the fact that many people would rather watch a good man hang because of a difference in opinion than stand up for a larger principle is the real reveal here.

When will it be your turn to be publicly named-and-shamed for refusing to subscribe to the teachings of the New Puritans?

The moronic stench of the screaming poseurs is to be expected but the increasingly common silence of decent people gives too much breath to the frightening idea that, in our new political landscape, when it comes to to the cancer of censorship, feeling truly is the new fact.

Update: ‘Collective Action’s  response to this post was to call for a personal boycott and publicly label me a:

“Neo-nazi, racist, homophobic, transphobic, right-wing, hatred-inciting wanker.”

I mean I can take most of those insults but, come on, labeling me a wanker really is a step too far.

Terry McMahon is a filmmaker and can be found on Twitter @terrymcmahon69

Previously: Terry McMahon on Broadsheet

From top: Painting at the Abbey Day Nursery which has been closed by TUSLA in the wake of the Hyde and Seek scandal; Terry McMahon

Sickened having to write this. Everyday when I picked my daughter (above) up from the not-for-profit nursery in the city the children would shout in unison, “Be the monster!” I’d have to put all the crap of the day aside and become their imaginary monster.

The kids would scream and run around that huge downstairs room until everyone was an exhausted mess. None more so than me. Then they’d shout, “Go to sleep!” I’d slump to the ground and curl up in pretend slumber.

Except it often wasn’t pretend. I’ve had four kids attend this nursery over the years so, as I’d shut my eyes and grimace at the pain in my knees, I’d think, “I am literally too old for this.”

The kids would tentatively poke their sleeping monster. Their excited giggles would become high-pitched squeals until the monster would growl. They’d scream and back off, only to become braver and advance once again.

Their imaginary monster would roar and stand up to pursue the screaming lunatics all over again. It was exhausting. It was worse than working out in a gym. But as my daughter watched her deadbeat dad with pride it was often the highlight of my day.

Like many others creches in the city that not-for-profit nursery is a profound place. Located across from The Garden of Remembrance it is called The Abbey Day Nursery, and for the last 26  years it has been run by one of the most remarkable women I have ever met, Deirdre Moore.

This gift of a human being has done more for children than can ever be quantified and she’s just about to burst open those beautiful nursery doors once again to welcome all nationalities from all walks of life in Dublin’s north inner city.

Except the nursery doors have just been bolted shut.

By an incomprehensible force.

By an organisation increasingly under disturbing scrutiny.

By the national child protection agency TUSLA.

Under the leadership of Deirdre Moore, these children at The Abbey Day Nursery learn much more than the necessary basic skills. They learn to be non-judgmental of other cultures. Of other races. Of each other.

At my last count, there were nine different nationalities shouting, “Be the monster,” in that glorious downstairs room. Yet every one of them played without prejudice.

They learn that forming deep-rooted friendships with the ‘foreign’ on both sides becomes just as natural as loving the ‘local’ in each other. Seeds are sown that blossom into a life-long fearlessness of the ‘other.’

But there was another creche across town that developed the darkness within. A private for-profit creche that fostered fear in children. A cancer that extorted cash from parents who paid to believe their kids were safe.

If a fiction writer had named this creche they’d be accused of being too on-the-nose in their comic book evil description.

Located on Dublin’s fancy Botanic Road, the creche that would become a national scandal after an undercover sting on PrimeTime Investigates is called Hyde and Seek.

A woman who has brought horror to children’s lives and nightmares their parents, the woman behind Hyde and Seek creches has made profits from the misery she has caused to the tune of millions.

TUSLA did a little mooching around, imposed a few easy-to-pay fines.

The Abbey Day nursery is shut down but no doubt at the soon-to-be rebranded Hyde and Seek everybody will be welcome. As long as your folks have cash. Lots of cash. And no conscience.

TUSLA is now using the righteous outcry over the scandal of Hyde and Seek as leverage to investigate other nurseries.

They arrived at The Abbey Day Nursery and declared the nursery needs an alarm. Nothing wrong with that. There are multiple alarms in the building already.

But this alarm is different. TUSLA are demanding that a not-for-profit nursery which has been operating without incident for twenty-six-years pay ten grand for an alarm.

TUSLA has also determined that the children need an outside playing area. In the city centre. Despite the vast open space of The Garden of Remembrance being fifty feet away.

THE Abbey Day nursery doesn’t have ten grand. The Abbey Day Nursery doesn’t have an outdoor space. It has a huge room downstairs where happy children run with unfettered freedom. It has staff and a leader with more heart than TUSLA could ever comprehend.

It has a twenty-six-year legacy of legacy of inspiring countless children to rise above their limits.

The Abbey Day is not the only not-for-profit nursery to be punished for the actions of a private creche.

Talk to parents. It’s happening all over the country. And when enough not-for-profit nurseries are shut down the only option for parents will be to find some way of sourcing non-existent finance to send their children to a private creche. Oh, wait, perhaps that was the plan all along.

No matter what you are found guilty of in Ireland, if you are in the correct club we will reward profiteering mercenaries making money from the vulnerable. We will reward the carnage created by organisations that should be under criminal investigation on multiple fronts.

We will reward the cancerous policies of a Government that is willing to use the lives of children as pawns for political gain.

We will reward anyone who makes it clear that Ireland is no place for any child who does not have the necessary socio-economic stamp of approval to participate in that costly but cosy club.

Meanwhile, we will continue to punish cash-strapped parents who want their children to have the opportunity to engage with other children of all nationalities in a structured and beneficial environment that is not driven by commerce.

We will punish singe parents who will never be able to afford private childcare. We will punish staff whose salary was already too low for the incredible work they were doing but who now have nothing. We will punish a woman who should be sainted instead of fired.

But nobody will say a word.

Those beautiful children have yet to learn that there are profiteers at the door willing to rip away their future. Every day I picked my daughter up from that nursery those kids shouted, “Be the monster!” In their innocence they didn’t know that the monster is no longer imaginary.

They don’t know how real it is. How dangerous it is. Because, for reasons that defy comprehension, their paralysed parents won’t stop it.

Terry McMahon is a filmmaker and can be found on Twitter @terrymcmahon69

Previously: Terry McMahon on Broadsheet

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and former Minister for Health Mary Harney during a Project 2040 event at the University of Limerick last week

Imagine you are a woman diagnosed with cervical cancer and you stumble across this photo (above) taken a few days ago.

Or you are the husband or son or daughter or mother or father or brother or sister or friend of a woman who just died from that same preventable cancer.

Imagine our ex-Health Minister/current Leader grinning in joy at the jaunty speech being made by the funny woman at the podium.

This is the same leader who is forcing women terminally ill from cervical cancer to go to court to fight for basic dignity as they and their families prepare for death.

Imagine the stand-up at the podium is our ex-Tanasite/current Board Member of multiple Pharmaceutical Companies.

Along with her massive monthly state pension, she is also the woman who, despite countless warnings of fatal dangers, aggressively privatised-for-profit those same cervical smear tests.

Perhaps both parties should be dragged out of their beds in dawn raids. Perhaps they should be put on trial. Perhaps they should be thrown into jail with multiple convictions.

Instead, they’ve just appeared on stage together where he rocked in his seat in spasmodic glee as she killed her stand-up debut with a sizzling set about his infamous socks.

It’s impossible to comprehend the horror those women diagnosed with cancer might experience. To comprehend the heartbreak those long list of bereaved people might feel.

But imagine trying to comprehend the lack of empathy it takes to make trite jokes about a man’s socks while families are robbed of their mothers and women are robbed of their lives directly as a result of your premeditated policies.

Imagine living in a democracy where the murderous decisions of a comedy duo of laughing psychopaths aren’t just protected, they are celebrated.

This is not our Ireland.

Terry McMahon is a filmmaker and can be found on Twitter @terrymcmahon69

Previously: Terry McMahon on Broadsheet

Top pic: University of Limerick

From top: John Connors; Tweet from ‘Doctors for Choice’

Terry McMahon writes:

I Had the honour of hosting an extraordinary post-show Q&A with actor and writer John Connors in Clontarf last night.

The passionately articulate audience discussed class, ethnicity, gender, and mental and physical disability. It was remarkable to have uninhibited conversations about such taboo subjects.

They also touched on a subject that nobody is allowed to question anymore. Abortion.

There are many reasons why a woman or couple might feel the need for an abortion but this is also a subject that caused such rage-fueled hatred in so many egalitarian activists that they wanted John wiped off the face of the earth. Or, at the very least, stripped of his thoughts, his voice and his livelihood.

Later we talked about the avalanche of celebrities who fell over each other to be front row centre on the abortion train. They couldn’t get enough of it. Horrific stories of young girls impregnated by their scumbag fathers and rape victims left in crisis by their scumbag rapists were the only conversations allowed to be had.

Anyone who questioned if ethnicity, gender or mental or physical disability would be grounds for termination were labelled right-wing, misogynistic, fear-mongering extremists.

No doubt some will insist that it’s done. Get over it. Move on.

Then Doctors For Choice post this remarkable tweet (above). And the questions came back.

Proudly using the word “guesstimate,” they describe 900 terminations in two months. Men and women who have sworn to protect life consider 900 terminations a “privelege” (sic).

And Government leaders who let women die of cervical cancer consider themselves feminist icons. And 450 lives per month are considered products for pharmaceutical companies.

At the time, John Connors spoke up. His questions have been answered. Ethnicity, gender and physical or mental health are perfectly normal grounds for abortion. As is anything else.

We even refuse to administer pain relief to late-term aborted babies on the grounds that it may, “shame the mother.”

Where are the celebrities who brayed so loudly and so proudly back then? The ones who labelled anybody who spoke up as right-wing, misogynistic, fear-mongering extremists.

Where are these wailing accusors? These heart-on-the-sleeve liberals. These egalitarian activists. These suddenly silent hypocrites.

Terry McMahon is a filmmaker and can be found on Twitter @terrymcmahon69

Previously: Terry McMahon on Broadsheet

Terry McMahon writes:

That’s my daughter’s hand around my finger. Her mother is a midwife. Another midwife helped the birth. Their dedication is astonishing but now midwives have had to vote to strike. And it’s beautiful to see so many powerful people support these women who have chosen to make a life out of helping other women give birth.

Okay, it hasn’t happened yet, but it will.

Social media is awash with campaigns for these astonishing midwives who guide women through the miraculous process of birth and thereafter. Support is everywhere. And the t-shirts and the hoodies and the pop-up shops are amazing.

Okay, it hasn’t happened yet, but it will.

Anyone who questioned any recent campaigns has been proven wrong. Equality is here. Rights are real. Support is everywhere. Particularly for the midwives who do thirteen-hour shifts, without a break, to facilitate the miracle of birth for women who are at their most profoundly vulnerable, as they bring new life into our world.

Okay, it hasn’t happened yet.

But it will…won’t it?

Terry McMahon is a filmmaker and can be found on Twitter @terrymcmahon69

Previously: Terry McMahon on Broadsheet


The 8 Rules To Surviving Social Media

1. Be mentally healthy

Mental health is everything. The best way to be mindful is to attack the mental health of another while claiming you are the victim. If you do it right you might even make them go all the way. And you can really milk it when you read their eulogy at the church. You will look so sensitive you might even get some sympathy sex out of it.

2. Be steadfastly heroic

Children are important. Old people are important too. But nobody is more important than you. You supersede all others. This does not make you a narcissist. It makes you a hero. This world was made for you. Old folks are easy to get rid of. Kids are even easier. These people are just background actors in your charismatic close-up. Never let the living get in the way of your deadly destiny.

3. Be responsibly free

Censorship is dangerous. Unless you are doing the censoring. Then it is necessary. Any coward who disagrees with you is dangerously wrong. They need to be confronted with courageous censorship. You are only doing what needs to be done to protect everyone, including those you are censoring. Intelligent people proudly block out all contrary thought. Only then can you truly think freely.

4. Be ready for battle

Words mean what you want them to mean. The idea that words should retain their functionary meaning is moronic. In this battlefield of feelings, there should be no room for tone. Or intent. Or satire. Or humour. Or confusion. Or context. Or anything. Etymology is for imbeciles. You own all language. Words are yours to weaponise as you wish. Attack! Attack! Attack!

5. Be relentlessly compassionate

‘Compassionism’ is the way forward. It may not even be a word but it is the new political doctrine. Show the world how compassionate you are. Use the word hugely. If anyone points out that your behaviour is the anthesis of what it means to be compassionate, annihilate them. Viciously. Relentlessly. Barbarically. But compassionately.

6. Be more intelligent-er

Stupid people contradict themselves. Wise people contradict everyone else. You are never wrong. Even when you are. You have never been wrong. Even when you were. You will never be wrong. Even when you will be. That’s real intelligence.

7. Be ready to embrace emotion

Never hesitate to accuse another without foundation. Due process is a scam. Everybody is guilty of something. Nobody is innocent of anything. Just because it didn’t happen doesn’t mean they didn’t do it. Just because they didn’t do it doesn’t mean you are wrong. People are what you accuse them of being. If you feel they did it then they absolutely did it. Emotion is the new evidence.

8. Be full of feeling

Facts are for fools. Never let facts get in the way of your feels. If people expose your lies with their facts then attack them with your feels. Feelings trump everything. If you feel something is real then, goddamn it, it is real. Even if it isn’t. Feeling is the new fact.

Happy hunting, hyenas.

Terry McMahon is a filmmaker and can be found on Twitter @terrymcmahon69

Previously: Terry McMahon on Broadsheet

Illustration via Kaspersky

Ella (left), who is pregnant, and her children, from left:, Skyler (3), Paige (2), Logan (4), Torrie (10) and her partner Derek who are homeless and living in Emergency Accommodation at yesterday’s Housing Demo in Dublin city centre.

Terry McMahon writes:

Told my ten-year-old he was coming on the march in support of homeless people. He went nuts. Bananas. Barking in protest. My three-year-old was sitting on my shoulders, ready to leave, confounded by her older brother’s rage. This is the exact conversation, word for word.

Him: “But marches don’t change anything! You all think you’re doing something but you’re not. The scumbag Government don’t care. It’s bullshit. I’m not going. I’m not. You can’t make me. I’m not going.”

I didn’t know whether to high-five him for calling the Government, “scumbags,” or chastise him for saying, “bullshit.” But I did neither. Because, on multiple levels, the kid had a point. I had no smart comeback so I told him the only broken truth I know these days.

Me: “You’re a ten-year-old kid. You have your own bedroom upstairs. You have a place you can call your home.”

Him: “I’m not going.”

Me: “If you don’t want to, you don’t have to.”

Him: “Good, because I’m not going.”

Me: “But hear me out.”

Him: “I’ve heard all this bullshit before.”

Me: “You can’t say bullshit.”

Him: “I can when it is.”

He was making to leave. I had five seconds to reach him.

Me: “There are four thousand kids out there who don’t have a place to call home.”

He didn’t stop but he did slow down.

Me: “What happens when one or two of them see a ten-year-old kid on the television, marching for them?”

He stopped. He didn’t turn around. But he did stop.

Me: “What happens when that boy or girl sees a kid who doesn’t know how to really change anything in our crazy country but still puts his coat on to march in the rain for them?”

He didn’t move.

Me: “What happens when those boys and girls see that ten-year-old kid leave his warm bedroom and cosy house to let them know that he hates their scumbag bullshit Government as much as they do?”

He sighed.

Me: “What happens when some stranger who is only ten-year-old still finds the basic decency to make those kids feel less alone in the world by trying to give them a tiny sense of hope for the future?”

He didn’t move. That was it. I had nothing left. The words had run out. He turned and stared at me again. It was coming. I could feel it. The explosion of words to justify his anger.

He opened his mouth to give his standard, brilliant counterargument. But only one word came out. And it was quiet. And it pumped my heart with blood. Because it was the look in his eye when he said it. The look that told us both that he understood. The look that nearly made me burst out crying.

Him: “Okay.”

He put his coat on and opened the front door of his home, where he has a warm bedroom upstairs, then looked up at his three-year-old sister sitting on my shoulders.

Him: “Let’s go.”

It took a ten-year-old boy to make me remember to never forget why we march.

Terry McMahon is a filmmaker and can be found on Twitter @terrymcmahon69

Previously: Terry McMahon on Broadsheet

Yesterday: The Home Crowd

Sam Boal/RollingNews