Don't be shy to buy a round, lest your mates don't forget it, warns Don Kavanagh.
When I was growing up many years ago, there were three terrible things you could accuse someone of.
A lack of patriotism was the first thing, meaning you would cast aspersions on someone's dedication to the glorious Irish republic in all its cheap and shoddy glory. You could also accuse someone of being a scab, and either of those two could easily cause a fight.
The third terrible reputation to acquire was that of someone who wouldn't stand their round in the pub, or someone who didn't "trouble the mahogany", as the saying went.
This was a truly awful thing to be accused of. It was fair enough to go to the pub and simply refuse to take part in a round, but once you did accept a drink off someone else, it was incumbent upon you to return the favour. Even today there are people in my hometown whose children and grandchildren are tarred with the same brush.
"Oh, he's a nice enough fellow," people say, "but he never stands his round and he didn't lick that off the stones because his father was as bad and his father before him."
It's a feature of small Irish towns that such reputations get passed down, but I have noticed that such reluctance to shout exists here as well. I've known Kiwis who regularly do the Aussie haka whenever their turn comes, or who disappear to the loo at crucial times.
It's a very unfair practice. Drinking is an expensive enough business without having to carry passengers. We've all missed a round occasionally and it's a perfectly human failing, but making a habit of it is unforgiveable.
It's a simple rule and one that should be taught in schools - if someone does you a favour, or buys you a drink, you are honour-bound to respond in kind.
I knew a Scotsman here some years ago who was an absolute expert at flying under the radar when it came to troubling the mahogany (and I must point out that it wasn't his Scottishness that caused it; I've seldom met a Scot who doesn't stand a round).
He would be the first out of a taxi, partly so he didn't have to pay. He would then race to the bar door to hold it open for the rest of us and thus ensure he was last to the bar. He was repaid in a rather sly way, however, when another mate (and another Scotsman) bestowed him with a nickname that has persisted to this day: The Locksmith. Because every time it was his round he made a bolt for the door.