On Saint Patrick's Day, after work, we encounter shamrock-tattooed Ben tying himself into Celtic knots to affirm his Irish ancestry.
"My grandparents came over on the boat from Dublin," he explains while wiping a beard of Guinness foam from his distinctly swarthy and unfreckled face, which glares defensively from beneath a Tweed newsboy's cap worn at the jauntiest of angles.
Not that possession of pale and pointillistic skin are any definite indication of a true son of Eire, to be sure, but I would've put money on Ben's surname being Ridicuolopous or even something vaguely Levantine.
He is actually called Ben Mills, he confesses, which my friend Terry (Byrne, born Galway 1972) unkindly whispers is no doubt a shortened form of Milosevic, no doubt changed at Ellis Island.
I enquire if Ben knows what type of mill his ancestors operated to earn their supposedly Irish but almost ersatz-English sounding family name.
This disappointing response engages Terry's sotto voce skills once more: I bet it was a bullshit mill, he mutters, they ground up sacks of pure crap all day long.
From the barroom's malodorous, miasmic stew of human sweat and corned beef and cabbage, a friend of Ben's emerges wearing a green plastic bowler hat and a spangled necklace of green beads, crudely signaling and shouting at the weary bartender, demanding three more "Irish car bombs."
Good grief. That must be the most appallingly named cocktail devised by those we must now call mixologists since, well, I can't recall any worse named concoction of any kind.
And, I think, with apologies to Yeats, what rough beast, its round come at last, slouches towards the bar to get drunk.
As for Terry and I. We are done here. It's time we were going home.