January Hooliganism Column from The Irish American News

Mike Houlihan

I received some hate mail a few weeks ago in response to last month’s column.

It was sent from a fella going by the name of “Tom”. He started his fan letter by stating, “After reading your incredibly bizarre piece in the IAN newspaper I have to wonder if you’ve truly lost your mind…”

My immediate response was to reply, “Yes I have lost my mind, now please, please, please stop bullying me!” But I decided that “discretion is the better part of valor” and digested Tom’s diatribe and his outrage at my Swiftian satire. I reminded myself what I’ve told my editor and publisher, Cliff Carlson, on more than one occasion, “If I’m not pissing Somebody off, I’m not doing it right!”

I got the sense from “Tom” that he wanted to draw me into a debate of some kind about my words and who I had skewered in my column. I replied to the hate mail with these words,
“Tom who?”

Not five minutes later Tom wrote back, “It doesn’t really matter who I am. It is only the truth that matters.”

Well “Tom”, maybe your mommy never told you this, but it does matter who you are because if you don’t have the courage to put your name on something you’ve sent, it’s a safe bet there is no truth in anything you say.

I can only assume you are just another in the long line of bicycle seat sniffers I’ve encountered throughout my career who don’t enjoy my sense of humor, AKA “Houli-haters”. That’s fine Tommy, but please don’t expect to engage me in a discussion with you or any other delegates from NAMBLA.

I do appreciate the fact that gerbils like you actually read “Hooliganism”, but seriously Tom, you aren’t my type. So feck off and let me enjoy the folks who love me, the real people who have real names.

Folks like Anne Marie Grogan, who I met again after over 62 years, at IBAM at the Irish American Heritage Center last fall. Anne was a friend of our family when we lived on Estes Avenue in St. Margaret Mary’s parish and did a lot of babysitting at the Houlihan house. She told me of the night my older brothers hid the baby, me, in the empty bathtub behind the shower curtain to drive poor Anne almost crazy.

Anne Marie recently sent me a Christmas card and letter with some old news clips of yours truly. She also sent a spiritual bouquet for my family with the gift of two Christmas novenas for our intentions. I was touched by her generosity of spirit.

The card was signed, Anne Marie Grogan.

Or folks like my friends the Barrett sisters: Suzanne, Nancy, and Mary. Suzanne runs “Barrett Office Suites and Services” in the Loop and I’m renting a very cool office there during the holidays and the kindness of the sisters is contagious. They sign their names to thank you notes all the time Tom.

Or my lovely grand daughter Charlotte, the coolest person in the world. Charlotte is two years old and has grown very attached to a statue of St. Joseph we keep in our home. Charlotte could very well grow up to be a Chicago cop because the other day she dropped the statue and chipped Joe’s nose and my wife was distraught, “What happened to St. Joseph?” she cried.

Charlotte looked grandma dead in the eye and said, “He tripped.”

I have a feeling Tom, that a person like you, too spineless to reveal his identity, lacks the faith of Anne Marie Grogan, the charity of The Barretts, or the hope of Charlotte Houlihan.

I’ve just started an occasional blog at www.mikehoulihan.com and encourage all you “real people” to check it out whenever you’re in the mood for some “Hooliganism”.

Houli-phobes like “Tom”, please, let’s not waste each other’s time. For the rest, Happy New Year to all!



  1. Christopher Diebold says

    Mike, I just read your column in the January issue of IAN, then re-read the December column, and thought is was hysterical! You are right on the money with putting your FULL name on anything you comment about!!! Glad to see there are people out there who feel the same way I do about this!! One of my OTHER favorite sayings is “feck em if they can’t take a joke!!” Happy New Year my friend and keep up the good work!!!! Chris

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