So here it is - the McAteer three day plan for giving up smoking. Father Gerry knew he had to do two things to successfully ditch the habit. These were - shorten the day and keep the hands busy. The first part wasn't too hard as he was a self-confessed lover of the scratcher, the second part was where the tin whistle came in.
- Day 1: Father McAteer stayed in bed until one o'clock in the afternoon and went to bed at teatime*. During the short time he was out of bed he set about learning to play the tin whistle.
- Day 2: He got up at dinnertime** and didn't put the whistle down for a minute until he went to bed at eight that evening.
- Day 3: He rose at midday and played the whistle until his usual bedtime.
On the fourth day Father Gerry woke up a non-smoker and an accomplished tin whistle player.
It must be noted that Father McAteer was still a layman in those days. He was his own boss and could arrange the day whatever way he chose. Still, give him kudos, it was quite an achievement.
But what, you might ask, if you want to try the McAteer Plan and you already are an excellent whistle player? Well you could try the bagpipes or the banjo or if you have cranky neighbours living close by you could take up crocheting or needlepoint. Where there's a will there's a way!
The McAteer Plan is taken from Better Late Than Never... Memoirs of Father Gerard McAteer, who was ordained to the priesthood in 1983 at the age of sixty-five.
*Teatime - around six in the evening
**Dinnertime - Between midday and one a.m.