I shall never forget the final words my father spoke to me on his death-bed. He feebly cradled my hand in his own, the touch of his skin cold, papery and thin, and he slowly drew up his head so his half-closed, bloodshot eyes could peer into mine. In between thin, rattling breaths he laboriously spoke these words, "Son, though my time on this earth may be drawing to a close, I like to think I have not spent it unwisely. I have learned a few things in over the many years, and now, as the darkness draws in, I would like to impart to you one piece of information, one piece of advice. It is, in a way, your inheritance, an heirloom more valuable than any physical possession I could leave to you, and it is this. Son, if ever you see people buying tiny jackets for their dogs know that the boom-times are back in all their folly. Should you ever see this, beware." With that, he then proceeded to spend his remaining time on this earth berating me for not remembering that he had a crippling peanut allergy and saying that, by serving him that chicken satay, I was guilty for his demise and should always remember this.
While his bizarre piece of advice rattled around my head, it seemed to grow more confusing by the day. I began to grow bitter, more resentful. I took umbrage with his words - particularly the bit about it being more valuable than any material possession he could've given me. Seeing as he left my three siblings, a yacht, a beach-house and high-yield shares in an expanding tech firm respectively, this simply didn't ring true.
But then one day - today in fact - I saw something that put everything into perspective, and that is that Aldi have announced a bespoke line of cutesy dog jackets.
You may question the wisdom of their announcing a range of cold-weather gear in the week when Ireland is set to bask in the first flushes of spring. However, that is a separate, though equally credible argument.
It is undeniable that there is nothing that truly screams 'bourgeoisie end-times' quite like the phrase 'powder blue shower-resistant dog coat'. Aldi's imminent release of this collection shows that we have, once again, willingly thrown ourselves into the warped and cruel embrace of Celtic Tiger-esque decadence.
From this Thursday, February 21 you will be able to walk into an Aldi store, go to one of their giant sort of metal-mesh troughs that they keep their limited stock promotional items in, fish out a dog jacket that you think would best fit around the lithe, currently unencumbered, haunches of your hound, and do this to them.
Look into the eyes of this incredibly well-groomed dog. Though its fur may be rich, bouncy and blow-dried, you can sense that it exudes shame. It is the first dog in recorded history to have known true shame. It has been forced to eat the apple, and the Eden of dogs has fallen. No longer can dogs exist in a world where they are unaware of their own sins and wrong-doing. The donning of this jacket on this dog has thrown upon the doors for it, and all other dogs, to know shame; to know embarrassment. Look into its sad, round eyes and know this to be true. We are the snake, this dog is Eve and that baby pink gilet is the apple. Their Eden has fallen and we should hang our heads in shame.