I wrote this in June of 2004 after being contacted in May of 2004 and told that a friend of mine whom I'd met traveling in Croatia and later in Miami was killed while serving with the UN in Iraq.
The story of his death had some holes and inconsistencies, but the person who contacted me claiming to be Ronan's bereaved best friend knew a stunning amount about what I had thought was Ronan's life. And the only thing more unbelievable than this crazy death story was the thought of anyone faking his own death in such a cruel, uncalled-for, carefully-detailed, and outrageously self-aggrandizing way.
But a couple of months later I contacted his mom to offer condolences, and she told me in no uncertain terms that Ronan is alive, well, and recently married. It was quite a shock, but I was so glad he was alive I wasn't even angry. Just extremely perplexed.
Later on, some people from Cork contacted me to say that I was not the first person who had been taken in by his crazy stories. Several girls read my tribute and emailed me their own stories of hurtful and dishonest things he has done, probably with the same look of intense and innocent sincerity that was on his mug while he was spinning his tales to me. When I met him in Croatia, he was seeing two or three other girls at the same time, one of whom he was engaged to. He has never served in the UN, played rugby for Munster, ridden a Harley through Russia, or most of the other things he said.
No big deal from my end, it was a charming little fairy tale, and we had some nice times. But pulling a Huckleberry Finn was a bit much, especially since it disrespects the people who really are dying in senseless and awful ways all over the world right now.
Anyway, for a few laughs and some pretty horrifying facts about Iraq that, unlike Ronan's story, are unfortunately true, read on. Everything is true to the best of my knowledge except whatever fantastic drivel comes out of Ronan's mouth. Also disregard but feel free to laugh at the letters he wrote, calling himself Scott, from his own email account, the lazy bastard. You can't count on much of anything in this life, but at least it's entertaining.
I dedicate this to all the girls who have loved the person Ronan wishes he was. And to the people who were so kind and supportive when they thought I had lost a friend.
Ronan, I wish you the best, but you reap what you sow, my friend. It was a great story anyway. Cheers.
Tribute for Ronan's Alter Ego