From Wikipedia: the expression, “Living the life of Riley” suggests an ideal contented life, possibly living on someone else’s money, time or work. Rather than a negative freeloading or golddigging aspect, it implies that someone is kept or advantaged. The expression was popular in the 1880s, a time when James Whitcomb Riley’s poems depicted the comforts of a prosperous home life, but it could have an Irish origin— after the Reilly clan consolidated its hold on County Cavan, they minted their ownmoney, accepted as legal tender even in England. These coins, called “O’Reillys” and “Reilly’s” became synonymous with a monied person, and a gentleman freely spending was “living on his Reillys”.
As sad as this puppy looks, don’t feel badly for him. I suspect he lives a comfortable, prosperous and advantaged home life. I met him at the 10/7 criterium race of the South Bay Wheelmen DR series on the Dominguez Hills course. I thought his name was Riley, maybe Reilly, when he was introduced. His owners, Patrizia and Eric Richardson, both raced and they brought him along to cheer everyone. The “life of Riley“ phrase came to mind immediately.
Turns out his name actually is Wiley. But that doesn’t work for my story, so I’m going to call him Wryly.
The course was well-paved, the weather was lovely, tens of thousands of dollars worth of high-end cycling gear were in use, with healthy riders self-actualizing to their heart’s content. I feel a wry smile come on when I contemplate the very frugal habits of my depression-era parents and what they would think about all this. Wasteful self-indulgence, or happy that they could help make it a reality for their children?
For the full set of pix from the race, click here.