Beastly names

ONE summer reader Barry Deane went travelling in Central America, and came across a Scottish expat in the outskirts of Mexico City who owned a small private zoo.

His stock of animals included a couple of capybaras. (If you’ve never seen a capybara, imagine a rat, though much larger and congenial. The sort of rat you’d happily invite over for tea and scones. And it would probably help wash the dishes afterwards.) Anyway, this Scottish zoo owner gave his capybaras names that reflected their personalities.

The jollier of the two he called Happybara.

The slightly grumpier fella answered to Scrappybara.

Belt up, bud

TO make extra money, back in the 1990s, reader Mike Kelley worked as a bouncer at weekends in various disreputable watering holes around Glasgow.

In one dodgy drinking den in Partick the patrons were being encouraged to finish their pints at the end of the evening.

One inebriated fellow refused. In swaggering tones he said to the head bouncer: “I’d watch yersel mate. I’ve a black belt in karate.”

The head bouncer merely shrugged and said: “Big deal. I’ve a snake belt frae Frasers.”

The name game

WE mentioned a popular football computer game the young uns play on their mobile phones, where competitors mask their true identities behind pseudonyms.

The sobriquets are often inventive variations on the names of famous footy players.

Reader Wayne Flemming tells us his son is a fan of the game, and the madcap moniker he uses when playing is… Maradona Kebab.

Sozzle a scoundrel

DICTIONARY corner. Dave Sinclair gets in touch to provide a definition of bamboozle: “It’s when you confuse a ruffian by giving him alcohol.”

Work… or shirk?

THE teenage son of reader Matt Brown recently bagged his first part-time job working as a receptionist in a laid back Edinburgh gym, where he spends his time chatting to the regulars, perusing a novel or catching up on his thumb-twiddling.

He once even managed to sneak in a session on a running machine when the gym was especially quiet.

After three weeks of such hard graft, he proudly announced to Matt: “I’ve done everything at my work, except work.”

Mind your language

EXCELLENT advice from reader Joanna Langford: “Never use a big word when a singularly unloquacious and diminutive linguistic expression will satisfactorily satisfy instead.”

Jaded job jabber

CAREER-MINDED reader Janet Fox says: “I struggled for a long time to get a job as a podiatrist. I just couldn't get a foot in the door.”