Head boy

EVY Poumpouras, a former American Secret Service agent, has published Becoming Bulletproof, a self-help manual about how to take on the world… and win. It looks set to become a bestseller but The Diary staff won’t be reading it. We’re more interested in folks who get walloped by the world, in way out and wacky ways. On a Saturday we like to mull over our favourite examples of classic tales of calamitous and cack-handed antics. Such as the Scout troop leader who told parents there would be “a £5 decapitation fee” for each boy.

Sea-ing is believing

OVERHEARD in an Edinburgh cinema a few years back, where the audience is engrossed in a screening of Titanic. The big boat has hit the iceberg and is shipping water at a great rate. Member of audience to friend: “The ship’s gonnae sink.” Friend: “Naw, it wullnae.”

Step on up

A SCENE that once took place in the Buchanan Galleries shopping centre in Glasgow. One manager said to another at an escalator which resolutely refused to budge despite much poking of controls: “It’s no use. We’ll need to call the engineer.”

The men were then interrupted by the archetypal wee Glesga wumman: “Can ah go up noo, son?”

To which management responded: “Aye, missus, but ye’ll huv tae walk up manually.”

Driven to distraction

AN apocryphal tale we hope is true. It starts with an advertisement in the cars-for-sale column of a Banffshire newspaper. The ad reads: ‘BMW for sale. £10.’ Everyone assumes it’s a misprint. But one chap phones up to find out what the price should be. “No. £10 is the correct price,” says the lady on the other end of the phone. “But a BMW of that age and model is worth thousands,” the chap replies. In a firm tone of voice, the lady repeats that £10 is the selling price. The deal is duly done. The explanation is that the car belonged to the lady’s husband. The same husband who had left for South Africa with the new woman in his life. “What about the BMW?” his wife had asked as he left. “Oh, just sell it and send me on the proceeds,” he said.

Allege-ndary man

SCOTTISH journalist Ron Neil, who co-created Newsnight, had an equally illustrious father, a lawyer called John. Neil Senior was so proper in his behaviour that, when one day he was accosted by a footpad and relieved of his wallet and gold watch, he pursued the perpetrator shouting the words: “Stop alleged thief! Stop alleged thief!”

Chew on that

THE scene is the Glasgow-Aberdeen train, where a traveller is feeling peckish and is tempted by a banana muffin. But, wary of the high prices of items on rail buffet trolleys, he asks the salesgirl: “Are these muffins exorbitant?”

“I don’t know,” she replies. “I’ve never tasted them.”

Fractionally incorrect

GLASWEGIAN overheard dispensing pearl of wisdom to friend: “Och, it’s aw much ae a muchness, hen. Six o’ wan and two-thirds o’ the other…”

Name game

WE recall the time a high street music store advertised vacancies for store detectives. Aspiring crimestoppers were asked to apply to a Mary Cotmore.