Dutch courage

THE Scottish footy team’s doughty display against the Netherlands this week reminded the Diary of another historic occasion when our chaps battled Holland in the 1978 World Cup finals in Argentina. On that day the diminutive figure of Archie Gemmill became a giant of a man, scoring a goal that has rightly taken its place in our nation’s mythological mutterings, along with William Wallace’s sword, Robert the Bruce’s spider and Billy Connolly’s big banana boots.

Archie skipped, slalomed and skedaddled past the opposition, leaving the dazzled Dutch to tilt at windmills. (Apologies for that last metaphor, folks. But we’re discussing Holland, after all, and felt duty-bound to make at least one windmill reference.)

As the following tales from our archives prove, our correspondents also enjoy the occasional glimpse of glorious Gemmill greatness, when they, too, stand out from the crowd…

Flaming fool

SENIOR players at an Ayrshire golf club were enjoying a post-round drink when one asked: “Do you ever go into a room and forget why you’re there?” A fellow member immediately replied: “That’s why Davie lost his job as a firefighter.”

Questionable answer

IT’S rumoured that in Glasgow University’s philosophy department in the 1980s one exam question was simply: “Why?”

It was later whispered in admiring tones that the student who answered “Why not?” was awarded a pass.

Belt up

In Glasgow’s East End, back in the 1970s, the head of a school PE department managed to stop a playground punch-up. The miscreants were then lined up and the belt was energetically applied, until it reached a hotly protesting youth.

There were to be no arguments though, and he was duly walloped and dismissed.

It was only later that regrets over this hasty action surfaced, when it was conclusively proved that the protesting ‘pupil’ was actually an apprentice van boy delivering rolls for the school canteen.

Pregnant pause

A GLASGOW office worker who handed in her notice after becoming pregnant had to go through one of those exit interviews much loved by human resource departments.

When asked the question, “Could any action have been taken to prevent you leaving?” she rightly answered, “Birth control.”

Crafty capitalism

BACK in the days when a legendary outdoor music shindig rocked Scotland every summer, there was an entrepreneurial Irvine shopkeeper who found himself with plastic sledges for sale in his window in June.

So next to them he placed a card stating: ‘Beer sledges for T in the Park’.

First footing

A CHAP in a pub once told us that a terrible ache in his foot forced him to visit a doctor, who immediately said, “Gout.”

“Hang on,” the chap replied, “I’ve only just got here.”

Driven to distraction

A BUSINESSMAN in the back of a Glasgow taxi watched as a bus cut in front of the cab, making the driver brake sharply. “See bus drivers?” snarled the cabbie. “They’re worse than taxi drivers.”

Bum deal

WE end on a scholarly note, recalling the erudite reader who pondered the question: “Why do badgers have such rough backsides? And who discovered this fact?”