Joke – Scotland

At a restaurant an old Scottish man looked at the waitress and said: “I have a story to tell you about my Scottish friend.  He went to a restaurant and ordered soup. When the soup came the man immediately called over the waiter and said: “Waiter, there is a fly in my soup!”  Immediately the waiter responded;  “Oh Sir, let me take that one away and bring you another.”  But the old Scotsman said “Oh no lad, just make him (the fly) spit it out!”

My mom told me this joke and she said she heard it from her great-grandfather, William Henry Moore. William is from a small town near Glasgow, Scotland and came to the United States in the 1930s. He lived in Long Island until retirement when he moved to Dunedian, Florida. Dunedian is a predominantly Scottish town and is known for its ancestral ties to Scotland.

“Scotty,” the nickname for my great-grandfather, would invite his Scottish friends over in Dunedian and tell stories, play bagpipes, and smoke cigars fairly regularly. When ever my mother came to visit she often heard this joke, but remembers never hearing any jokes/stories etc. about other nationalities, only Scottish.

This joke pokes fun at Scotsmen as penny-pinchers. Wanting every little bit of their money’s worth, even the miniscule droplet that a fly might have consumed. The joke is told traditionally with a narrative and a punch line. This joke can be categorized as a Blason Populaire joke because it pokes fun at the popular conception of a Scotsman.

A joke disclaims responsibility of the teller, however when joke is about an nationality and the teller and audience are of the same ethnicity I do not believe any responsibility can be disclaimed. Because Scotty and the other men never told stories about other nationalities they took more responsibility for their words then perhaps a French man telling the joke.

The joke telling was also part of a tradition/habitual folk practice that my great-grandfather took part in. The congregation of Scotsmen in Dunedian was a regular occurrence because all the men there were retired. When Scotty lived in New York he and his fellow Scotsmen usually were working long hours in industrial jobs and therefore the coming together and sharing of stories, songs, cigars etc. was less frequent.

In my family today we do not carry on a Scottish tradition of bagpipes, kilts, etc. Scotty has passed and so has his wife but they both made it a point to tell my mom and her Kelly Williamssiblings the stories about their lives and a few jokes etc. The kilt is still in my immediate family and other Scottish items are divided between my mother and her siblings. On several occasions my mom has made it a point to tell me about my great-grandparents, whom I never met, so that I can continue passing on their story and spirit.