My friend M and I spent time together when I studied abroad on the Pembroke-Kings Programme at the University of Cambridge four terms ago. As a graduate of Pembroke with a Masters in Engineering, he reminisced about the various sports he played from rugby to coxing the men’s 8 for rowing. He grew up in North Berwick in Scotland and went to high school in Edinburgh. When he was younger, his friends and he enjoyed tormenting foreign tourists who became incredibly alarmed by haggis.
M: I think I was a terrible child. I must have traumatized so many foreigners with the amount of teasing that my classmates and I foisted upon the unsuspecting ones. We pranked so many people by making up fake traditions for Scotland. I thickened my accent so people couldn’t fully understand me in an effort to keep them confused.
L: Was there a particular joke you told often or that got the best results?
M: Hahaha not really, but I think my favorite one was about haggis. You know the dish? Well it’s made from sheep, but not everyone who visits Edinburgh knows that. Some people thought it was all from a creature called a haggis. So my friends and I used to perpetuate this rumor (it was more of a joke for us) that there was this mystical sheep like creature called the haggis. Here’s where the joke always had us bursting, we told everyone who didn’t know any better that they had weird legs. In order for the haggis to run across the steep, uneven highlands, the haggis had incredibly uneven legs. One leg always significantly longer than the other. They had to run along one side of the hill to go one direction and the other to get back. Otherwise, they needed to run in a circle. It really didn’t make that much sense for us but I loved getting those hilarious reactions.
L: Did many people believe you?
M: I don’t know, but it’s something boys at our school have always done.