Thursday, April 06, 2006


Or, Scots do it with kilts if you please

By Theolonius McTavish, a do-it-yourself tartan kilt-maker who’s sat on one too many thistles in his career as a jest-in-time technology expert on what makes Scots tick & talk, do the highland fling, and lick their thumbs to sign their names

Tartan Day is a wonderful occasion to celebrate all things quirky and quaint from the "Land of Bonnie Prince Charlie, Robbie Burns and Rob Roy"…be they kilts (or what lies beneath them), cabers (or why anybody bothers tossing them), and Celtic love knots (how to tie them or how to get out of their nuptial knots in a hurry).

For centuries Scots have been on the rocks. This is not surprising since belting out bawdy ballads on their blessed bagpipes is their national pastime, when they’re not all haggling over who makes the best beef broth, haggis, and porridge.

Being bull-headed seems to come naturally as does beating their chests incessantly while mucking about in the moors and crooning to those old ‘Brigadoon’ tunes. When not hoofing about in the heather, they keep fit by quaffing their daily ration of Scotch whisky and digging themselves out of sand traps on St. Andrews golf course ...just for the heck of it.

However, some might say that their greatest contributions to the treasury of world culture are their get-up-and-go Gaelicisms. A sampling of these obscure if not obtuse expressions follows:

“Ah cannae dae nuthin aboot that hen, ye’ll huv tae talk tae the high heid yins upstairs.”
– “I can’t do anything about that woman, you’ll have to talk to the management team upstairs.”
“An then yer arse fell aff.”
– A colorful expression used to describe someone who is bs-ing you.

“Aye, where’s the Heid Bummer?”

– “So, where’s the Big Dog/Head Honcho/Top Banana?”

“F*** wuv been rummelled!”
- “F*** we’ve been discovered!

“Get aff yer arse yer ault weegie bampot.”
– “Get off your backside you ancient, mildly unhinged person, living west of the River Carron!”

“He’s a right numpty and pie-eater!”
- “He’s a useless soul and a person of low social expectations!”

“His heid’s full ae mince.”
– “His head’s full of nonsense/rubbish.”

“Haud yer wheest, ah’m on the phone.”

- “Pipe Down, I’m on the phone!”

“Man yer feet are howfin.”
– “Man your feet are smelly.”

“Never seen a daft wee zoomer before?”
– “Have you never seen a slightly out-of-touch erratic person with a volatile disposition before?”

“Stuff it up yer juke!”
– “Stuff it up the front of your t-shirt.”

“Yer Maw cares.”
– “Does it look like I give a flying fig about it.”

Tune in next year for more merry musings about the trial and tribulations of color-coordinated Scots on Tartan Day.

And for those who can't get enough of the Scottish vernacular, take a wee peek at the First-Foot Dictionary.

Can't get enough of those titillating tartans?... try this online Tartan Store.