Scotland The Great - Scotland smiles better
- The List
- 22 January 2009
If you put the Disneyworld ride It’s a Small World next to the can-can kicking French and the windmill-hugging Dutch, how would the Scots be represented? A bunch of red-haired, tartan loving, haggis munching, kilt-wearing grumps? Scots stereotypes may not paint us in the best light, but then again, there’s aye worse. We consider the good, the bad and the ugly
Penny-pinching, tight-arsed misers. They say when a Scot drops a coin, they bend down to pick it up so quick, it hits them on the back of the napper. But what about the US of A’s Hetty Green, the world’s biggest miser according to the Guinness Book of Records? Scroogy Hetty, who died in New York in 1916, owned one set of underwear, spent an entire evening searching for a two cent stamp she had lost, and refused to pay her son’s medical bills, which meant his leg had to be amputated and he hobbled about with a cork prosthesis. Furthermore, what could be read as miserly could be read as savvy, given our circumstances. According to a survey by the GMB trade union late last year, salaries in Scotland are sitting at a not so pretty £3000 behind the average British wage and are more than £18,000 less than pay packets in London.
‘Get in ma belly!’ Mike Myers’s flatulent, moobs-sporting, baby-munching creation Fat Bastard did nothing for our nation’s street cred. Yet, the fattest man in the world is not from Scotland, but Mexico. Manuel Uribe, 43, wants the Guinness Book of Records to rename him the ‘world’s biggest slimmer’ after he shed a colossal 570 pounds from his former weight of 94 stone before marrying his long-time sweetheart last year.
Blame Gordon Brown, if you will, but faced with accusations of being a surly, humourless bunch, we prefer to remain deadpan and point the finger back at famous gloom-mongers including Jane Austen, who once said, ‘I do not want people to be very agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them a great deal,’ or WC Fields, who once made the cheery boast, ‘I am free of all prejudices. I hate everyone equally.’ According to recent studies at Edinburgh University, inherited genes control up to half of the personality traits that keep us happy. So there you go, we can only work with what we’re given. And, to any doubters, a Comic Relief study showed Glasgow was near the top of cities in a ‘smiles per hour census’, so it can’t be all bad.
Failures at sport
Okay, we admit it: rugby and football have never been our forte on the world stage but who cares? We bow at the alter of the mighty Chris Hoy, Andy Murray and Mark Beaumont.