One of the more surprising things about living in Scotland is that old jokes about marriage still linger. I meet perfectly nice old bachelors who seem to exude glee that they have managed to escape matrimony and any other kind of female domination. They would be the first to condemn any poor treatment of the lassies--possibly even to the extreme of fisticuffs--but they greatly prefer to be footloose and fancy free, their living spaces unencumbered by woman stuff. Meanwhile, incredibly old jokes about marriage can still make Scottish men roll on the floor, helpless with laughter. Scottish women sigh resignedly. Well, I think they do. I sigh resignedly. And then I make notes.
Here is a joke that convulsed the 99.9% Scottish audience at a concert in an Edinburgh hall during Hogmanay (New Year's) festivities. It also convulsed some of B.A.'s friends when he repeated it to them. They laughed until they cried.
An Edinburgh woman was brought before the sheriff (magistrate) on a charge of shoplifting. It was an open-and-shut case (no pun intended) because she had been caught on CCTV and found with the goods. The woman was a repeat offender, so the sheriff thought a little time in jail would teach her a lesson.
"And what did she take?" he asked the prosecutor.
"Well, my lord," said the prosector. "It was a can of tomatoes."
"Was it now, indeed? And how many tomatoes would you say were in the can?"
The prosecutor conferred with his clerk and once again addressed the bench.
"My lord, I believe, there were perhaps as many as 12 tomatoes in the can."
"Very well then," said the sheriff. "In that case, Agnes McAuliffe, I sentence you to 12 days in prison."
Suddenly there was a disturbance in the gallery as the shoplifter's husband jumped to his feet. He gripped the rail and stared imploringly at the magistrate.
"It wizny a canny tomatoes," he shouted. "It wiz a canny PEAS!"
The principal problem I have with this joke is that there are twelve tomatoes in the can. Never in my life have I found that much fruit in a can of tomatoes. Which just goes to show you who usually does all the ordinary cooking--not the fun, gourmet stuff--in the jokesters' families.