Thursday, August 24, 2006


Recently eaten: fried rice
Recent annoyance: plants that just aren't hearty enough

The Scottish have donned their little plaid LAME caps these days. They are trying to stam out the tradition of people buying rounds for one another. What's next? No more opening doors for people? No more passing squares of toilet paper under the stall to someone who has none? You can bet that they are not going to stamp out the tradition of people buying rounds of haggis for one another. It's preposterous!

Scottish ads target alcohol use, ritual
Round-buying is a cherished tradition throughout Britain and in Ireland, but it's only in Scotland that lawmakers are trying to end the ritual.

From the most glamorous bars to seedy spit-and-sawdust pubs, drinking alcohol is a Scottish pastime that ranks in importance alongside soccer, history, politics and meat pies. The ritual of the round ranks among the worlds most hazardous etiquette exchanges and can be as fraught as a first business meeting in Japan or courting Sicilian style.

Each round must be honored and reciprocated as a symbol of bonhomie, generosity and swagger.

The rules are simple:

• If you accept a drink you must also buy a round. (But if you are celebrating your birthday, or a new baby, you are exempted.)

• Each offer of a round must be accepted and reciprocated with drinks of equal value. Never offer a beer to someone who has just bought a bottle of champagne.

• If you have had enough to drink, you can quit, but you must make sure you have honored the round by buying everyone a drink.

• Not to buy a round is a great insult and round dodgers gain reputations as mean and untrustworthy. They usually are not invited out again.

"The worst round dodger I know is a guy who leaves the pub for a bag of chips (fries) every time it's his round," said Oliver Berrill, a 20-year-old law student at Edinburgh University.

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