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Funny / McAuslan

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  • After the battalion football team scores the winning goal against the Royal Navy team, MacNeill, trying to be cool, moves to light a cigarette but fails miserably: he sets his own sporran alight and leaves the audience box he's in full of smoke, at which point another person in the box comments on his excessive celebration.
  • "Guard at the Castle" begins with a description of the inverse relationship between the importance of the thing/person being guarded and the amount of rigmarole that goes into standing guard over said thing/person. The idea of someone trying to steal the Mons Megnote  from Edinburgh Castle is presented and made absurd all at once:
    Edinburgh Castle, from the guards' point of view, is in a class by itself. It is tremendously important, in a traditional rather than strategic sense; if someone broke into it and pinched Mons Meg the actual well-being of the country would not be affected, but the blow to national prestige would be tremendous. The papers would be full of it. Consequently, providing a guard for the Castle involves—or used to—more frantic preparation, ceremonial, organisation, and general nervous tension than the filming of Ben-Hur. It is rather like a combination of putting on a Paris fashion display and planning a commando raid, and the fact that it's object is to provide a skeleton guard which couldn't stop a marauding party of intelligent Brownies is, in the military view, beside the point.
  • In one story, there's a long paragraph on the subject of "Johnnie Cope", which ends with this line.
    But whatever it does, for the Jocks or to the enemy, at the proper time and occasion, its effect at 6 a.m. on a refined and highly-strung subaltern who is dreaming of Rita Hayworth is devastating.
    • The raucuousness of being awoken by such a fierce tune causes MacNeill to think the Battalion has begun another Scottish Rising, or that the MacLeods have come to settle the score with his kith and kin. Another junior officer, in partial wakefulness, confuses the event for the Americans accidentally dropping a nuclear weapon.
  • In the same story, the author gets a bit of his own back on the Pipe-Sergeant by saying that the pipers played Johnnie Cope well enough, but on the other hand, he himself has heard it played better by Foden's Motor Works Brass Band. The pipey is about to burst at the unfavourable comparison to a brass band when he realizes he has just been expertly trolled, and he not only vows to try that one on the Pipe-Major when he gets the chance but swears eternal friendship — not explicitly, but by inviting him to come and drink in the Sergeants' Mess, hallowed territory off-limits to all uninvited personnel regardless of rank.
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  • It is not merely that McAuslan is, officially speaking, not dirty. It is that it is decided, by a court-martial, that he is so unambiguously not dirty that it is outside reasonable doubt that anyone might think he was.
  • After the battalion redeploys back home, the newbie battalion commander encourages all his officers to play golf to better emphasize the "gentleman" part of Officer and a Gentleman, taking advantage of a nearby course. How do the padre and the medical officer play golf? With a hip flask. By the end of their game the padre is off collecting wildflowers, and the medical officer is lying on his back in the rough singing Kishmul's Galley.
    • The MO is so drunk he diagnoses a player who sprained his back as suffering from a lethal case of alcohol poisoning. This leads to the insulted player going on to finish the course and thus beat the MO and Padre, when he might otherwise have conceded despite being well ahead on points.
  • The colonel discovers that his clerk at headquarters can't read a map, and mandates that the next Education Period (which, being set after a lengthy period of "physical exercise" at the beach on a Friday afternoon for MacNeill's platoon, generally turns out to be a snooze-fest unless debates devolve to politics or religion) be devoted to getting the troops to know how to use a map and compass. MacNeill poses a question to the assembled platoon: if a particular wall in the room was north, which way is southwest? Everyone points in the right direction in unison—except McAuslan, who points to the ceiling. MacNeill is wondering just how in hell McAuslan had figured that one, before realizing that no, McAuslan isn't pointing where he thinks is southwest—he's just raising his hand to ask a question.
    Haud on, sur... Ah mean, 'scuse me. Wid ye mind repeatin' that?
  • The entirety of "The Gordon Women", but especially the latter half describing Aeneas "The Dipper" McLaren's cunning efforts to outmaneuver the Admiral and the gadgers. Also, the ultimate reveal of McAuslan and MacRae's roles in the whole merry mess.
    • The police and the Admiral hew and cry about putting him under arrest. The Dipper responds with "an indelicate noise"—one can only imagine the one-eyed coot either Blowing a Raspberry or letting off a round of the Fartillery in their general direction.


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