A Word That Will Live On In Infamy
It was Friday night. The room crackled with competitive energy. At the epicenter of Sam and Amy’s dining room table sat the Scrabble board. My husband Jerimiah was parked across from me, making smarmy faces in an attempt to knock me off my game. But my turn was coming, and my word would send my score to new heights while effectively smacking the smug right out of him. I laid the tiles down with a flourish.
My excited smile was met with blank stares. And then protests by the guys as their eyebrows rose sarcastically. “Haver is not a word,” they both said at nearly the exact same time.
“It is too!” I argued. “It’s from the song 500 Miles. The Proclaimers are Scottish, and Scots use lots of words that don’t make sense!”
The eyebrows arched even higher. And then I made the mistake of singing the lyrics instead of saying them.
“And if I hav-er, well you know I’m gonna be, I’m gonna be the man who’s haverin to you.”
I trailed off as soon as the laughter became hysterical, but my face didn’t turn red until the mocking began. For several minutes, all Amy and I heard was “haver,” with an extremely exaggerated r at the end. Apparently my rendition sounded a bit pirate-esque.
When I could stand the besmirching of my honor no more, I suggested the men go look up the lyrics online. They raced to the other room (this was well before the days of smart phones) and came back shortly with printer paper in hand. They did not look humbled. In fact, Jerimiah was more pleased with himself than when he’d left the room. He passed me the printed lyrics with a self-satisfied smile and said, “Ha, ha. It’s not haver. It’s wake up. Duh.”
I skimmed the lyrics and my eyes came to a screeching halt at the end of the first verse.
“Um, it’s actually right there.” I pointed to the proof of my sanity on paper.
He snatched the sheet from me as he and Sam huddled to look. Silence. Beautiful silence. Sam and Jerimiah stumbled over each other with weak protests of “knowing it was there the whole time and just wanting to make me feel good.” And then all smarminess was replaced by reluctant acceptance.
I am thankful for that experience. Through the years it has given me the ability to level any smugness on Jerimiah’s part with a single word.
haver (verb): to dither, to talk nonsense; babble