Tuesday, March 2, 2010

"Fender AH! Herring" part 1

I have a confession to make. Its a biggie. About half of the time, I have no idea what you're talking about. My hearing is fine (as far as I know) but I have trouble making out mumblings and/or I have trouble really paying attention sometimes.

I have a terrible habit that has been brought to my attention recently by my loving 17 yr. old son and his buddy. When I don't know what you're talking about, rather than embarrass us both with "What?", "I'm sorry, can you repeat that?" I ...laugh.

I have found that 80% of the time laughter is fairly appropriate in a conversation IF you give the right kind of laughter, depending on the speaker's voice inflection. For instance if I hear "blah, blah, (whisper) blah" then I will give a polite smile, nod and a gentle giggle. But if I hear "blah, blah, Green Elephant" I assume they've just told a wonderful (or awful, in this case) joke and I encourage them by responding with a hearty, agreeable guffaw. Most of the time everyone leaves happier (I think...)

"You have no idea what they just said, do you?" asks my loving son and his buddy.

I blush. I look for an escape route. There is none. "No. I have no idea."

Then there's the 20% when I am outright busted.

My daughter recently brought a young man home with her from college. His hometown is Scotland. Actually that would be his home country. He was truly Scottish. There was a small language barrier because of his rich Scottish brogue, but we got through it. (Ok. Honestly I understood about three words, but I didn't want him to be embarrassed so...I laughed! It was a jovial weekend!)

After two days of his visit we had formed a bond. Well, he ate my food and didn't complain and around here that's a bond.

On Sunday he looked at me and said "bessingcumlandin".

"uh, Oh, I thought. Okay, I'm gonna be honest with this guy. My son keeps calling me out so I'm gonna see this through."

"I'm sorry?"

"sanderis fleming."

"Where's my daughter? She's the interpreter and I don't know Scottish. Its obviously a Scottish phrase. Oh there she is...WATCHING ME...and Smirking! She knows I'm doomed. FINE! I will not give in."

"What was that?" I lean in closer and I listen but gooood.

"Fender AH! Herring!"

"It's a fish reference. What could he be saying about fish? Maybe if I repeat it back..."

"Claring the Bearing?" I ask slowly.

"Fender AH! Herring!"

"Forget it. You win! I can't do it! I can't ask again!" 

I threw my head back, ( I do that sometimes when I am absolutely clueless) "HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!"  
He's not laughing...at all.  I am so busted.

"Ha ha ha ha....(imagine getting softer)  I'm so sorry. I have no idea what you're saying."

"I know," that I understand. "I could tell by the blank look on your face," He says with perfect clarity yet still with the whole Scottish lilt that makes you want to go run through the heather on the hills (cheap Brigadoon reference).

I look at my daughter with desperate eyes and she says "Sharing is Caring."


"Mom, you were talking about not wanting to spread your germs around after you sneezed and he said ,'sharing is caring.'"

I looked at Bruce, the Scot, and said, "That's beautiful. Is that a Scottish proverb or something?"

"Nu ma'am. I joost made it oop," THEN he laughs.

Scots have a strange sense of humor.


  1. Wow. And all this time I just thought you thought I was REALLY funny. Next time you laugh at me, I'm goig to ask you to repeat what I just said!

  2. Great story! I have the same problem. I think I need to get my hearing checked though. It's weird, I hear the words close to what is being said. It's caused some strange conversations in our house. My kids think it's funny too! Stopping by from SITS!

  3. Oh, you amuse me. I laughed through this whole thing and I don't do that very often on blogs. I despise not being able to hear what people say. Two of my sons mumble and I go through life pretending to understand them.
    Came by from SITS to say hi.

  4. I'm crying and laughing at the same time. You are so very funny. I could picture this all happening.
    Thanks for stopping by today.
    Are you getting snow today in Millidgeville?
    I am in Rome,Ga and we are having a lot!
    Not sure what it will turn into though.
    Have a very blessed day!

  5. LMAO!! I can picture that & I might have even said some of the phrases out loud to see if I could figure it out. {I didn't.}

    I find myself tuning people out on the phone. And then realizing when I hang up that I have NO idea what they said. :-)

  6. hhaahahaaha. man. i love your stories. i could move in with you and have you tell me stories day and night. but i won't. not just yet, anyway.

  7. Funny. I have ADD when it comes to long conversations. There is a lot of nodding and smiling.

    Love your blog (I am nodding and smiling)

  8. Love the story, laughing right now! Wow, you are funny! I am now a fan/follower/stalker...hope you become one of mine as well...God bless and Happy Blogging!

  9. Something very similar to this happened to me a few years back when I met my friend Steven.

    He's from New Castle which is in the northern part of England. The entire British population will crucify me for putting it this way but it's the best description: his British accent had very heavy Scottish undertones. *ducks for flying rocks* They're snippy about those things.

    When he first started chatting with me and my friends we honestly couldn't understand him but were too embarrassed to ask him to repeat himself. So we'd just laugh OR just shrug our shoulders and say "I don't know". That gets awkward when he's asking you a question about yourself. Oops!

    Funny thing is, anytime I happen to talk to him on the phone I actually start to pick up his accent. Hmmm...

  10. I like when you give Jody a loud courtesy laugh during church. :)

  11. Anonymous, I'm a good pastor's wife like that.

  12. After experiencing ADD personally, this explains the distant deer in headlights you often give! LOL (laughing with you not at you!)

  13. Hi DWM!
    Just stopped by to say thanks for visiting my blog and commenting on my Henrietta Lacks post; by the way, I edited the post greatly, minimizing the horrors, AND I ran it by Emma, AND I did not use her real name; but thank you for your concern!
    This post was so funny, and I could picture myself in the same situation. I'm afraid I, too, have embarrassed myself more than once by simply not knowing what was said...and being too idiotic to ask.

  14. I don't think I will be able to sit in another waiting room again without thinking of this blog, at least I will have something to keep me laughing while I wait. Thanks for the laugh this morning.

  15. LMAO! That is hilarious - found you through SITS..I will definitely be back!! :D

  16. oh my gosh, i lived in scotland for 4 years and i am a pro at understanding scots...unless they're a taxi driver. scottish taxi drivers speak some sort of unknown, absurd language that can NEVER be understood, no matter where you're from! smiling and nodding was all i could ever do :)

    stopping by from sits and i'll be coming back for more!


"Thank you, and do come back now, ya heah?"
(No she didn't...yes she did.)