Thursday, June 19, 2008

Who's this Scottish Papa?

Pa, we must stress, does not have red hair.

Neither has he ever worn a kilt or played the bagpipes - though he did do a bit of hiking in the Scottish Highlands once upon a time.

All this is relevant, in case you were wondering, because Pa has recently found himself speaking to Sonny in a faux Scottish accent. He's at a loss to explain it, but when he's about to bathe our son, he'll say: "Och, time fer a wee wetting, me bairn.'' Or he'll hoist Sonny to show him something, and go: "Aye, that's a bonny field of grass yonder."

No one, it must be said, is more stumped about this than Pa, who has previously shown no tendencies towards, and definitely no aptitude for, things Hibernian. His speech patterns heretofore (he's doing the typing here, and whacking especially firmly at the keys) were the epitome of normalcy.

Speaking pidgin Scots is not normal.

A paranormal explanation would invoke possession, but we reject this out of hand. Not because we laugh at the notion of spirits, by the way, but because Pa's Scots accent is so appalling no self-respecting ghost would come within miles of it. Anybody with a plausible account involving, say, a repressed wish to be William Wallace is welcome to write in. At the same time, after our initial surprise, we're not much bothered any more: We're figuring it's probably akin to catching an exotic strain of the flu, and that it should pass of its own accord.

In the meantime, the accent seems to hold Sonny's attention remarkably well (maybe the incongruity is evident even to eight-week-olds) and even has a soothing effect. The rhythms are not unpleasant, the whole situation is worth the odd chuckle and no one seems to the worse off for it.

Why look a gift horse in the mouth - or Highland pony, for that matter?