John Holgate


The Swiss author Max Frisch once observed 'The truth is the best camouflage - nobody believes it'. Recently at a suburban Scrabble club meeting the truth of that observation was brought home to me. I opened my game against a neophytic player with AI. 'Hang on a tick' he exclaimed. 'What does that mean?' 'It's the three-toed Brazilian sloth.' By way of demonstration I jumped up and cavorted about the room yelling 'Ah-ee, ah-ee, ah-ee', beating my chest and scratching my armpits like an ai might do. My opponent folded his arms in disbelief. 'Yeah right. As if. I happen to know that 'ai' is the first person singular form of the French verb avoir 'to have'. That makes it a foreign word. Challenge!'