Alienist Litanies

My husband’s obsession with anagramming became apparent early on in our relationship. We were at Pier One, shopping for placemats. (I should say that I was shopping for placemats—Marty has no interest in them one way or another.) As I fingered a thick silk burgundy dinner napkin, I noticed Marty leaning over a display of scented candles, intently reading the little promotional blurb.

How romantic, I thought, envisioning Marty splurging on a trio of Ginger Peach pillars, or maybe Island Orchard, or even Citrus Cilantro. My fantasies leapt into the realm of the truly improbable as I imagined Marty cooking up a romantic dinner for two: cognac shrimp with buerre blanc sauce, orange fennel salad, and fresh strawberries with cream for dessert.

“Hey Daiva,” he yelled across the store. “Look at this. Neroli candles! Neroli is a Scrabble high-probability six-to-make-seven stem.”

I wavered between pretending not to know who this person was and walking up to him and shouting “Stop this! Stop this right now.”

Before I could do either, he continued: “Neroli with a blank has eight anagrams. Proline, alienor, aileron, loriner, retinol, loonier, nerolis, eloiner.”

Soon after the neroli incident, Marty announced that he had a little romantic surprise for me. I imagined a box of Godiva chocolates or a bouquet of bright pink tulips or maybe even some jewelry.

“I’ve anagrammed your name!” Marty exclaimed with pride. “Your first and last name. There are several variants of Daiva Markelis, of course, but my favorite is Avid Sailmaker.”

I don’t know what he expected from me—a huge kiss, a squeal of delight, a gold star—but all I said was “I’ve never gone sailing.”

Occasionally Marty tells people my name anagrams into Avid Sailmaker. Sometimes these people are perfect strangers. One of my fears is that one day Marty will just skip the “This is Daiva” and go right to “This is my wife, Avid Sailmaker.”

An even greater fear is that if I die first, my tombstone will read: “Here lies Avid Sailmaker. RIP.”

I was thinking of anagrams today because of Justin Bieber, who posted on his Instagram account that he was lingse. Highly intelligent fans figured out that lingse anagrams into single. The brouhaha brought on by The Bieberizer’s announcement almost eclipsed coverage of Hurricane Sandy.  Well, not really. I look at the Entertainment section of my MSN homepage once in a while in order to, well, you know, keep up with the young people.

I wonder whether Selena Gomez feels a sense of ferlie?


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