Lord Mantle: I like Francis Bacon.
Me: Oh I don’t, he gives me the eebeegeebys. If I was to write a critique of his work, or even a thesis entitled The Artistic Merits of Francis Bacon, that would be exactly what I would say, “he gives me the eebeegeebys”. Except I am not sure how to spell it.
Lord Mantle: E E B E E G E E B E E ‘ S
Lady Mantle and Myself in unison: There is no apostrophe!
Lord Mantle: Yes there is, by golly!
Lady Mantle replied alone. This could quite easily escalate into one of their marital ding dongs which general end in a very messy cow pat flinging shoot-out. For this reason, and not wanting to get between them if such a thing should happen, I thought it sensible to hold stum: Definitely not, it doesn’t have anything belonging to it so consequently it doesn’t need one.
Me, before Lord Mantle could reply, trying to divert attention from the dangerous apostrophe: I wonder if it ends in Y.
Lord Mantle who is easily sidetracked: Yes, Y ‘ S that would work
Me, unconvinced and cowardly: Perhaps ……….
Lady Mantle takes deep breath and starts making strange whimpering noises whilst pawing the ground.
Me: Shall we do some work now?
Post event note: According to the Collins English Dictionary the word is spelt heebie-jeebies, and means a state of nervousness or jitters. It was first used by the American cartoonist W. B. De Beck (1890-1942) in his comic strip Barney Google.
We weren’t even close. But there is definitely no apostrophe.