Posts Tagged ‘Scrabble’

Scrabble Babble

July 22, 2014

Thursday July 17th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

I think I am finally ready for old age – that or a long prison term. I have found the activity that is going to keep my brain occupied for the rest of my days on this out of control little planet. I’m hooked for life, and if there’s a rehab program I don’t want to participate. “It” is online Scrabble.

I have loved words and word games since my earliest memory. My grandfather would work on the daily crossword puzzle in the newspaper, and as I got older I would help – or at least make an effort. I didn’t solve many clues at first, but in time I got better and learned to enjoy the process.

Gramps never played Scrabble, but I had an uncle that introduced me to it at a young age albeit under unusual circumstances. My wacky aunt would always want to play, and she was a piece of work to say the least. She eventually caused us to bend the rules, and allow for trading of letters.

I’m sure that’s not the first time additional homemade rules have been implemented to a board game, but even that didn’t help my Aunt Charlene. She would always find a way to get into a big argument with my uncle, and it put everybody on edge. Still, I grew to adore the game anyway.

I had never heard of a Scrabble club before I moved to Lansing, MI in 1990 to take my first job in radio, but I was fascinated with the idea. The club met on Saturday mornings, with most of the members being women quite a bit older than me. I was 26 then, and they saw me as fresh meat.

They would bring assorted home baked goodies to share with the group, and many would bring craft projects to knit or crochet during the games. On the surface they didn’t look like a school of bloodthirsty sharks, but then I’d sit down and get shredded flesh handed to me week after week.

Wow, were they cold blooded. They would beat me like Ike Turner beat Tina, and never break a sweat. They’d keep on knitting and crocheting, and the grandmotherly smile would never leave their face for a second. Try as I might, I don’t think I ever won even one game. They crushed me.

I only went a few times, but I had a fresh respect for how much I needed to learn and how good someone could get at a game I thought I was already good at. They were on a level I hadn’t even conceived of, but it also made me want to improve. I have played whenever I could since then.

I can’t believe it took me this long to discover there was an entire online community of players, but I have now become one of them. I am hooked. It’s only been a couple of months, but I can’t see myself ever getting sick of playing. I do it whenever it’s convenient, and I don’t have to play an entire game if I don’t want to. But if I do, I can play as many games as I want at a single time.

Just like with the Scrabble club in Lansing, at first I was finding myself getting torched with an alarming degree of regularity. It was discouraging, but I knew I’d get better if I hung in there and that’s what I’ve done. Now I’m starting to win games regularly, and I can feel myself improving.

My two most regular opponents have been Bill Gorgo and Kristie Dickinson. They are terrific players that consistently kicked me around for weeks, but now I’m starting to win a few and they don’t like it. It’s a super challenge, and I’m never bored. I have found my passion for the future.

Anybody want to play Scrabble? I'm hooked for life.

Anybody want to play Scrabble? I’m hooked.

A Future Addiction

May 7, 2014

Monday May 5th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

The last thing I need is another time sucking vampire in my life, but said life rarely if ever lets me have even a little say in much of anything. I can see myself hopelessly falling farther behind in my pursuits more than I already am, and on one hand it scares me to death. On the other, I am thrilled to have discovered online Scrabble through Facebook. I can’t believe I hadn’t played it.

I have long said there are just too many things to do in the 21st Century, and I’m not sure if it’s good or bad. It’s the most amazing time in recorded history while simultaneously being the most frightening. Things are evolving so fast, I don’t know who can keep up. I’ve been lost for years.

Revolutionizing gadgets, gizmos and electronic miracle machines come out seemingly by the day, and most of them are absolutely mind blowing. I have enough to do every day struggling to avoid sleeping under a freeway bridge that I haven’t let myself get sucked up in the technology that only BILLIONS of others sharing this planet use every single day. I am borderline Amish.

I resisted for years to even get a cell phone, but now I can’t live without it. Even though I know the government knows where I am at all times, the advantages far outweigh that pesky little fact. I’m not involved in any criminal activities, so they’re not going to see much other than poverty.

How many billion trillion dollars are spent on video games in modern times? I wouldn’t hazard a guess, but it’s a lot more than kids in my generation spent on baseballs, gloves and bats. I know I’m officially the last of the old school generations, but things really were different when I was a kid. Who can say if it was better without all these George Jetson toys or not? But it is different.

I have loved Scrabble since I was old enough to know what it was. I didn’t have many to play it with then so usually it was my Uncle Dave aka “Hogie” and his wife Charlene aka “Mack”. How the nicknames “Hogie” and “Mack” derived from “David” and “Charlene” is still a family secret. They’re all dead, so nobody is going to be giving it up any time soon. You’ll have to believe me.

“Auntie Mack” as she was known was a wacky cracker from my earliest memory. She was out there way past Uranus and drifting into uncharted space territory. She was one of those that had a better relationship with dogs and cats than with people. When we played Scrabble I would smoke her like a picnic ham from about age twelve on, and she would think I was trying to show her up.

I wasn’t trying to show anybody up. I just loved playing the game, and I wanted to play against the best competition possible. I didn’t care if I lost, I just loved the challenge. Scrabble was made for people like me, as were crossword puzzles. I have loved them all my life, and can’t see losing interest now. It’s probably what will carry me through my pudding years if I hold out that long.

It eventually becomes an issue with any woman I happen to be interested in. If she doesn’t like Scrabble or at least crossword puzzles I’m in for a lonely ride. It keeps the brain sharp, and it’s a lot of fun to compete with someone that’s really good. That’s part of it too. Playing someone just so-so isn’t fun either. I want it to be a challenge for both of us, and it’s tricky to find that person.

There’s a woman I’ve known for a few years who lives in Michigan, and I saw her for lunch on Saturday when I was in the area. She asked me if I liked Scrabble and she had my full attention. I told her I did, and she asked if I wanted to play on line. I had no idea one could, and I’m in it up to my triple word score. I don’t need this distraction, but then again I totally do. I love it already.

Booze? Cocaine? Not interested. Scrabble? Call the Betty Ford Clinic.

Booze? Cocaine? Not interested. Scrabble? Call the Betty Ford Clinic. I’m hooked for life.

Crossword puzzles are my thing as well - but only the hardest ones. I like it when they make me sweat.

Crossword puzzles are my thing as well – but only the hardest ones. I love it when they make my brain sweat.