Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Scrabble With the Folks

I'm enjoying a week up in the Bay Area with my family. My itinerary includes lots of time hanging out with the family, running Citlalli around the backyard and spending evenings with my parents, Tom and Bunny.

Last night we played Scrabble after dinner- my mom was jonesing for a Scrabble game and felt excited to have a new partner. I'm not a big game player and lack that vicious competitive edge... well at least I thought I did!

The game started with me, flopping "bent" onto the board for 12 points. Whoopee.

My mom and dad kept the excitement going with such stellar words as "ant", "is", "am", and "bed". Not a big night for vocabulary building.

I don't know how, but I started getting a few triple word scores, and raked in 26 points for "zits", hitting double word score.

Mid-game score:
Nancy : 102
Bunny : 71
Tom: 70

"That darn Nancy, she's gonna smear us, Tom."

"Not quite yet", pipes in my dad as he settles his tiles onto the board.

"There ya' go", he pronounces, "KED".

"That is not a word Tom", protests Bunny. "I challenge it."

"Bunny, of course it's a word. 'KED'. What do you mean you've never heard 'ked'?"

She casts a doubtful glance my way. Oh no, now I have to get dragged into it.

"Nancy, have you ever heard of the word 'ked'?"

"Well, I know Ked shoes..."

"NO proper nouns, Tom! " slams Bunny.

As enjoyable as the exchange was, I really didn't want to sit and wait hours for my dad to find a new word so I voted that we allow "ked" and get on with it. Bunny rejected my obvious siding with my dad- "Nancy, he cheats! Don't let him get away with it!", but I wasn't really advocating, I just wanted to keep playing!

The game continued with my try at cheating by adding an "r" to "cage".

"Cager? That's not a word", Bunny says as she thumbs through her Official Scrabble Dictionary. "If it's not in this dictionary then it doesn't exist".

I justify: "A cager is someone who puts other people in a cage. Like a jailer puts someone in jail. I think it works."

Tom perks up. "Cager is a perfectly acceptable word, Bunny. Let her have it and put your word down."

So we went on and on like this, my score a good 30 points ahead of the folks. We were nearing the end of the game and I had to resort to adding an "s" to some words for lack of any other options.

Then it suddenly materialized on my little tile tray. I had an "x" worth 8 points, "v", "c", some real good ones. Enough vowels, an opening on the board- I had a killer word.

"OK", I warned, "I apologize but I'm about to smear you both and all I can say is thank you for investing in my education. Look at this as a compliment to your hard work and ..."

"Just put the word down!", they moaned.

"C-o-n-v-e-x. Convex- like a covex lens. Let's see, that's a triple letter score on the 'x', a double word score... That will be 57 points please."

They howled, they moaned, they felt the pain of defeat. I handled my victory with graciousness and
dignity. With hardly any tiles left in our hands, we ended the game with a jumble of letters making up definitions as we went along.

Tom invented "hajarped", modifying the existing "ajar".

Bunny daringly put the "q" she'd been holding onto and made up a bizarre word.

So it ended with lots of laughing and here I am, the next morning, looking at the score pad and marveling at that line under my name with the number 57 on it.

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