Wednesday, February 29, 2012


"the scrabble tournament is held in the crazy horse saloon, which is decorated in an english version of a western theme. the men's bathroom is marked BRAVES. I buy my 1st irish whiskey of the morning at the young dudes bad and look around the room, which is packed with 100 little card tables, each of which is equipped with 2, 3, or 4 spindly folding chairs with seats made of hospital-green plastic. some damaged person has assembled tiny darly little silver pie tins, with diameters equaling no more than 3 inches, each containing a wizened fruit pie, into perfect geometric stacks on dozens of tables where there aren't any people.

"...I secretly hate scrabble, for the simple reason that anyone hates scrabble, which is that I am bad at it, and because words aren't a game. a single word can destroy a person's soul, his faith in humanity, and other serious assets. no one who understands the exigencies inherent in language wants to waste words on a scrabble board.

"...the impact of tile on tile is muffled in a way that seems to suggest something fucked up is happening inside the bag. good letters are being exchanged for bad...I feel like every time I start to love rock and roll again my favorite singer kills himself, or else I run into some...asshole wearing black-rimmed glasses and a t-shirt that reads THIS WAS SUPPOSED TO BE THE FUTURE."

--from "letter from minehead: underacheivers please try harder: indie rock reunites on the english coast" by david samuels in the may 2011 issue of harper's magazine

I love to play scrabble. every night before we go to sleep my wife and I play at least a few hands of a game. we play a variation app on our cellphones called "wordsmith" the 4 nights a week she's staying in a little room in the center of the hub while doing her clinical experience. in our 20+ years of marriage we've owned and played multiple versions of the game, from the original board game to a special travel version to the game she downloaded to her palm pilot some years ago (and that we're likely to replace soon since the palm is dying the slow, merciless death that electronics are heir to) that we've found works best. for me, it's somewhat like an easier version of crossword puzzles cuz I don't have to make connections beyond a single letter and the words I use tax only my vocabulary and not my knowledge.

but I also dig why some people don't like the game. it can be time-consuming (sometimes we play a speeded-up version in which each of us has only 30 seconds to play--I'm especially a timehogger when coming up with words) and it can be annoying and 1 can feel pissy when a particularly well-crafted game suddenly goes titsup at the acquisition of that bastard "q" tile.

still, I don't think there are too many games that have as intrinsic an appeal as scrabble. it's a good icebreaker and a good game to play while drinking beer (hard liquor might kill off too many braincells to make it worthwhile). I've never played it while smoking herb but I can imagine that, like a 2nd summit, it would help 1 loosen up and allow the words to flow more smoothly.

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