It’s a fact: I will do just about anything if my kids suggest we spend time together. It’s very important that you never share that information, as it’s hard to keep that stern, authoritarian mojo going when they really know that lurking just under that gruff exterior is the same dignity the dog demonstrates when you ask if he wants to go in the car.
So when my daughter texted me from college asking if I wanted to play Words With Friends, I didn’t know much about it except for the part where Alec Baldwin got kicked off a plane because he wouldn’t or couldn’t stop playing, but hecktotheyeah! I want to play if Abby wants to play.
What it is, is Scrabble on my phone. In a variant of the old “chess-by-mail” genre, I play a word and then wait for you to beat my self-confidence into the ground, along with my score by lighting me up for (and I am not making this up) 133 points with a carefully-placed “WALLOPING.”
And since it’s so much fun playing one game, it made perfect sense to keep accepting invites so now I have no fewer than 10 “DISCRETE” games going on. It took me awhile before I realized that I may have all these invites because word has no doubt spread that I am a Scrabble “PATSY.”
Because I have discovered to my “CHAGRIN” that I am really, really lousy at this game.
I know the precise word to use at the perfect time to convey the exact tone in any setting, but give me a tray of seven vowels I’m, well, “GLACIATED,” as I try to fit that particular mishmash into the “MIASMA” on the board. Which is a great word to play until some wiseacre smacks an “UN” on the front and “TIC” on the back and tags me for 178 big ones.
Last night I wound up with four A’s, two I’s, and an E. What do you do with seven vowels other than belt out a chorus of “Old McDonald?” Answer: you find a lonely Q on the board and throw down an I to make “QI” for 33 points.
Learned the hard way: you can also find a lonely Z at the top of the board and play one of those A’s with it on one of those fiendish tripleword squares to make the word “ZA” for 64 points. There’s no sense trying to question if “ZA” is a word, because if WWF allows it, it’s a word. Gone are the days of word warriors glaring over the tops of their Funk & Wagnalls (“ZA” is either slang for “pizza” or a noun meaning the 11th word of the Arabic alphabet. There’s nothing wrong with my trusty Merriam-Webster at home.)
Now there’s another tray full of consonants waiting for me. What the heck do you do with CMXQHJT? You keep jamming that Q in front of every vowel you can find until the game quits telling you that Q is not an acceptable word, that’s what you do.
So if you want a shot at a “FACILE” victory, look me up on WWF under “mominterrupted.” My skills may be “EXECRABLE,” but my attitude is “FERVENT.”
• Ahwatukee Foothills resident Elizabeth Evans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her column appears monthly.