I’m the world’s worst Scrabble player.
Every time it’s my turn I see other players lose interest as they get ready for a long wait. I feel bad, so I stare intensely at my pieces trying desperately to conjure up a word longer than three letters or else suffer their complaints that I’m “really clogging up the board.” A couple minutes of silence will pass before somebody says “Hey, you know what this game should have? A time limit, ha ha ha ha ha!!!” And everybody laughs and smiles at me and I look up to grin and then stare back down at my letters quickly. I stare at those letters and stare hard. A few more minutes of silence will pass and then I look up, grimace slowly, and offer up one of my two classic lines:
- “Sorry guys, I’ve got like all vowels over here,” or
- “I’m really sorry. It’s like Consonant Central over here, guys. I’ll be just another minute unless Jgrfkll is a word.”
A couple people nod and smile at my lame joke, someone idly turns on the TV and starts flipping channels, and another will generally grab a section of the newspaper and head to the can. I frantically rearrange my letters over and over again, silently praying rebuke, jinxed, or fibula will appear on my little wooden tray by accident.
My nerves fraying, my heart drum-thumping, I’ll eventually put down a lame four-letter word like bill or lamp in an act of desperation. “Eight points,” I’ll whisper to the scorekeeper, while turning the board and nodding to the other players to move along.
… See, part of my problem is that I draw letters like j, z, or q at the beginning of the game and they end up haunting me all the way through. That big q is the worst of all. It holds its powerful 10 points over my head, just daring me to draw one of the four u‘s in the game so I can lay it down. I spell my letters out in arrangements like q_ick, q_ote, and q_iet, ready and waiting for a u at any time, but generally no dice, or at least no dice for a while. I got qat or I got nothing.
And so you see that’s why, in my books, there is no better Thing To Happen To You In A Boardgame than picking a q and a u at the same time in Scrabble. I say it beats building two hotels on Boardwalk in Monopoly or drawing a perfect brontosaurus in Pictionary during an All Play.
If I get that q and u together in Scrabble, then it’s all me all the time, baby. Doors open, and I quite quietly and quickly quash all quack queries from my competitors. And baby, you know how that makes me feel.
Illustration from: here