Monday, August 1, 2011

Hard Scrabble - Wrinkled Brows

Wrinkled Brows:  A Monday series on a word or quote of interest (perhaps only to me).

 Its a word, its a game, its SCRABBLE! 

Scrabble:     –verb (used with object)
to scratch or scrape, as with claws or hands.
to grapple or struggle with 
to scrawl; scribble.                    
Phrase - "a hard scrabble life" meaning to scrounge around for a little of this and that, always with insufficient resources.  (Crud, now that is prophetic.  See pitiful tale below.)

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So it is Sunday evening and my  grown son, K., says to me, "Mom, what have you got on your agenda this evening?"

I reply, "Well, I was thinking of going out for a little line dancing and then knocking back a few mohitos."

You have to know the context for this conversation.  K. is bedfast for two or three months, following a tough surgery.  He cannot leave the bed - at all - 24/7.  It is a tough gig.

I'm his mom, and his 24/7 caregiver, and glad to do it. Nevertheless, asking me what I have on my agenda is a bit of a moot point at the moment.  Still, I suspect an ulterior motive and he is not long in revealing it.

"So if you are sober enough to spell, after the mohitos, do you want to play some Scrabble?"

Ah ha!  Now we are coming to the real issue here.  The gauntlet is thrown, the die is cast, and the Scrabble tiles are DOWN!  Bring it on, big boy.

We quickly review the rules (our family rules - not those nonsensical suggestions on the inside of the box lid), agree on how disputes will be handled, and like two prize fighters coming to the center of the ring for their instructions, we touch gloves in a gesture of respect and draw for who goes first.  The game is afoot.

I draw an F and place it down with some confidence.  After all, out of 26 letters, there are only five higher than this.  Take that, my eyes tell him with a withering glance.

Rats!  The kid pulls out an A and lays it down with a smirk that just begs to be wiped off his face, like I used to scrub it when he was four.

So he comes out of the gate with a five letter word, scores nicely and lays back.  I am looking at the possibility of using all seven tiles, nailing a 50 point bonus and putting him on the run from the get go.  I miss by one letter, but still six letters on the opening shot isn't too bad.

He responds with "Zero" putting the Z on a double word square, scoring thirty-four points and putting me clearly on the defensive.

Reeling from this right jab, I come back with a left hook, snapping down "Steins" and retire to my corner, pleased with myself.

He grins and uses the S on the end of "Steins" to engineer a stunning triple letter score placing "Beast" crosswise on the bottom of that word.

And so it goes, back and forth, feinting, jabbing, scrabbling around for a U when that dratted Q shows up on your rack.  He is pulling ahead now, scoring 5 to 10 points more than I do on 3 out of 4 plays.  He's up 30 then 50, oh no, he is now punching with real momentum (and where, I ask you, are those mohitos when you need one?).  I am staggering against the ropes like a drunken sailor, and I haven't even had the pleasure of shore leave.

His grin is getting wider, my frown is getting deeper, and the blows just keep coming.  I will spare the reader being dragged through the entire sad match.  Suffice it to say that I am probably developing cauliflower ear from listening to him crow.

When the game ended, I was bleeding from both eyes, and he was grinning from ear to ear.  He is crowing, while I am coughing up the phlegm of defeat.  Disgusting.

As we put the pieces back into the box, he picks up the score sheet and begins to review the pattern of play throughout the game.

"Oh, come on", I remonstrate.  "Now you are going to analyze my demise?"  He says he is just going to do a little statistical analysis on the scoring pattern in preparation for our re-match TBD very soon.

I respond haughtily that I have better things to do with my time - like reading the dictionary!  We have decided that we will keep track of both game wins and losses, and total scores each.

It is going to be a marathon, not a sprint.  Kind of like this thing he and I are doing over these next few months. Thank goodness, we are in it together.  Otherwise, it might get a little tedious.  :)

Hope your day is a triple-word score kind of day! Until next time ...Marsha


  1. The competition sounds fierce. I like your way with words. In bed for a month...that sounds grim for both of you.

  2. It sounds like you had a most interesting game night. I haven't played scrabble in years. Probably because my wife always beats me! :-)

    God bless and have a great week :-)


  3. I like to play Scrabble, some days I'm good, other days I suck - it's feast or famine, all or nothing... Life really isn't fair, is it? (((HUGS))) Glad you are there for your son, but it must be very difficult on the both of you.

    BTW, the next game is gonna be yours, I just know it! ;-)