Not that kind of STD…
Some of my earliest memories of my parents have them quibbling over a scrabble board. They would both get feisty – tantrum throwing feisty, arguing and quitting games over challenged words feisty, promising to never play again feisty. But play again they always did, and my brother and I would delight in their playful squabbles. We would marvel at the fact that our otherwise very composed parents would go bananas over this game. Watching my mom study the dictionary ahead of time to find all the 2 and 3-letter words, and my dad’s grin as he placed yet another 8-letter word on the board on a triple word score box, or as he would jokingly refer to my mom as “khatar-nak” (diabolical) when she was “chappa-ing” him by even a few points, and her glee at the same, were some of the highlights of my childhood.
It’s no wonder then that my brother and I are scrabble freaks. A few years ago, while visiting him in med school, we played a game with some friends, the four of us trying to avoid the Super Bowl frenzy that had consumed everyone else. It was close, but I beat my brother by placing all my tiles on the board first hence subtracting the total of each players remaining tiles from their own score and adding the totals to mine (yes, that’s what the official rules say). I watched in not so secret amusement, because really, my brother is WAY better at this game than I am, and I was quite shocked at the outcome (shhhh don’t tell him I said this), as he proceeded to huff and puff and we had to find and read the rules before he grudgingly accepted defeat, and that reminded me so much of our parents. As the crowd trickled back and saw the board out someone asked, “who won?” When they found out it wasn’t my brother I could tell they were just a little bit delighted, as someone else remarked, “finally!” which just added to my mirth.
Over the years my parents have stopped playing as often as they once did. In Kenya, there were so few forms of other entertainment that board games had a place, now they watch videos on YouTube together. Recently my dad discovered Words With Friends and he plays it obsessively. However, he says not many people play more than a few games with him. I can’t imagine why being consistently thrashed by 300+ points would intimidate anyone. It is also a testament to my mom’s spirit and tenacity and sheer fight to keep trying to beat him all these years.
You could say scrabble runs in our collective veins.
So imagine my delight when i saw this Save The Date. If this was a game, I’d say they win hands down.