Saturday, December 29, 2007

Sometimes I cheat at scrabble

I really can't help myself. It's true. A terrible affliction. I hate to lose. I am a terrible, horrible, no good, sore loserpants. But it is only at Scrabble that I cheat. I never cheat at any other game. In fact, I won't even cheat to lose on purpose for my kids as I believe learning to gracefully lose is an important learning lesson. One that I apparently never learned well myself.

For some reason, the idea of losing at Scrabble is unacceptable to me. The little devil pops up at my ear and whispers "He is beating you and the last word he placed on the board was 'fun?' You call yourself a writer? A voracious reader? A brilliant legal mind? He barely reads! The last thing he read for fun was a fishing magazine at Barnes and Nobles which he was too cheap to even purchase. He refuses to see foreign movies because he doesn't like reading subtitles. You are going to let HIM beat you at scrabble?" I argue back, "Listen, I can't help it that all I have are a series of 'I's and 'E's. What the heck am I supposed to do with that? Even Dickens couldn't come with a word worth more than 4 points with the crap I keep getting!" But even the little angel on the otherside of me shakes his head and says, "Listen, you need to step up your game before I smack you silly. Now I need to take a little break, but when I get back, I better not hear you've lost again..."

At this point, it's not like I have a choice anymore, I must cheat, and cheat I will. Strategically holding the bag so the light hits the letters just right, I spy a Z and slyly pick it up along with a few 'O's and 'S's and a very fortunate blank. Utilizing a carelessly opened triple word score box, I crow elatedly over a well placed "Zooms" adding an 'S' to the end of his "fun." As I gloat openly and outrageously at my triple word score, HE coughs carefully and asks me, "Did you cheat?" I look him in the eye ready to angrily deny it and then deflate like a flattened whoopie cushion. I cannot lie to him. He knows me too well. Not because I can't lie, although I do not consider what I do lying, more of a strategic manipulation of certain facts and truths to my benefit, but never outright lies. It is part of the aresenal of a good lawyer. You admit only certain facts, omit others and speak vaguely on all other points. Is this lying? Perhaps that is a topic for another post. For now, I sullenly nod and cross off all my illgotten points. I am losing again. Oh and funs is apparently not a word, which he so graciously pointed out to me. I was not having funs.

Forced to return my purloined tiles, I instead exchange my original crappy tiles for even shittier ones. Now along with all my 'I's, I have only 'U's and 'O's. Apparently for this round of Scrabble, I am to be the Queen of Loose Vowels. As I lose the game 98 to 50 points, I throw a little temper tantrum and kick the board over as I blame everything on the crappy tiles I received. He looks over at the sulky angry brat I've become and asks me if I want a rematch. And I sulk a little longer but then finally agree but ask to go first. He graciously concedes. Viciously shaking the little grey bag, I reach in (without cheating) for my first seven tiles. 'I's. Why did it have to be 'I's? I may have to cheat again. But this time, I hope he doesn't catch me.

27 comments:

Lisa said...

That's too funny! But to tell the truth, Scrabble does something weird and competitive to me too ;)

Stephen Parrish said...

Try playing this version of the game: instead of drawing tiles randomly, lay out all the tiles, face up, at the beginning of the game. Players take turns selecting each of their seven tiles, and they get to choose their own replacement tiles too.

Nobody gets screwed by bad letters; all the letters you have are ones you chose yourself. Just like when you cheat, only legal!

Of course, your opponent who can't even read subtitles has the same advantage as you, and you can no longer blame your losses on the luck of the draw.

pacatrue said...

Now I know how you are getting a good score on our Bowl Picks.

Hotwire said...

perhpas you should switch to Boggle...!

Wayne said...

I don't cheat at scrabble. But, sometimes when I'm playing Backgammon online, and I'm losing, I simply bail out oif the game and find a weaker opponent. Don't tell anyone, please.

Happy New Year!

Mary Witzl said...

You are a brave woman, and an honest one too.

My husband's favorite story is how his grandmother, a smoking, gambling, whisky-drinking character, taught him to play cards. One day he caught her cheating at cribbage, at which point she knew he was an adult and began to treat him accordingly. She told him that learning how to cheat well was very important. The fact that he'd finally caught her showed how mature he was becoming -- a real rite of passage.

Why is it so many men have trouble with subtitles? I've met at least a dozen very bright, perfectly capable men who complain that reading subtitles is exhausting. My husband doesn't think there is anything strange about that at all, which just goes to show you.

SmartlikeStreetcar said...

This story made me laugh out loud. Of course, with two writers in the house, when we play Scrabble, the rivalry is intense... And I wish that I could figure out a way to cheat without getting caught...

I usually lose.

moonrat said...

"funs," eh?

Charles Gramlich said...

LOL. Good one. Lana takes scrabble seriously like this, and I think I've only ever won one game from her. She resumed speaking to me within 48 hours, though.

Travis Erwin said...

There is no I in team or cheat but there is one in deceit.

And is funs a word. If so give me a sentence for funs. My wife refuses to play scrabble with me so I am envious of you.

Merry Jelinek said...

What a brave, honest lawyer you are!!! I feel odd putting those words together in a sentence, but there you go.

I cheat all the time with my husband, though I'm actually throwing the game. He gets very irked if I win too many matches and very babyish about it. I hardly ever play cards with him anymore because it's no fun to throw and he's no fun to beat, either. The worst though, was shooting pool. To this day, he thinks I can't play. Actually, I was a very good player in my early twenties enough so that people would ask me to play on their team if there was money on a game... When hubby and I were first dating, he was so competitive about it that I threw the game miserabley... I mean, seriously, a blind amputee with a spastic colon could have shot better stick than I was doing that night. I've never played with him since...

Come to think of it, I'd rather need to win than feel obligated to lose... Go Ello!

Ello said...

Somehow I forgot to mention in my little post that he did challenge "funs" as a word. But, you know, since I am from New York, I believe I can put an 's' after anything. I was going to expand to include all the times he has challenged me for creative words but I thought the post would get too long!

Church Lady said...

Great story!
My husband always wins because he is a master at the 3-letter words. That's how I came up with my post for 'Qat' a few weeks ago. I lost to that word once. With the 'q' on a triple, I challenged. It was the end for me.

I love scrabble. I've never cheated, but now I am suspicious of hubby and those malicious little words he knows.

;-)

Jennifer L. Griffith said...

I started playing scrabble with friends on a weekly basis a few years ago, and I fell in love with the game. We haven't played in a while but I sure do like it.

I hope you are feeling 100% better and ready for an exceptional 2008!

The Anti-Wife said...

If you're going to cheat, you can't cave the first time someone questions you. You have to become indignent.

"Cheat? How dare you suggest I'd cheat at a simple game like Scrabble! I'm a well educated lawyer for God's sake. Why would I need to cheat?"

Next time stick to your guns.

You may have hurt your case with funs though.

Patti said...

i cheat at clue...it's a sickness.

March to the Sea said...

happy new year ello..all the best in 2008.

My littlest cheats at Sorry like crazy. Only kid I know that can go from the "start" to the chimmney when drawing a 10 or more...

Akasha Savage said...

I am a really bad loser so I cheat at Scrabble too! But Monopoly is The One. I hate losing at Monopoly...all that money taken from my grasp. Isn't it just soooo satisfying knocking that board, with a hard resounding whack, into the air. I can see the houses and hotels flying through space now!

Melissa Marsh said...

Hubby and I have a sort of battle going on with our Scrabble games. He knows how to utilize the Triple Word Score block every time. Drives me insane. I never think I'm a competitive person until it comes to the Evil Scrabble game. Hubby usually beats me, too. :-)

jason evans said...

He might have a camera on you. Or maybe he should. ;)

Beth said...

As a once "addicted to Scrabble" girl, I found this absolutely hilarious. I've never cheated, but the loose vowels. I remember that agony!

Patti said...

happy new year girl!

Danette Haworth said...

Ello,
Secretly buy a Scrabble dictionary and study the weird words.

Vesper said...

Happy New Year, Ello!
All the best to you and your loved ones!

Carleen Brice said...

Ah, there's nothing worse than being a writer and a sucky Scrabble player--I know! I always come in last! But I chalk it up to my writerly mind not being visual, ie I can't look at random letters and make them into words, people! No, what writers do is take words and make them into art! If you want, you may use this excuse the next time you play Scrabble. :)

Sarah Hina said...

Honestly?

I can no longer play Scrabble. It's a more tension filled experience than public speaking for me. My husband hates playing with me, too.

I think I better stick with Candyland.

Lana Gramlich said...

My friends & I used to play phonetic Scrabble for a break once in a while. I still won all the time (my "highest per tile average" strategy rarely fails, but then again, I'm typically hardcore about my Scrabble.