Saturday, January 26, 2013

Insomnia...Sort Of

It's not so much that I have insomnia. It's more about the fact that I can't find the time to sleep, but paradoxically I can find time to play Scrabble. This brings me to the recent revelation I experienced, one night around three in the morning: I'm really terrible at Scrabble. 

It bothers me to the point of distraction...and that brings us full circle to my sort-of insomnia. 

She Was a Scrabble Queen...

So I got this email inviting me to download a Scrabble app. I have a pretty high-grade app addiction, so I couldn't click the link fast enough to start the download. And besides, Scrabble? Of course I'll play Scrabble with you. I'm a writer. I rule at Scrabble. If being a professional wordsmith is good for anything, it ought to darn well be playing Scrabble.

It was with this very superior attitude that I loaded up the app and confidently entered into a game with the person who invited me. And because I am so superior, I wasn't even about to stop there. Why should I battle just one challenger, when words are my stock and trade? One opponent? Ha! You better bring more than a couple of guys to take me down.

So I went ahead and started up 5 different games. Yeah, that's right: my confidence was sky-high. Not only am I a marvel of app-juggling, I'm a pretty intense gamer when I have the time to focus on it. And I know words. So bring it on!

You can imagine what happened next. I began to lose. By a lot. I pit myself against multiple challengers, and I'm more than a little humiliated to admit to you today that I have won a single Scrabble game on my new app to date. Yes, just one game.

It bears mentioning that I downloaded it a week ago.Not only did I lose to the person who invited me to the game, I've lost to multiple random app-users who I like to pretend are J.K. Rowling, James Patterson and another half-dozen authors I admire...but it's much more like they are all in the seventh grade.

So naturally I have been making myself crazy playing Scrabble. Some of my games last for days, and turns may take up to 14 hours before I make a move. No, it's not because I'm studying the board for that long. I've had to set limits on myself, so now I only check the games when I'm caught up on my Tweets, my mail, my forums and the other stuff on my list. It might take 14 hours before I manage all of that in any given day, so that's why.

Of course, it doesn't help that when I do go to make a move, I check every single word in the dictionary and spend plenty of time mumbling to myself in frustration and dismay. The swearing takes up an excessive amount of time. It's unfortunate they can't be used as viable Scrabble words. Then I would rule at the game.

It's been a bit of a bizarre week, I'll admit. I had the mistaken idea that taking random Scrabble breaks throughout my day would prove to be a fun experience, a stress-relieving enterprise. Because I might work for 14 hours without taking a deep breath, this seemed like a perfectly reasonable course of action to pursue. Little did I know I would end up in a confidence-shattering competition with word masters who have gone into the hills of the Himalayas to study the most obscure words ever invented in language...or a pack of schoolchildren with stunningly vast vocabularies. I can't decide.

To put it a bit more simply, the Scrabble didn't help me relax, have fun or relieve any stress. It helped me miss more sleep, as I found myself lying in bed at the end of the day trying to find out if "qi" is an acceptable word (it is). If anything it's compounded my stress, as I have now fallen behind in my newly re-affirmed reviewing schedule. The tale I'm embroiled in now is a very intriguing blend of fantasy and mystery. I'll write a full review if I can stop staring at the Scrabble board long enough to finish it, and I'm making no promises. I'll out-word Bobstar if it's the last thing I ever do. 

Because I'm a writer, darn it...and doesn't that mean I ought to be amazing at Scrabble? I'm going to go sleep on that question as 10-point letters dance by in my nightmares tauntingly. I leave you with this piece of advice: if you decide to play Scrabble online, hope that you'll end up playing against me.

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  1. I play Facebook Scrabble, and real Scrabble, against Hubby. He wins more than I do - and I ask the same question about being a writer. Some people just get lucky letters!

  2. I think it's because I don't play the board very well. I don't use the triples and doubles well enough. Lost a few more games last night!