Anybody know any good two-letter words?I make my living with words. You'd never know it by the way I play Scrabble.
By: Monica Isley, Lake County News Chronicle
I make my living with words. You'd never know it by the way I play Scrabble.
Or maybe I should say, by the way I habitually lose at Scrabble. And no one is more surprised at that fact than I am.
I've always had a hard time getting people to play with me. They seemed to think it was like challenging the Trout Whisperer to a fishing contest--they wouldn't stand a chance. People figure the same thing about playing Scrabble with a writer.
I remember the looks I'd get whenever I'd drag the board out. "Yeah right!" those rolling eyes said.
Now that I think of it, that's probably why I'm such a crummy player. Everybody passed me up as an opponent. I haven't had enough practice.
In fact, that's what my current opponent says. Yep, I finally found someone to play with. We have an online game going all the time. Whenever one of us makes a move, the other one gets an email advising him of it.
So now, I can play over and over again. And so far, I've lost over and over again. Correction. I've won ONE game. You'd think I'd be embarrassed to admit that. Instead, it's come to be downright hilarious. He advises me to be patient, that I'll get better with time. He's saying that to a writer. It's enough to make a wordsmith cry.
We have sort of an unspoken rule. We don't talk about the game in regular emails. On the online board site, there's a spot for a message after each move. There, we might gripe about the lousy batch of letters we got, or complain good humoredly (he thinks!) that the other took the spot we'd planned to use. Mostly, we just exchange greetings.
If we happen to be talking on the phone, we don't mention it there, either. Neither of us knows what the other is saying offline. OK, to be frank, it's usually me who's muttering and complaining and gnashing my teeth at every new word he lays down. The further we get into the game, the behinder I get.
I mean, who knew that "ka" is a word? Or "aa"? He knows all those clever little two-letter words that most of us have never heard and certainly have never used in normal conversation. He tells me he learned them playing on his Palm Pilot. Could that be considered an unfair advantage?
I'm learning, though. I put up "oxid" and got a nice score out of that. And "grinch." And "suq." (I hate to tell you what my spell-check thinks of all of those.)
I still lose, though, and I've decided it's because Scrabble involves way more strategy than I'm good at. Some of it is luck, of course; I have no control over what letters I get. And it's not my fault that I always seem to have only six letters for those bonus-scoring seven-letter words.
But there's strategy involved in where you put the letters—or don't put them. I've set up my opponent for those triple-word scores more times than I care to think about. You can play offensively or defensively. I'm still trying to decide which is best.
Strategy makes me nervous. I like games where you think about just one move at a time. I used to think Scrabble was one of those games. I don't think that any more.
Still, I can't resist the darn game. Every time I've been thoroughly trounced, and I get a message saying, "You wanna play again?" I can't say no. I keep thinking that maybe THIS time I'll win. Just recently, I was ahead the whole game—until he got a seven-letter, triple-score word and blew me out of the water.
He had to wait until the last minute, though. I choose to call that progress. I refuse to give up on this. It feels like my wordsmith reputation is riding on it.