“She was the kind of girl who would have dated Lee Harvey Oswald in high school.” I remember that line very well, in fact, it was just last year that I tossed the tape of that episode of “Designing Women.” (Just so you don't leave and head for IMBD.com, it was "Dash Goff, the Writer")I loved that show. It was clever, amazingly well written for a TV sitcom, and those women said things out loud that I sometimes wish that I could say. You know, that perfect combination of words that would either solve the argument, or put that rude person in his place, or correctly convey my opinion without me sounding like a pompous ass. No, instead I end up stirring the pot, offending the boss, and making myself look a fool.
Words. I've always loved words. When I was hit by a car at age nine, and ended up in a body cast for four months, one of my favorite gifts was a Scrabble game. I don't remember who gave it to me. My father's company (Volvo) sent a lot of gifts, and our vintage Monopoly may have come from them, though I prefer to think that it was that superb example of Swedish engineering who gifted me with the game that sent me on the path of word-nerdness that was to define a lot of my adult personality. Recovering from a broken hip and spending that time entombed in plaster (that itched, and stank) was no easy thing for this new immigrant, but it was made more bearable playing Scrabble.
I played Scrabble with anyone would take the time to entertain the housebound invalid. It was easy to beat my siblings, after all, they're both younger. It was also easy to beat my Farfar, because English was his second language. But I could never beat my Dad. We've continued to play Scrabble my whole life, and as I graduated from college and went on to teach, there would be the occasional win for me. You see, my Dad is even more of a word nerd than I am. He's a word nerd in two languages, and master of, I actually lost count, but I think it's six. He taught himself Russian so that he'd more effective on the trips he and my mother used to make with ISP . A win against him is akin to an olympic medal. Now as the years march onward, and my word studies continue (I'm a Precept leader, certified word-nerd), I beat him more often.
He does cheat. Ok, not really. It's my fault though, because I bought him not only the 25th Anniversary Edition Scrabble (Fans, you gotta get this one: it has a plastic overlay that holds the tiles in place! No more obsessive straightening while waiting for your turn! AND, the tiles go in a little velvet bag, so no more annoying turning of all the tiles at the end/beginning of a game!) but also a computer version. So in his spare time (of which he has more than I do...) he plays his computer. And BEATS the computer. I think it's cheating that he gets to practice between bouts.
I think I've got him now, though. My dear friend RemodelWoman has introduced me to facebook Scrabble. She's in the Pacific Northwest, I'm in Colorado, but we can play Scrabble anyway. You play your turn when you have a chance, and sometimes days go by with no one doing anything. (Ok, it's usually me. Obsessing over what the perfect move is. Calculating all the different scenarios and psychotically flip-flopping over what to do.) But I'm playing again. And one of these days I”m going to be the one to make the call. “Hey Dad, want to come over for a game of Scrabble?”
I think I'm ready.