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Scrabble Is Diversion A La WordClick thumbnail to view full-size
Scrabble bends diversion and learning into one obviate ball of linguistic fun
I'm not a huge game fan anymore but I always, well OK maybe not always, but more often than not I will dive into a game of Scrabble. My wife and my daughter love it. They beg for many games not the least of which is Monopoly, but I find that game is a mix of boredom and over-competitiveness that I can't palate. Scrabble on the other hand, well it's always a lot of fun. We don't play the vigorous rules to the dot. We don't cancel scores for each other if someone challenges another with a dictionary description, but still it's challenging. Word of advice though, to bring peace to your game of Scrabble: always, ALWAYS, have a dictionary on hand. You wouldn't play Polo without horses! You wouldn't play badminton without shuttlecocks! So don't try to play Scrabble without a dictionary. It's like doing gymnastics without a net, who wants to break their neck playing Scrabble?
My daughter points out that we get to use our math skills while totaling up the scores. But I'm more about the guerrilla linguistics. There's an interesting dynamic that goes on between the verbiage that the dictionary defines as qualitative language and slang. My wife points out that the game challenges you to think of using new words, or old words used in a new way. There's also a certain amount of give that we allow between what is slang and what is not listed in the dictionary. I find that Scrabble isn't as aggressive as its younger cousin "Pictionary" but it is more robust in that it requires your most cogent and fresh recall of your language.
With Scrabble it's one victory at a time, as my daughter points out, it's not a lot of "haha I got you" kind of moments like in other games like "Clue". Instead it's more subtle victories that make up the war. I like that there's no time limit and that there's some allowance for conversation. As far as diversion goes it's hard to beat. When it's nice out we play outside on the porch, or up the hill on the edge of an industrial park where the sun shines all the way until it sets.
Recently my wife challenged my use of the word "hewn", then a few hours later after the game was over, she was reading her book and the author used the word "hewn" in describing a hand built log cabin. She had to relent, you were right honey, hewn is a word. I don't need to be right, really I don't. But I enjoy language, there's something about it that is freeing. There's something about language that is temporally satisfying if only for a moment. The world isn't fair, life isn't fair, hell even playing games isn't always fair. But the time you share with your family when you settle into a game, that is fair, there is justice in game playing with your family. You get to know each other away from your typcial roles in the family a little bit, you get to level the playing field just a little bit. Most of all, especially if you're the "wordy" in the family, sit back and relax. Do you really need to show off your verbiage prowess to the point that you sadden your kids or wife? Relax! Have some fun. Forget about competition and pay attention to your family's word choice, you might learn some thing about them that you would have never in a light year have guessed otherwise.