Saturday, August 23, 2008

There is No Slurring Allowed in Scrabble

Quick, list all the words you know that include the letters q, c and d. Not easy right? Welcome to the dilemma of the moment: how do I use letters to my best advantage, maximizing points, and kicking the butt of anyone willing to take me on? I grew up with Scrabble; my grandparents, mom and various other family members were seemingly addicted to it. I would try to create interesting words with my second grade vocabulary and sometimes I would even do alright. As I grew up words began to have an even deeper meaning for the writer trapped inside but a tiny three letter word seemed to hold more weight than working towards becoming that writer: fun.

When I was twenty three years old it was common to find me in the clubs every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, as well as Sunday on some not so rare occasions. I paid my cover charge and extended an arm to receive the ink stamp that would take three days to scrub off. The motion was instinctual; I needed no prompting to remind me how it was done because I had done it a million times. As a club hopper many interesting, diverse and crazy people come in and out of your life because, at that moment, your worlds share so many common bonds: a love of being half deaf, drinking enough until everyone looks good with running mascara, cigarette burn holes in all your clothing and so much love for each other you have no other way of expressing it but to rub their back and hold their hair while they slump down beside the bathroom toilet, vomiting as they fall.

All those years in the club scene gave me some of my favorite Scrabble words; take, for example, excess. Land that one on a triple word score and you are sure to take the game. Not only are the letters worth fifteen points, it is an excellent word describing a state of mind. It is a word used to define what happens when drinks continue to flow down your throat regardless of the little voice that is attempting to scream 'knock it off you idiot or you are going to die from alcohol poisoning'. Instead of listening to the voice it is far easier to splash some whiskey in its face to shut it up and send it home crying. This is not a problem though, you won't remember having done it by the next morning and all you have to do is say sorry, that you will never do it again, and the little voice miraculously forgives you.

After so many nights of stale drinks, cigarettes and conversation, I reached my low when I woke up one morning to a person who I called a friend handing me a glass of water, two aspirin, a joint and the nose tube attached to an oxygen tank saying 'trust me, you are definitely going to need these'. I glanced around and realized I was in the bed of another friend who was nowhere to be found but the guy I was interested in was laying next to me fully clothed. I took it all and started to inhale, maybe a little too fast, and began to put together the pieces of what had happened the night before over a greasy breakfast of bacon, eggs, and a grilled bagel. Recalling even the smallest detail after my third Alabama Slammer is something I am still working on.

I learned my lesson after that night. That was the first and last time I have ever drank to an excess where I blacked out without cognizant memory of what happened. Scary. Not to say that I have not been drunk since then because there have been plenty of nights filled with Merlot or Cape Codders that should never be discussed but nights at the club are so few and far between these days that paying more than five dollars for a cover charge is shocking to me. Now I am much more likely to have a couple beers at home with Matt during a Friday night Scrabble game and call my sister to ask if she has a dictionary. I ask if she could please look up how to spell aqueduct because if I spelled it correctly I will have scored ninety points (forty for the placement and an additional fifty for using all seven letters, score!). I feel her rolling her eyes and shaking her head at me through the phone as she tells me it is spelled with an e and not an i, so I take my seven points for the simple word duct instead and go to bed with all memory of the eighty three points that could have been.


Crafty Mama said...

Great post! I enjoyed reading it.
Scattergories is what my family plays, and that can get quite creative, too!

Verão said...

Great Great post. Made me reminisce! I love scrabble! My sister and I played scrabble almost every night one time. Right after dinner- we'd clear the table and then the rest of my sisters would leave (rolling there eyes) while Marie and I would play 1 game. NO dictionary. Then fast forward- my hubs and I were craving for a game of scrabble. It was a Saturday night and we didn't have a game board. We ended up going to Little India (here in Singapore a store called Mustafa is open 24/7), went to the toy department and bought us a Scrabble! Every night since for a bout 6 months- we played!

Samantha-Rose Hunt said...

I absolutely loved this post. I had one of those nights you mentioned last night...and I wish that I could say it was my last. I think I am starting to ease into a place where I am much more content on the couch, or with a great book...and for me, Scattergories has alwas been my word game of choice. I get dusted at Scrabble!

Sahara said...

Oops, I'll be back, I think I smell something burning!

Sahara said...

lol That's the first time that's ever happened to me! Everything's okay, supper is not ruined!

I used to play Scrabble with the boys when they were young, they loved it. And the reason why is because it was about the only game they could beat me at.

And that's the first time I've ever heard of this game being played in clubs. Of course when I did go to clubs it was right around the time you were born I think. lol We had nothing but pool tables and of course the house band which was always an Allman Brothers sound alike.

fly tie said...

yeah, i agree. this is a good post. love how you tied it all together.

Timeless Designs said...

Awsome post, thank you for sharing!

SI-FA-SI said...

Hi Jenn, I found your blog on Superforest and I really liked the post I read right now:-)
A very original and fun style, the kind that I really like:-)
I'd love to be able to write in english as my mother tongue, but having learned through rock songs and some months in Ireland, you can clearly image how my english insn't that Oxfordian style, and yes, you can clearly got it while reading it!:-) For example I love Bill Bryson's books, that unique style...
I saw we're the same age, cancer, a bit lunatics:-) Wow! Many things in common, uh?
Ciao, greetings from Tuscany:-)

kinda english blog:


ginger said...

i was never a club girl, so much as a local dive girl. small bars with pool tables were my scene. i rarely drink anymore just because i got tired of what i was doing to my body. i hated not feeling good for 3 days after i had a few drinks. and i quit mj because i like my brain cells the way they are...alive, that is. :) i'll never understand how some people can talk about being healthy and even eating raw when they still do's nothing but counterproductive and destructive to the body.

anyway, not the point. this was brilliantly written jenn. truly. you never cease to please the need for brain quasicandy a word? it has a q, c and d. heehee.

Judi FitzPatrick said...

Jenn, this is such a great post. You took us all over the place but brought it all together. Hope this one ends up in a "book" someday.
Anytime you and Matt want a Scrabble game with some added competition, just let me know!
Love ya, Mum

P.S. Love that quasicandy, Ginger! All I could think of was quacked.

Chris Stone said...

quacked was the only thing i could come up with too. I never was into scrabble much. Perhaps because in my family I wouldn't stand a chance!

enjoyed your post!

Rosebud Collection said...

We use to play Scrabble all the time..Had to get the Scrabble dictionary..too many cheaters..Yes, I was the biggest one..Love to make words up..It got so bad, when I was right, no one would believe me. Made myself a reputation.

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

Sandra we didn't actually play Scrabble in the clubs, that was just kind of my tie in to the big point words, my former crazy life and how I became an "old lady" at 35 lol.

I am so glad to see there are many other Scrabble lovers out there though :) We should really get the official dictionary so I can study it for all those 2 letter words including either an x or a those are tough! lol Never played Scattergories but may have to check it out now, thanks!

Hey thanks for stopping by new readers :~D I can't wait to check out your blogs as well! Have a fantastic week everyone!

Julie said...

So, howbout it took me 3 tries to read this because the first two I was too preoccupied with q-c-d words to actually absorb what I was reading -- quacked immediately came to mind, followed by acquired, acquiesced, acquitted ...)

I have never been a party girl of any sort. And I'm such a boring drunk (straight to "sleepy" I go). And, frankly, part of me feels like I missed out on that.

Suldog said...

I enjoy Scrabble, and I used to enjoy getting viciously blitzed, so this post worked on a number of levels for me.

Oddly enough, although I overindulged repeatedly (and with many and varied substances) I never had a blackout connected with alcohol or drug usage. I thank God for that!

Quadricate, by the way.

Giftbearer said...

Very good writing!I like how you moved from one subject to the other and the two wove together.

High Desert Diva said...

Excess is right. Glad the early twenties/bar hopping scene is behind me.

Sadly, I suck at Scrabble. Sigh.

S said...

Hi Jenn, it's great to be in touch:-)
I'm a bit sorry for your poor eyes that have to bear my "unbelievable" english:-) Moreover, you're such a fine writer and it's your mother tongue...AArgh...I'm just brave and crazy:-) Please if you find at least huge mistakes, please drop me a line, would you?:-D Great coincidences that we have met thanx to Mraz and Superforest: that's what I call good connections:-) Hugs Jenn!