on the tiles


I never promised we’d be exclusive.

It wasn’t even a conscious thing.

Really, I just found that one partner wasn’t enough any more.

The fatal date is etched in my memory.

It was the morning after November 14, 2014.

You remember the date. The day the Scrabble Mattel app went down

It was crippling. There was nowhere to turn.

I cried out on Twitter, but everyone was so busy no one one heard my call for h-e-l-p with ‘H’ and ‘P’ on triple letters.

Facebook wasn’t much better. My oldest friend offered to send me the actual board game which “is always dependable and never crashes” while my ex-sister-in-law made sympathetic noises, but clearly couldn’t fix the problem.

So addicted had I become to you, the thrust and parry of your lexicon, that I struck out.

First I asked my husband and he refused to oblige me. “It’s beyond pointless to pursue this kind of activity in the same house over two computers on two separate floors,” he said.

It’d barely been three months since I joined Facebook and you sent the message.

Hey, Sarah you want to play?”

It’s funny that whole Facebook thing. I always liked you but we moved in different circles. Yet when our paths did cross I appreciated your razor wit, your super-thin sassiness, your Dorothy Parker-esque observations.

And there you are asking me to play Scrabble online.

The first game you murdered me.

Indeed those first few games you trounced me, using all those sneaky two-letter point-grabbing words known to true Scrabble fans and never actually included in any real world conversation.

Words like qi, za, xi, xu, sh.

But gradually I learned.

The day after the great Scrabble Mattel app crash I returned to the uncompleted game, but you weren’t there and I badly needed a fix. So I hit the button for a match with a random player and got “Killer”, which was somewhat disconcerting

Turns out he should have called himself something else, for I dispatched him, mercilessly racking up two seven-letter words in a row. It was like blood lust.

I started a new game and then another and another and another.

At one point I had 15 different scrabble matches on the go, with players from Kenya to Quebec.

It was interesting to discover how different people had very different styles of playing. Some were exceptional word stackers, maximising the number of points by placing words horizontally or vertically alongside existing ones to make multiple words.

Then there was poor Lisa who just kept placing her words within easy striking reach of the triple word space. What could I do, ignore them?

Neelo somehow managed to create a perfect cube out of high-scoring letters which counted in multiple directions and whooped my sorry b-u-t-t by more than 300 points.

Kym seemed a pretty even match, but she had a way of lulling you into a sense of complacency by trailing then overtaking you by 80 points in one swoop.

Why am I telling you all this?

To show what you turned me into – a hopeless, pitiful Scrabble addict who raced back to the computer every time she heard the siren sound of a word put into play.

I’m sorry, I hope you can forgive me but feel I must spell it out for you: it’s o-v-e-r … that is until the next game.




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