Over the holidays my sister from NJ was at my house and complimented my (wicked) potato kugel. “How do you make it?” she asked.
I turned 43 yesterday, which is something I’m very grateful for. My father died when he was 30 and I am painfully aware that each year is a blessing. Each year brings new wisdoms and awareness that I’d never trade for a slightly more youthful self.
I’m addicted. OK? I admit it baldly (B is 4… A is 1…). But it’s not a total wash. Firstly, my word geekiness is improving, so that’s exciting. (X is 8.) Also, I’ve noticed that life and WWF have some quirky things in common. Like:
1. Don’t compare.
Sometimes you’re playing someone who is waaay better than you. And your self-esteem takes a beating. Or sometimes you’re crushing your opponent and you start feeling kind of puffed up. Stop. And realize that you don’t know what’s on her rack, and he doesn’t know what’s on yours. How much experience does she have? Maybe he’s dyslexic. Maybe she’s playing for the first time. Maybe he has the flu (he, too, is addicted. Hey, that has a C, which is four). You know? You just don’t know what’s happening. So don’t compare. You’ll never come out ahead that way.
2. Bad rack.
So you have four A’s, two E’s and an I. What’re you gonna do, kvetch about it? (If that’s a real word, that’s awesome, because the K and the V are 5 each.) Is a bad rack REALLY a bad rack? Maybe it makes you a better player. And maybe it’s better than your opponent’s rack… see #1. A good player is not he who can play a good rack. It’s he who can take an awful (Ooh! A W and an F. 4 and 4.) one and do something really creative with it.
3. It’s finite.
Really, this game will end and you can try another. There are only a certain number of tiles that can be played (quick, how many??) and then it’s time for a fresh start. You don’t ever have to get stuck in a permanent rut.
4. Have fun.
Don’t be so obsessed with points that you forget to enjoy yourself. Every once in awhile, play a word just because it’s awesome (like “plotz” – thank you, to my recent opponent for that great one, and of course we all know a Z is 10!) even if the score value isn’t quite as high or it brings your opponent dangerously close to a triple word spot.
5. Look at it with fresh eyes.
So you’ll look at the board. And you’ll say, “There is absolutely nothing to do.” Then you’ll go to sleep. Because it’s 2 am and you’re still playing. Because you’re nuts. Because you’re addicted. So when you wake up and
it’s the first thing you look at you get a chance to sneak a peek, all of a sudden you see a great move! And you’re like, “THAT was there all along?” Yup. It was. But sometimes you just need fresh eyes.
6. Make your failure a success.
So you’re losing. And then your opponent plays some crazy ridiculous word. Like, “qifru.” (No, I made it up. Don’t try to play it.) No one knows what it means. But you feel like an idiot because now he is 92 points richer than you. Guess what, but? You just learned a scary new word to hit a future opponent with. Because a failure can always be turned into future success.
So go ahead. Download it. Invite me to play. And then we can enjoy some qifru (10, 1, 4, 1, 2…).