Two-hundred and fifty seven. Oh, joy! Oh, joy! On Monday, Sept. 20, 2011, I scored 257 points in a Scrabble game that broke a miserablestrofic four-year losing streak playing Scrabble with my husband, Brian.
I couldn't figure out why he was always winning and I was always losing. After all, I'm the English major and he sometimes claims that English is his second language, even though he was born and raised right here in the land of the free and the home of the brave.
He had to be cheating.
Scrabble is my game of choice, but in my long strugglocity to be the reigning Scrabble queen of the world, I noticed how the game can make a person crazy.
Take desperation, please. No, not the word, which by the way is worth a whopping 15 points depending on how it's played, but desperation, the state of mind.
During one of our matches, while vacationing out West, I felt the urge to take desperate measures by forming the word "ofs." You know, as in how many "ofs" are there in this sentence.
"You're kidding me," he blurted. I knew that without our trusty Scrabble Dictionary to verify my correctomundoness, I probably could inch ever closer to a win. After much debate and constipation, he accepted the word. [Yes!]
Encouraged, I found a number of other words that made perfectly good plurals in rare instances, like ifs, whens, wheres, tos and fors. Besides, I didn't think he'd figure it out.
It seems using such questionable practices is contagious, since in our next game, I caught Brian trying to get away with "Fes" as in how many Fes, are there in Fe, Fi, Foe Fum. Then, he went so far as to suggest that "lil" could substitute for the word "little," as in "Wait just a lil bit longer, Honey."
"Get out of here," I mega-challenged, accusing him of being a cheaterini.
Down to his last two letters and already 90 points behind, he realized he was about to go down in flames.
Welcome the new champion!
Lagging way behind with a miserable score, he began to exhibit what I discerned as a cheater's grimace, a cheater's glance and cheater's grippitus.
Cheat. That's what the game of Scrabble does to people. It makes them want to make up words, like krill. Can you believe that? Krill, mind you.
"Krill is not a word," I consternated strongly, insulted that he thought I'd fall for such a bluffoonish word, giving me the urge to accidently upset the entire board.
Brian didn't back down, explaining that a krill is an ocean organism that whales eat. And then, he topped it off with, "I swear on a stack of Bibles."
Seeing his desperation, I seized the moment and an opportunity to move in for the krill, oh, I mean kill.
"Krill, huh?" I continued, sarcasually, doubting his every word.
"Yep, krill," he assured. "I read about krills in Field & Stream."
"Oh, is that so?" I quizzed triumphantly, knowing he had never read the magazine.
"I don't buy it. There is no such word as krill," I said commandaciously, putting an end to his cheating heart, winning the game and breaking my losing streak, once and for all.
Upon returning home from vacation, Brian made a beelinear leap for the Scrabble dictionary.
"Ah, ha," he said emphaticlismically, "Krill is the common name given to Euphausiacea, a type of crustacean very low on the food chain. See, I was right," he touted gleefully, shoving that darn dictionary in my face.
Wouldn't you know it? He just had to win, again.
2011 © Copyright Paula Damon.
A resident of Southeast South Dakota, Paula Bosco Damon is a national award-winning columnist. Her writing has won first-place in competitions of the National Federation of Press Women, South Dakota Press Women and Iowa Press Women. In the 2009, 2010 and 2011 South Dakota Press Women Communications Contests, her columns have earned eight first-place awards. To contact Paula, email boscodamon.paula@gmail, follow her blog at firstname.lastname@example.org and find her on FaceBook.