259. Sun drunk Scrabble

Sot it’s the day after Christmas and the four of us are lying about the sundrenched family room reading four different books, curled up in chairs or sprawled on the two sofas. I think we must look like cats or lizards lazily basking ourselves on warm rocks. Kind of feels like being at the beach, napping on blankets or laid out in a lounge chair. Ahhh. Nice. No wind or seagulls. Four different mental realities inhabiting the same brilliantly quiet physical space.  Yesterday we drove two hundred plus miles in the new car. Comfortable and quiet, true, but still a lot of miles, to see family and eat heavily. Tomorrow it’s off to NYC to return my first born child to her Brooklyn apartment, then off the Catskills for a visit with my wife’s cousin…  and eat heavily. Today needs to be motionless and restorative. Easy on the calories and beer.  Slow on the chocolates. Perhaps we are experiencing a sugar overload. My diabetic friends, please comment here. I already know that I need more water and time on the treadmill, but just try to get a cranky lizard onto a treadmill.

A game of holiday Scrabble is in order. I have not won in a long time. In order to settle old scores, we keep the old score sheets that prove my middle daughter won last Christmas.[ No chess for me this year as my brothers-in-law were both working over Christmas Day. ( Yes, the hyphens are needed there to demonstrate family by marriage and that they are not attorneys.)] A shame indeed.  Some games with chance involved you just can’t win. On Christmas Eve we played a warm up game of Scrabble and at one time I drew ten vowels in a row. It was absurd, but without consonants all I could play was AU. Then EEEOIAU. It’s all good, though. It’s family and Erin does not do celebratory dances after a high point word like I do. Which may contribute to the sheer joy my family derives from beating me at Scrabble. Triple word score set ups go down like drug deals until the lazy Susan board comes around to Big Daddy. And I feel like the school cop in the boys’ bathroom. Nothing!  “What smoke, Officer Dimwiddie? ” Then there is nothing of any value left to hook into on the suddenly unfertile board. But I am not a bitter man. I know my day of conquest will come. If I exercise and eat lots of fiber, my high potency consonants will arrive in a nice mix along with those pesky vowels.

It sometimes starts with going first, which is rewarded by being a double score. If you have any sort of word in your seven tiles, boom, you come out of the gate strong, and the other players have to hook on to your raging bull letters. It can be very intimidating if you are overly dramatic like I am.

“There you go, R-I-P-P-E-D! I’m ripped. 22 points for the Big Daddy.”

“That’s nice, Dad.”

“Why is that doubled?”

“Because it’s first; otherwise it would be a penalty to go first. We’ve played this game for 40 years and that’s how it starts.”

“You think you’re so smart.”

“Smart is only five letters, girls. I’d rather be capable for a triple word score plus the bonus fifty for using all seven letters in one play. Let’s see….that would be about 200 points. And if it’s the final word play of the game, then I deduct your unplayed tile values from your score and add them to mine. So the possibilities are endless, another seven letter word.”

“I hate you.”

“HATE is such a short and unprofitable word, Honey. Can you play DESPISE?”

“Ahhhhh. Mom, make him stop. Why did you marry him?”

“I can answer dat von, my dearsky. You see it vas long vinter in vestern mother russha. Your mother vas very hungry. I vas last husband on shelf. In those days there vas no choice.”

“Okay, we can do a rematch but no voices, Dad, and no victory dances or I’m done right there.”

“Dang!! You squeeze the fun right out of the guinea pig.”

“What does that mean?”

“I don’t know, but it has a certain physical aggression to it that I like at this moment.”

“You are impossible!”

“No, I challenge… too many letters, Honey. How about unreal for twelve points?”

“How about I quit? Give me 18 across, 10 down. So that’s 28 in your face.”

“I’d prefer you insist. That’s worth 15 times 3 equals 45 up your nostril. ”

“I bet you would. How about something extra? Give me forty points. And it’s a double. So make it 80, Bartender.”

“Ouch, you little word punk and your zingers. Give me 55. I’m out too. Just deduct all those lingering points on your rack and add them to my tab. Thanks for cleaning up.”

“Dad, stop with the disco booty dance. It’s not right. No daughter should ever have to witness that!”

“They say that this man Shaft is a bad mother…  Shut yo’ mouth. Just talkin’ bout Shaft.”

“No, not the Shaft dance. Mom, Call 9-1-1.”

“They smile in yo’ face, all the time they wanna take yo’ place, the backstabbers, Baaaackstabbers.”

“Put the spatula microphone down and take your meds, for the love of God!!”

“Good, just remember that word for next time when you have a plethora of a’s… spatula. That is a keeper.”

“This is why we only play once a year, Dad. Now back to russha with you. Lonely sanity beats well fed insanity any day.”