Monday, 16 November 2015


Scrabble Butt

Ann and I play Scrabble frequently. The game is a ritual in our house. I set up the board on the dining room table. Out come the beer mats. Scamp the tabby curls up in the ceramic bowl, overflowing the rim, to watch, groom and doze. Ann and I take turns selecting the music we’ll listen to during play. For our last match I selected Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson and Nick Lowe.

Dear me, our last match. I went first. I played VOTER. Ann added an S and played LOAFERS. Boom! All of her seven tiles gone, on a triple at that. I spelled out another word, played my Q early, QUIRE. I was in an early hole but not out of the game by any means. Ann took her second turn, her second fucking turn and played off the V: VELOCITY. Boom! All seven of her tiles used again. Another triple. Well, fuck, I was now looking at a short game and a very long night.

One of the legitimate concerns of modern times, our brave new digital world, is privacy. It’s one thing to have my ass kicked liked a soccer ball around the dining room table in the confines of my own home and anyway, there are some folk who enjoy being spanked and having their raw asses handed to them. Ann of course took up her iPhone and photographed the Scrabble grid thereby ensuring that everybody she knows on the planet immediately knew of her consecutive clever plays and guaranteeing my humiliation beyond the walls of the Crooked 9: shame goes global.

Like any athlete, I knew it was time for a gut check. I slunk into the bathroom to look in the mirror and to summon up that 110-per-cent, no quit, anything can happen attitude. Hail Mary. How many letters is that? Ahh, a phrase including a proper noun, so much for that play. Ultimately, I resignedly opened the medicine cabinet aware there could never be enough ointment and talcum powder to ease the sting and the agony of certain defeat.

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