I’m infatuated with words. But lately, I’ve been spending an unhealthy amount of time with them, thanks to my latest addiction, Words With Friends. I have to break it off soon, but how? What’s the best way to tell Words With Friends that it’s over, especially when it constantly demands my attention with that insistent buzzing noise coming from my iPad?
“Buzz!” it purrs, seductively. “Somebody played a word — don’t you want to come over here and see how many points they made?”
“Buzz!” again. It sounds so needy. “Someone else just took a turn. You don’t want them to feel ignored, now, do you?”
“Buzz!” (Is it my imagination, or is it getting louder?) “You’ll never guess who that was! Come on, it’ll only take a second!”
I give in to my basest impulses, gingerly perching on the edge of the living room chair for what I tell myself will only be a minute. Before I know it, I’m hunched over, my neck is killing me, and an hour has gone by. The wet clothes are sitting in a lump in the washing machine, and whatever it was that I was cooking is permanently stuck to the bottom of the frying pan.
Currently, I’ve got six Words With Friends games going at once. I’m ashamed to admit it, but it’s true — I’m not at all monogamous when it comes to Words With Friends. I started out that way, but it was too easy to get involved with other people, especially when the sneaky little matchmaking devil-game matches you up with equally addictive personalities. As of today, I’m playing two games at once with my husband (I’m beating him at both), plus one with my nephew, two with my sisters, and one with a total stranger. We are having unprotected Words.
I really don’t have the physical stamina for six games at once (my neck will need a chiropractor soon) and the mental strain is wearing me down. Not only is it frustrating when I have all vowels or all consonants, but think of my anguish when I have the letter Q, but no U! The only Q-word I know of that doesn’t require a U is QI. I once tried to cheat by placing Q next to L (it looks so much like an I), but the nasty little program was on to me in a nanosecond, spitting a damning indictment across the bottom of the screen:
“QL is not a valid word.”
“Says who?” I spit back, but it was pointless. You can’t argue with its stupid little dictionary (which, by the way, just let my sister play “FE”). According to the game, FE is a word because it’s the periodic table symbol for iron. Well, if I’d known that chemical symbols were allowed, I would have played LSD a long time ago.
Then there are the moral dilemmas. Do you let your nephew win? Do you play the word “dildo” against your mother? Do you cry foul when your sister makes the word “Texas”? And why does the program allow Texas, but not Iraq?
And think of the hours I’ve wasted! I could have been doing something more productive today, like taking a shower, but instead I sat around and made ridiculous overtures with non-words like “da” and “bal.” I tried looking “bal” up already, so save yourself the time. It’s supposedly short for “balmoral,” a Scottish hat. Did you ever hear anyone, Scottish or otherwise, refer to a “bal”? If someone collects hats in Scotland, do you say that they have a lot of bals? I don’t think so! But Words With Friends gave me 14 points for making that dirty little word. Against my sister! I felt guilty pressing “play” after I made the word “bal,” but I couldn’t stop myself.
I can see why Alec Baldwin refused to give up his phone while playing Words With Friends on that airplane. It’s hard to hang up on your friends. OMG, I just realized how ridiculous I sound. I think I need an intervention.
Do you suppose if I just switched addictions — say, to blogging — I’d be better off? Because I think I’m getting addicted to that, too. In fact, right now I’ve got a daily habit, and I think it’s going to be hard to cut down. Speaking of which, I have to come up with an idea for tomorrow’s blog post. But first … I hear something buzzing at me. Gotta go!