Ouch. My head. My pride. My very humanity. All bruised, all battered, all really really hurting.
So, like all good pushermen, my first time at the Scrabble club was free. Next time. Fifteen bones.
I dilly dallied as long as I could, so as to avoid getting to the club too early. My undiagnosed social anxiety disorder causing me to dread spending empty time with strangers...or friends or family for that matter. Idle hands, devil, whatnot. Today's delaying tactic involved taking photographs of every bingo I saw on the walk from my office to the club.
Yes, yes. Dawn. Gay.
Unfortunately, I still managed to get up to Honors twenty minutes early. I didn't recognize anyone but the club director.
He came over to me, scratched his head and said "gimmee a minute to remember your name."
This caused me to panic and immediately blurt out "Dawn."
He gave me a look and said "Summers?"
Evidently, his older brother or maybe younger brother, who really knows, was in attendance for the first time in a while.
This drew much commenting and then I overheard this conversation.
"Why do you leave after only three games?" (The mini-tournament consists of four games.)
"I want to get home earlier."
"Why? It's not like you have anything to do there. You don't have a wife or kids or anything going on."
"Hey, I go home, get drunk and play with the cats. It's what I do."
I made a mental note to maybe possibly find a new hobby.
The last time I was there I went 1-3, though I felt that had I not made a few simple mistakes I could have easily been 3-1. I decided to get that record today.
My first opponent was apparently the first person to speak in the movie Word Wars. And there are entire pages about him in the Fatsis book.
I know this because he told me. A couple of times.
"What's your name again," I asked cause I thought he'd like the mention.
"Again? You mean still. It hasn't changed."
I laughed. But forgot his name. Again. I mean still.
But hey, I remembered his joke...which, if you ask me, much more flattering.
Anyway, Mr. Again Still kicked my ass.
Although, in my defense, he drew all four esses, both blanks, the Q, and the X.
I got the J, but had nowhere really good to put it and played it for like 24 on a double. Ugh. At the end of the match, he was up by like 250, but said the spread would only be 200 because of the club's mercy rule.
But he gave me some pointers, told me some stories about beating people who were way worse than him because sometimes "you draw good."
Yah. I know.
I can't say if I would have beaten him if the tiles had been more even -- but later I heard him arguing with this Asian woman who was kicking his ass because he challenged barties (not really) and she was explaining to him that it was satire plus b, so he should have known it was good because it was a list word and he yelled back "I don't study lists!"
And I suppressed a giggle. I looked over at his sheet and his game with me was his only win. That made me feel real good about myself.
My next game, I jumped out to an early lead I found an impressvely high scoring word in a rack of c e d k m s u and jumped out to an early lead. I then drew the z and cruised to almost triple my opponents score. He was taking forever and then putting down single digit plays.
I so had this game.
And then I got a rack of a e i i n s t and recognized it as a satine rack. I found the place for my bingo and then...he plays rejudges.
IN MY SPOT.
I say..."Challenge!" It's good.
I ask for a rejudgment.
I play off an i and an n to maintain my bingo possibilities...i pick another i and n...I cry.
I open up a bingo line for myself on the triple and he takes it. Not. His. First. Rodeo.
Dawn goes down by 145 points.
HA! No mercy rule for me.
My third opponent was a guy my age. He had his own board, rack, clock and word looking up book -- and wasn't afraid to lay claim to them.
He was very serious.
Again, I jumped out to an early lead. But my time management was atrocious. At one point he had 11 more minutes than I did...
He set himself up for certain things and I just couldn't block them.
He played Bunk, then bunkers on the triple, the debunkers on the other triple.
FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK...BUT I managed to keep the lead for the vast majority of the game with a steady diet of 30-40 point plays...but then he bingoes with stealers (Dammit Dawn, close down the board when you're ahead!!!) Played the ixia, hitting the triple with the x...I drew both the Q and the Z on my last draw with like less than two minutes on my clock, he had pulled ahead by 30 and I dropped "sized" on the triple, also making glaciers -- yay, up by 15! And then he said:
"78 and out."
I look up and he had set himself up the turn before to bingo out by playing off an o to my op...he then hooked on the s to make sop, tirades AND get double points for my Q.
At least I only lost that game by double digits.
He stretched out his hand to me said good game. But I wanted to hurt him. Violently and permanently in ways that let me know deep down that I am unfit for civilized society and should probably relocate to whereever apocalypse now was filmed.
He said I should come out and play in the park.
Hey! A park invite! Wait...a...minute...they play for money in the park.
FUCK HIM!! WAAAAA.
I play a lot of poker and I've come to use the phrase "sometimes you eat the bar, sometimes the bar eats you" to describe those nights where you just get clobbered, crushed, smooshed, demolished. Outplayed, outdrawn, out. Tonight was one of those Scrabble nights. Facing my last game, the best I could do was tie my previous outing.
I was paired up with a friendly looking middle aged white woman who very much reminded me of my high school best friend's mom.
But I was going to crush her!
I drew an A, so I went first.
I played gauno. And hit the clock.
"Gauno," she said softly, I've never seen that word before.
My heart started to race. FUCK! I spelled it wrong!!!!!!
But I stayed cool, drew my tiles.
And then...well, there's another phrase my friend and I use to describe poker results.
"I'm up, but I'm not proud of it."
I.e. I had a rough day at poker, so I changed up a hundred dollar bill and played roulette. My number hit and now I'm up...but I'm not proud of it.
So...seeing that this nice sweet lady wouldn't challenge an obviously misspelled word, I played my best creative Scrabble game.
And just so you get an idea of excatly how horribly disrespectful this all is...beginners are given sheets with all the twos and threes on them and are encouraged to use them during play.
But I just knew I could get away with it...
I played "Poy" which is no good.
She didn't challenge.
I then hooked an s in front to bingo with "twinges" -- who the hell knows if that's good, but spoy...definitely no good. I then play "ruff" (um...sound a dog makes?) and played off an o, looking for an e to bingo with released...instead I drew a p. I played the phony "por" and bingo with pleased instead.
I was up my like 160 points and she was all "you are so good at this game, how long have you been playing."
Then she played the word aroe.
"Do you think that's good?" she asked meekly.
Look lady, I don't care, I'm about to hook touting on top of that for another bingo because I know you won't challenge "te."
But she insisted on looking it up anyway.
"Oh, dear, it's no good. I'll take it off."
What's that horrible sensation creeping into my stomach...
"No, no...I didn't challenge it! Leave it. Don't worry."
"Well, I want to play fair."
"No, it's ok...um..it's part of the game...Scrabble's like 50 percent word knowledge and 50 percent guesswork..."
And 90 percent of all statistics are made up right on the spot.
I looked at my rack...ugh...candy...baby...
I played the valid word outing instead of my phony based phony bingo.
Of course, it didn't stop me from playing ajeer on the triple. I ended up beating her by 197...just shy of the mercy rule.
At the game's end, she looked up ajeer...no good.
I quickly started clearing the tiles before she started looking up any more words...
So, we tied our previous record...but we're not proud it...well...actually.