Thursday, January 29, 2009


The Scrabble circuit attracts its fair share of "characters."
You know, people you don't quite believe exist until they are there sitting across from you shuffling tiles or hitting clocks. Barbara certainly fits this description. I've tried to describe her to my non Scrabble friends a billion times, until one day I just furtively took this picture.

Of course, the thing that is MOST distinct about Barbara is the VOICE. It's like a high pitched nasal combination of Steve Urkel and the Dana Carvey's Church Lady...but worse. Unfortunately, Barbara is also a TALKER. Nonstop. Before the game, during the game, after the game...blah blah blah blah...The first time I played her was in a bookstore when the "Scrabble crew" used to meet like everyday to play until 3 in the morning. I remember I played Ki right next to the triple line, forgetting that it took an ess front hook. I had been in the lead the whole game and she kept prattling on about how she couldn't believe I was going to beat her and she was asking me what my rating was (it was in the mid 600s hundreds then) and she was appalled that I was going to beat her and then I made that mistake and she was able to bingo out to beat me by ten points or so. Of course, afterward she wouldn't stop talking about how I almost beat her. And then the next time we played, she was prattling on about that time I almost beat her...constant nonstop...shove something sharp into my ears, please. (Evidently, she is a very nice lady outside of Scrabble...I wouldn't know cause I barely can tolerate her enough to deal with her in the Scrabble sphere.) Anyway, I always dreaded playing her because she would always start off with the irritatingly high pitched recap of our previous encounters "you've never beaten me, riiight? We've played four times and you've never beaten me."
"Yeah, you've never beaten me, riiight, we've played five times and you've never beaten me...yeah."
"Oh, Dawn...I heard you did good in Atlantic City. We've played six times and you've never beaten me, riiight?"
Anyway, tonight was club night and as usual my first game was against Adam. Seriously, every time! Joel thinks I'm exaggerating...but I checked the's always ADAM! Anyway, he ended up winning our game because I was a chicken and didn't take the chance on playing "plaiters" till it was too late and I lost to him by four points because I went over on my clock. The loss set me up to play a Barbara in the second round.
"Hi, yeah, you've never beaten mee, riiighhtt?"
I glared.
The last time I played Barbara I almost won, when I found a bingo late in the game, but I had to draw the last remaining tiles and she was able to go out before me and win by the tiles in my rack. I was bitter.
Of course, as we set up for the game, Barbara reminded me of the game.
"Yeah, you almost beat me the last time when you bingoed at the end...yeah...but you've never beaten me, riiight?"
In my best Scarlett Ohara, I looked at the sky and shook my fist: I SHALL NEVER NOT WIN A GAME AGAINST BARBARA EVER AGAIN!"
She opened with WAX, for 26. I played back with ZARF for 38 (AND I've always wanted to play that word, so it was doubly awesome). A few turns later I bingoed with parsons AND SHE CHALLENGED IT!! Joel laughed in her face and openly mocked is his way.
"You know all the weird words, but you don't know regular English?"
I got to go again and now the score was a lopsidewd 163 to 48. I was in the zone. She was panicking. She'd let her clock run for seven minutes AND then exchange. So I'd exchange and hit her clock right back. She'd do it again. It got the point where I had 22:00 to her 5:34. Then she opened a bingo lane with ref and I used it to bingo with isatine. She started mumbling. "I think you've got me. You've got me."
I started to tell myself not to choke. I tried to play as quickly as possible so that she would never regain her composure, but it cause my one error in the game when I played um next to the triple line because DUDE, (with both pees showing) it only takes ONE LETTER and the other em was already on the board. Of course, Scrabble rule #35: if there is only one letter than can hurt you, your opponent has it. She bingoed with madeira (oh and she got both blanks, which she always does whenever we play.)
But I held on to take a 156 point win! The dragon is slaughtered!

Of course, after the game she was all "so, you're one and six against me now, riiiighht?"


Matthew said...

...and I can't believe you played raisens, you had arsines (pause to shovel down more egg salad.) and you totally out-tiled me!

Gimme a call and we'll play sometime. I'm busy Thursdays and Saturdays from now til forever so no club and no tourneys. Btw ZARK is totally not good, more like the little wordbaby ZERK and ZARF ever got together. tsktsk.

Dawn Summers said...

Whoops, that was a typo...I played Zarf, not Zark. :) CRWTH.