My mother (who I lovingly refer to as “Bert”) had been coveting the iPad for months and finally purchased one. It is now an appendage of hers — a third arm if you will. I arrived at my parents’ house the other day to find Bert and my father (“Mikey”) sitting at the dining room table. He was eating in silence and she was pecking away at her beloved rectangular gadget.
Me: “Hey guys. What’s up?”
Mikey: “Hi there. Not much, just eating some lunch.”
Bert: “Shhh! Both of you! I need to concentrate! It’s my turn to make a word.”
She had downloaded the Words With Friends app, which is essentially online Scrabble. In my humble opinion, online Scrabble is a crock of shit. There is no method of monitoring whether or not your unseen adversary (who is often a stranger) is using some form of dictionary when creating words such as antidisestablishmentarianism or pseudopseudohypoparathyroidism.
There is, however, a built-in messaging option so that you can shoot your opponent a quick note asking them whether or not they are cheating, to which they’ll then retort:
“You’re accusing me of cheating? How dare you! Everyone knows what pseudopseudohypoparathyroidism means. Gawd!”
Words With Friends is meant to be played at your leisure, unlike real-life Scrabble where you’re tethered to to the game board until the last tile is used. If your opponent decides not to make a word for three days, you wait three days. My mother has now gotten me roped into this seedy underground gaming ring of hers; this is a problem because she takes it really, really seriously while I can’t be bothered.
Bert: (sitting beside me) “Okay, I just made a word. Your turn, go!”
Me: “I’m in the pool/reading a book/painting my toenails right now. I’ll do it later.”
Bert: “When later? I already know what my next word’s gonna be and I want you to make yours so I can use mine.”
Me: “Fine, in a little while I will.”
Bert goes inside. Four-and-a-half minutes go by. My iPhone vibrates on the deck.
Incoming text: Hi Erin, it’s mom. Can you please play your word now?
Last weekend my mother and I were in her living room drinking coffee and talking. I wanted to show her something on the computer to illustrate the point I had been making. I stood up, coffee cup in hand, and began walking towards her office thinking she’d simply follow me in there.
“Noooooooooooooo!” came her alarmed cry. I froze in my tracks and turned back to look at her inquisitively. She wore a stern expression on her face.
“You can no longer bring any drinks into my computer room” she said forcefully. “I keep my iPad in there now and I don’t want it getting ruined.”
I am currently on the lookout for a skilled plastic surgeon who can (on the cheap) remove Bert’s third arm.