By Diane Ako
At the risk of sounding really dowdy, I would like to share with you that we've started enjoying wholesome family entertainment in my house. Scrabble, specifically. In and of itself that might not be so bad, but when paired with the revelation that I also like to go to sleep in the 9 o'clock hour, I might as well just sign up for an AARP membership.
My mom dug up a Scrabble board that they'd bought me one year as a child. She gave it to me a few years ago, because a Chinese household can keep goods of all kinds for years and years. I remember this board. I used to try to get all my friends to play with me, but none would. I then tried to nag all the adults to play with me, but they were usually too busy. That's why it's in pristine condition.
I stashed it in the living room cabinet with the intent to actually play it. That day came on the week of Christmas. Now that I don't need to go to sleep at 7 p.m. for work, we've started watching TV some nights after we put Olivia to bed. Claus wanted to rent a movie. "How about a game of Scrabble?" I offered.
For some reason, he never played this. And it's not like they don't have it in Denmark. Our first game went really, really slowly. I had to recite the rules that ban the use of Danish words, abbreviations, proper nouns, and slang. And then Claus comes out with a typical-Claus-the-creative-thinker question: "Can I make a sentence?"
I think the answer is no, but the rules don't address it. I asked, "A simple sentence? Like, I can run?" "Yeah, something like that," he said. After hemming and hawing, I finally said, "Sure. Make a sentence." Obviously, he was going to add on to some existing word, to try to gain the double or triple points.
He starts putting tiles down by the word SCAN. After he's finished, I see he's written SCANOFBUN. What the hell is that?, I ask. Scan Of Bun, he replies, as if it's the most normal thing in the world. I see he's snickering now because it's such a nonsense sentence. "No, take it off," I chide. Claus is such a rules subverter.
I also got my cousin Val addicted. She downloaded the app to her iPhone, and now she plays every day. Her kids complain it's the first thing she does in the morning. Ha ha ha!
I bring the board to their house when we visit on some Sundays. One adult will partner up with a child and we'll have Scrabble teams. I feel like an anachronism in an age of video games, but you know what? It's fun. It feels more interactive to me than staring at the TV set, which is what one would do even if we were playing the interactive Wii Fit.
Who knows what tech mutiny could follow. Reading an actual book, instead of a Kindle? Reading a real newspaper, instead of online?
Do you play board games, and if so, what do you play?