Wednesday, June 8, 2005

Word Freak

I fulfilled the first of what promises to be many awkward steps on my plan to make friends by joining groups of people who share my interests. Me and my white Russian were bored Saturday night, stuck in the house alone, nursing an addiction to Yahoo! Games online Scrabble substitute when I wondered, "Maybe there's a place I could go to play face-to-face rather than face-to-computer." I used to play these board games all the time before the internet came along, except that since I don't have any siblings and my parents are extremely dull, I would play Scrabble or chess or Monopoly or whatever by myself. This never worked so well with Hungry Hungry Hippos.

As it turns out, there's a local Scrabble club in Edison and while it seems that even Scrabble geeks have better things to do on Saturday evenings, they do meet on Tuesdays from seven till ten. Now here's the interesting thing about Saturday expectations versus Tuesday expectations: Saturday evening, I fantasized about these unshaven philosophy grad students placing Scrabble tiles to the aromas of burning hash and incense... but by Tuesday I was pretty much predicting to find a mostly empty community center room with people who had enough free time in their lives to man the voting booths at today's gubernatorial primary elections. I was correct — the Scrabble society was about ten people and they were largely the geriatric crowd. So if you're looking to hook up with some folks on Social Security, now you know where to find them.

I figured that at least I'd get to play some Scrabble, and whether it's with old people or not it won't be any worse than playing online.

It wasn't, but there's something about these old-timer Scrabble nerds that just isn't right. Like a few years ago, Anne and I found Yoga Journal magazine in Barnes & Noble and we just started reading it as a goof, and it was the funniest thing ever because its demographic is holistic, new age gurus who are way, way too into yoga. People who bathe in clarified butter to clear their chakras, people who actually have the time in their lives to go to Hawaii for a yoga competition, people who bothered to write letters to the editor complaining that competition is anathema to the spirit of yoga. Those kinds of freaks. The kinds who don't have real jobs.

The Scrabble club gave off that vibe too. The vibe of people who tell stories about that time they got traded in their rack with the Q and got two U's in exchange. I met Walt, who I guess started the club. He's the very proud owner of an electronic pocket anagrammer, which tells you all you need to know about him. I hadn't been there fifteen minutes before Walt started signing me up for Scrabble tournaments around New Jersey.

I lost all three games I played, but I think that's cause the Scrabble society veterans all cheated, making up words like "alift" and "zoa". Seriously, what the hell is a "hae" anyway? Has anybody anywhere ever used that word in a sentence?


AC said...

You can find the meaning of that word at

It means to have. Again as you say, I dont know where it has been used. But check this site for help on scrabble or other word games.

It is an excellent anagrammer also.