Tile “M” for Worder

Tennis isn’t my game. Racquetball during my college years for sure. But, tennis? Nope.

Now, had I been born a few years earlier, courting Grace Kelly around town on my arm – even in a fantastical whimsy – would have been a possibility. She was a beautiful actress. As Margot Mary Wendice in the 1954 classic directed by Alfred Hitchcock, however, her graceful availability met its match. Tennis pro, Tony Wendice, finds out about his beaus off-court doubles action and can’t help but seek out the ultimate revenge … duh duh duuuuh!! … MURDER! Enter Charles Alexander Swann locker room left. Thus begins a tale of handbags, watches. keys, and … no perfect murder.

Alas, however, I did have the perfect word. SUMP. Tile “M”. This wasn’t a game played on a clay or grass court measuring 120×60 feet, or a mysterious game leading to an apartment full with intrigue and an executioner’s dalliance with a pretty lady. Nope. It happened in the virtual world of “Words with Friends -2” and, without dissembling a single emotion here, I was rather seven-letter overturned by the move. She stole my “M”. It was a letter already so courtly placed as the third in NEMO falling down from LANNER horizontally resting four rows from the bottom of the game board. So beautiful it was. There for the taking as I planned my move.

At once, she struck a blow. I felt trembling in my core. Unexpected, due to her prior text-babbling about “too many E’s … oh, toooo many E’s…”. In the shadow of my pride and delight, the whole virtual board seemed to be – in my mind, anyway – an open oasis for her to use. This little corner of my world – down where the “M” sat – was to be my multiple-point score … an ace she didn’t see coming. Ah, yes … the “S” to pluralize SQUAT draping down, “U”, then the magical “M”, … and “P” to finish off a 4-letter other-wordly experience she had no idea was festering in my mind.

Then. Then, “E-M-C-E-E” slapped me. She stole my “M”. Hijacked my happy little corner, she did. And I must say, …although I have no way to prove this, I believe there was a smirk about her face as she did it. Oh, for the record, I’m soooo glad she was able to use those E’s! (sarcasm, of course)

Currently, I’m losing 153-95 and not happy about it. I have 4 words against her 6 thus far with my turn in play at present. Due to my switching tiles and losing a turn, the turns are a wonky one-off at this point. There are 47 letters left in the game. Oh, boy. Fifty-eight points behind isn’t a satisfactory place to be against a player who plays well, steals my letters I don’t actually have until it’s my turn, and, admittedly, may be a slightly better tile-placer than I … “may be” until proven otherwise.

It’s just a game. I’m having fun. A moment of frustration shouldn’t ruin the fun. I am over it. I think, anyway. Looking at my current rack of letters, the next tile-ation will cause some consternation as I, now, find myself full with 5 vowels and little expectation. The 2 consonants facing back at me don’t offer much hand-holding hope, either. Seven letters of little longing at this point.

Racquetball was easier. Break a good sweat? Done. Those days are gone. Now it’s mind games more than physical exercise. Older knees know how to ruin quick, sharp turns and the high-energy, two-hour long little racquet, blue-ball chasing interludes of mine, perhaps, are over. I miss the echoes in a racquetball court. The squeak of rubber soles on the wooden floors and grunts that bounced around my youth are so missed.

Today, replaced by tiles, I guess. Oh, and other virtual games on my little hand held device. Once in a while, I pick up one of a few bowling balls in my closet and roll a few games to re-visit the 3-D world of gaming we used to live in back in the 20th century.

Games. We can’t forget how to play. Even the ones frustrating us at times, we can’t lose sight of the fun. I’m 95% sure the loss of the “M” yesterday is in my rearview mirror as I move forward with the current game. The remaining 5% is yet to be determined depending upon the remaining 47 letters in the queue. I will conquer the board, but may not win. The virtual quandary will be my inability to dump the board if – and when – I eventually lose.

No problem finishing a tennis match, however, because I won’t be playing one … virtual or otherwise. Wii won’t be doing it together, my virtual “Words with Friends-2” partner and I, since she can’t EMCEE the match and play at the same time. That in mind, I’ll sit with these ridiculous 7 letters in my rack trying to come up with my own version of, “Where on the board is SHE thinking of playing so I can hijack her ‘M’?”…

Grace? I have none at this point and most likely wouldn’t have her on my arm 67 years ago. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to plot my next move. Five vowels and two consonants … I believe I may be in trouble here. Calling the spirit of Mr. Hitchcock. I see another movie in the making …

Sir Covid and Chocolate Milk

Needing to revisit this again, I say. Promised myself I wouldn’t, but the past 24 hours requires it due to the confusing rhetoric bouncing around in my brain like a bin full of hard rubber balls.

I fault only myself. The blame is here. I listened with rapt attention as my post-betrothed dutifully described – or, attempted to – the logic of this viral spread among people. She went into moderate detail about how all of us, at some point, will come in contact with Sir Covid and, depending upon our ability to fight his ferocity against us, will need to decide how to move forward as a society. Individually, our decisions will affect the community as a whole. Geesh, I hope I’m summarizing this fairly. If not, it’s been a good life … That’s it in a nut shell. Kinda.

Oh, and he may circle around the town only to revisit us in the future. We may, or may not, have an immunity against this future assault … if it happens. One does not know. At that time, I’ll still be pondering such in my brainiacal bin of balls, perhaps, wondering why I ever considered all of this a possibility in the first place.

Well, I am now … because she mentioned it last night and I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s not quite 4 a.m.. I’m up processing possibilities over and over due to that damn conversation we had over delicious salmon, mac and cheese, a vegetable mix, and quite refreshing chocolate milk. Credit given where due, it was a home cooked meal my wife prepared after I worked an exhausting three days in the blasted heat. We didn’t scurry over to our usual Sunday evening restaurant fare. Instead, it was a quiet evening at home.

We can have back-and-forths, ups and downs, in betweens, and scurfluffles just like any normal couple. Our political, social, religious, economic, and familial views are – for the most part – on the same game board … although we have distinctly different game pieces. Every once in a while, she feels the need to arm-sweep all the game pieces off the board and change the rules. I, admittedly, give her good cause to do so. She sits with reason and logic, I bring chance, mystery, spontaneity, and risk-taking. I’m almost always right … she’s generally not so … (those last words inserted just for fun because I know she reads these …)

The “It” I referred to above was a casual conversation floating between our two personalities. This particular word exchanged centered around the following blip that appeared on her visual reader-radar and she wanted me to be aware of her opinion on the matter. I listened dutifully. It wasn’t a heated dialogue between us. Any normal folk ’round these parts darn near know there’s enough heat these days to choke a duck. We remained calm for a few minutes, ate our overly seasoned (but yummy) fish slab, and continued …

This is the video posted online by ZDoggMD. I checked it out earlier this morning. By “earlier”, I mean 1:30 a.m. while casually munching on a chocolate Cliff Bar … watching the screen saver slowly move right to left on our t.v.. Here’s the link: (Spoiler alert … I recap the video below)


Please don’t assume my position on the matter. I’m still processing my possible position posed by this professional physician who posted the promo.

If you did, or didn’t watch, he prefaces by saying: “Don’t watch the news”, then continues with four things we can do to mitigate the spread of the virus: #1) Avoid tight, crowded spaces unless you wear some kind of face covering, #2) Practice social distancing (get into the “vibe” of doing this), #3) Wash your hands frequently, and #4) Stay away from others if you feel ill with a cough, fever, chills etc … see a doctor. These are very practical things to do, according to this gentleman doctor. Pretty hard to disagree with any of this, right?

My disagreement isn’t with my wife, necessarily, the doctor, or the colorful balls NOT social distancing around inside my head STILL. A contention convention is being held at this moment within my brain … attended by synapses firing viral inquiries faster than I have answers.

I have more than one question, but one primary query remains at the top: When does this virus end … and what does the end look like? THIS was the paramount “It” last night between my wife and I. THIS is why I am revisiting an area of my overly tired brain once again at an early hour – not wanting to, apparently, give it a break.

My response to her: “Well, I guess everyone either develops an immunity to it, or dies”.

That’s all I had to say. Now, the inflection of “That’s all I had to say.” is really important here. “That’s all I HAD to say.” is significantly different from, “That’s all I had TO say”. The first implying “Them’s fighting words!” … the second, “I’m saying this as my opinion,” The latter being my intent. My wife, being the calm, astute, non-confrontational type, continued on with her platter of food in front of her, mildly silent … carefully choosing her words. “Well, we certainly don’t want anyone we love to die, would we? I think we should all do the best we can.”

I don’t know if I won or lost the game I wasn’t sure I was even playing … or, didn’t want to play in the first place. Regardless, It is still a question that goes on unanswered. There is no end to this – and that fact, to me, is meekly depressing. This virus is our century’s / generation’s Vietnam, in a way. A seemingly unbeatable, ongoing enemy that hides everywhere. We have abortive weapons, unproductive goals, and divisive leadership … all the failings proven ineffective over fifty years ago.

I’m not a fatalist. Just a guy who is lacking sleep, fixated on colorful balls, and working too much in the heat – which may, or may not, be affecting the way my perceptions seep into my words.

Sir Covid be damned. He’s around and to be dealt with, I guess. Can’t take him lightly according to Dr. ZDogg and plenty of other folks sporting more letters after their names than I. Just that one dang question, among others, dangling around my gray matter not going away any time soon, evidently causing me to lose even more sleep. Hey, don’t feel sorry for me at all. The mere fact I probably lost a small debate over dinner last night is a small consolation.

I have the pleasure of expressing myself here which makes all of “IT” ok. I feel better – two hours later. Not much of the big picture was solved and I still have questions, however, some of the rubber balls bounced out while I typed. There’s now room for air and a little less confusing rhetoric occupies the space.

I think there may some left-overs in the ‘fridge … maybe some chocolate milk, too.