I ignored. I refused. I resisted. I gave in.

This week I finally fell victim to Words With Friends, the online Scrabble-like word game that has preyed on the minds of virtually everyone who has ever strung together a sentence. It wasn’t that I didn’t think I would like it; on the contrary, I love word games–especially Scrabble. Simply put, I was afraid of it. I knew my competitive nature and my love of words had the potential to form a deadly combination. After all, look what happened to Alec Baldwin.

I was right.

Words with Friends has taken over more of my hours than I care to admit. I currently have eight separate games running simultaneously. Thankfully, I don’t have to work this week, so I still have a few more days to get this pseudo-addiction under control. On the bright side, I think it has brought some positive results, as well.

  1. WWF stimulates not only my vocabulary, but also my strategic vision. Just as important as the word itself is where you put it.  (That’s the only reason you’re winning, Nick, and the game is not over.)
  2. I’m learning a lot. Though I’d love to be able to say I’m kicking you-know-what and taking names, I’m playing at least one game in which I am very clearly the underdog. Tempting as it may be to only take on opponents who feed my ego (i.e. opponents I can beat), my current game with BigSix8 will ultimately make me a better wordhound and strategist as I watch and learn. For the record, I intend to beat him in a rematch.
  3. My kids and nephew play WWF. They actually got me into it, and playing against them gives us one more connection point. In fact, when my son played a word worth 81 points last night and my winning tally was in jeopardy, my proud mom side overrode the competitor in me (for a minute) and I couldn’t stop smiling. And I told him so.

I don’t want to make too much out of a word game, but I don’t think it should be written off as completely silly. We all choose how to spend our downtime, and this is light years ahead of TV. It makes me think.

This may not be the absolute best use of my time, but I can think of a lot worse. Besides, I’m on vacation.

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