I only play "Words with Friends" with a few people: my aunt, two brothers (off and on), my sister and my good friend from high school, Mike.* Mike has three degrees from MIT, and generally kicks my ass in "Words." Surprisingly, the game demands not only a wide range of obscure vocabulary but also mastery of geometry, a spatial awareness of how to extract the most points from the board's special tiles. My occasional wins over Mike mark red-letter days when my ego can temporarily stand up straight and take a deep breath.
Today is not one of those days. Mike has deployed the Z, J, K and X (highest point letters) in our current game, surpassing my point total by nearly one hundred. He has nailed every "triple word" box but one, which remains unusable due to its position after the word "QIS." I'm drowning in his flood of high-point-words, which included "wahoo" for a staggering 54. My mind freezes when confronted by the limited usability of my remaining letters: I, T, T, R L. Despite my competitive nature, I may have to deploy a pathetic word like "lit" just to end this torture. We can always start a new game with greater hope.
And, just like that, "Words" becomes a metaphor for my week. (I know you could see that coming from a mile away). I've been dragging my heels while spinning my wheels, working hard and hardly working. I did manage to finish a chapter in the book I'm writing with my mom, but otherwise I've been in a slump. The ego hides in a corner, the withering energy looks to chocolate and coffee.
But there's always tomorrow (or next week, tomorrow's coming awfully quick). A fresh game board with new letters and the chance to play a Z, J or X, the option to merge luck and opportunity. I will inevitably accept Mike's invitation to play again - and one day my optimism will unfurl from this cold winter ground, alive to new possibilities. New words to play, new games to win (or lose), a calendar open to chance. Wahoo!
*Mom, if you're reading this, I would be playing with you, too, but I can't find your name on the 'Friends' page. Did you delete yourself?? Also, I apologize for the three-letter word. It had to be said.