The Power of Words
Okay, I admit it. I’m an addict, and my addiction is controlling my life. Actually, I no longer have a life. I don’t have time for one. Feeding my obsession consumes my every waking minute. The moment I arise in the morning, the unquenchable craving seizes me.
Today I hit rock bottom. I had been sitting at my computer for what I could have sworn was less than an hour. I looked at the clock. I couldn’t believe it! 3:00 PM! And I hadn’t eaten breakfast — or lunch. Nor had I made my bed (something I always did as soon as I got up). Worse, I hadn’t yet showered, dressed, combed my hair, or even brushed my teeth. My doorbell rang. I looked through the peephole. The FEDEX guy. I didn’t open the door, even though I knew he had a package I had been expecting. I couldn’t let anyone see the wreck I had become. I vowed on the spot to give up the compulsion that had me in its grip — or at least to taper off.
No, I’m not on heroin, cocaine, or crack. If that were the case, maybe medical intervention could help. Unfortunately, no rehab programs exist to cure my addiction — computerized
Words With Friends. I fully understand why Alec Baldwin allowed himself to be thrown off a flight recently, rather than obey the flight attendant’s order to turn off his I-Pad and terminate a Words game he was playing. It’s not as if he had a choice. The monster had him in its grasp, and he was powerless to free himself. Maybe he was just about to play a “Z” in a triple letter space of a triple word for a score of over ninety points! No one would be able to resist a temptation that strong.
It’s the same with me. Every morning when I get out of bed, I go straight to the den and turn on my computer. I promise myself I’m just going to do a five-minute check of my email. But of course I can’t resist a quick peek to see if any of my Words With Friends opponents have made a move since midnight, when I had last checked.
Even if they haven’t, I again scrutinize the jumble of letters I have to work with, trying every possible configuration that would give me the highest score and moaning that if only I had an “S” or a “D” — or, wait, an “A” — I could use all my letters and score thirty-five bonus points. Not fifty as in regular Scrabble, but still nothing to sneeze at — which is good, because no way am I getting up to grab a tissue.
Hurray! I find another seven-letter word using just the ones I have. I’m elated! Until I look at the game board and see there’s absolutely no place to put it — unless my opponent puts down a word that will give me an opening. Meanwhile, I decide to check the seven other games I have in progress …
And that’s how my day goes. As the sun sets I realize I didn’t write that essay I had promised my editor. I didn’t do the laundry and put fresh sheets on the bed. I didn’t empty the dishwasher and load it with the dirty dishes in the sink. I didn’t go grocery shopping. I didn’t even get to my mailbox.
But one good thing has come of my Words With Friends obsession. It has cured me of my addictions to computer Free Cell and Spider solitaire.
Rose Mula's most recent book,
The Beautiful People and Other Aggravations is now available at your favorite bookstore, through Amazon.com and other online bookstores, and through Pelican Publishing (800-843-1724), as is her previous book, If These Are Laugh Lines, I'm Having Way Too Much Fun.
Check out Rose's new YouTube video: http://youtu.be/iAsDjwD3j80
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