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Earlier this month, I loaded Words with Friends on my smartphone. It’s essentially a Scrabble app. You can play with friends, as the title suggests. Or you can pit your wits against random strangers who also happen to have the app and be online with you.

My first opponent was a 20-something named Sloane. She posted uninspired words like “soup” and “hi”. Then she dropped off the face of the earth. I won by default. Apparently, it didn’t hold her interest enough.

Feeling cocky, I challenged a IRL friend. That’s “in real life” for those of you over 30. I know a few of you lurk out there. My buddy played the word “lions”. Hmm. This could be fun. We chatted, mostly smack talk, in the messaging function attached to the application. Then…boom! She started hitting hard. She played some high-scoring words. Suddenly, she was up 100 points. How did this happen? Aren’t I a wordsmith? It stung a bit, I’ll be honest.

And I lost that match by 80 points in the end. I realized anew that I don’t like to lose. I felt kinda stupid. I don’t like feeling stupid. Then I thought, when was the last time I lost anything? Most adult interactions aren’t a zero-sum game. However, we have a pretty regular game night at Casa Isham. We play Uno and I do lose most times. Zac, I think, reigns in that kingdom. Yet then, I’m not the only loser. I’m just one of three.

But see, there’s more. I rediscovered  I like words. A lot. I’d rather play a word using all 7 letters than play a three-letter word that nets me 70 points. I’m looking at you, friend!  I like futzing with the letters, dreaming of what they could spell. “Oh, if only I had an X!” “Boy, I could sure use an N.” I like the noises they make when I shuffle them around online. I enjoy making words up, too. All of this probably  works against me.

Losing the game made me reconsider my attitude. I’ve got some growing up to do. Losing isn’t the end of the world; it can help you learn. I’m already playing better the second time around. Since I love words and suck at strategy, it’s entirely possible I’ll never be a Words with Friends master no matter how many matches I enter. On the bright side, this should save me from getting kicked off any planes in the near future.

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