"Beauty confronts us with the requirement that we place ourselves among...the redeemers, the leaders in the protection of life. Once you have seen the bush on fire, you are not going to get out of the assignment unless you close your eyes to the beauty.... [You] either have to close your eyes or go back to Egypt and set the people free." - Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker, "Rising to the Challenge of Our Times"

Friday, November 09, 2007

Word Wars

I just saw this documentary about the Scrabble tournament circuit...which I recommend with the caveat to some viewers that there's some pretty rough "street" language and a bit of illegal drug use. For one thing, it was comforting to see a film about people who are so odd in such a benign way. For another, it made me want to start reading the dictionary. Not necessarily to improve my Scrabble game. I learned that there is at least a 200 point average difference between me and people who do nothing but play Scrabble. Not long ago I had an informal tournament with one of the smartest people I know in the whole world and beat her in very close matches by taking advantage of her nurturing--motherly, if you will--nature (though it's true I was taking narcotic painkillers at the time) so I think that's really as, um, high as I need to climb in the Scrabble world. But in the universe of words known and unknown I'm feeling like I barely know a few that I tend to repeat over and over.

Here's one I learned in the movie: exordia.

I, and many of us, may be a bit more interested in the meanings of the words than a ranked Scrabble player tends to be, apparently. They have to memorize too many words to bother with definitions most of the time. Also there have been relatively few female Scrabble champions and in the film some of the women interviewed speculate that this may be due to the fact that women just can't bring themselves to care about Scrabble with quite the same obsessive intensity of some of the menfolk. I smell a thesis or dissertation here. Anyone? Anyone?

4 comments:

M.A. said...

You should join Facebook and start playing online scrabble with the bub and I!

adam said...

Yes you should! It's a ton of fun!

I know what you mean about repeating words over and over...I didn't think of that until I learned some Japanese, and only used a total of 1000 words or so. Now I feel the same with English. N tends to get annoyed when I use a word like "arguably" more than 26 times in a day, so I really need to learn some more. : )

I have to confess, though, I did use the word "boll" playing scrabble with M.A., and I can't remember what it means... : )

WP said...

I've heard you say that word before though I never paid attention.

Today Kyle and I went hunting and we made shots clear over the mountain. We got some sweet venison now cooling in the garage. We have good skills with hunting knives and rifles. My shot was 280 yards and gosh the deer, it went down with one shot. Kyle was covering my back and then he shot another one at 180 yards. Sweet!

Our vocabulary when hunting tends to drop a couple levels, whadaya think?

Emily said...

I don't even want to talk about what happened to my vocabulary when I played football. So I won't be casting any freakin' stones at the hunters. What the heck would YOU do in a situation like that?