Posted: Wednesday, September 21, 2011 8:02 pm
By: By Lisa Smartt
I have a problem. The experts tell me that admitting I have a problem is the first step to freedom. So, I’m taking the first step … right here in the newspaper. One of the keys to a fulfilling life is moderation. Moderation in regard to food and drink. Moderation in the amount of time spent working and recreating. Moderation in financial dealings. Moderation in using the word “moderation.” See, I actually have several problems.
I love words. I’ve always loved to play Scrabble. But the members of my immediate family do not love words. They don’t love playing Scrabble. Because of their lack of interest in playing Scrabble, I have had a pretty good life up to this point. I keep the house fairly clean. I make pinto beans and cornbread muffins that will make you slap your grandma. I write and speak and read books. I even change the sheets on the beds occasionally. But one day my life of diligence and moderation was severely challenged. And friend, I’m sorry to say I wasn’t up for the challenge. I discovered that Scrabble had a computer game which provided a challenging computer partner for hours and hours of word-making fun. And it soon became my personal undoing. Dust bunnies gathered under the furniture. Porch plants went without water. Books went unread. Sure, I still managed to stir together some killer cornbread now and then but everyone knew my heart wasn’t in it.
I found myself thinking about words at inopportune moments. One of our sons would say, “Mom, I need lunch money for school.” But as I was writing the check my thoughts would immediately wander. Hmmm. I wonder if chicken tetrazzini has two z’s. And if it DOES have two z’s and I could get it on a triple word space, well, tetrazzini could definitely be my ticket to absolute computer Scrabble dominance. Maybe even world dominance. See what I mean? When your kid asks for lunch money and your thoughts quickly take you to the subject of world dominance, well, you definitely have a problem. If you find yourself spelling “loquacious” with shower gel on the shower door early in the morning, you need to see somebody. If you know that “qi” is in the Scrabble dictionary and it means energy, well, you need to get out more.
I knew I needed help. I knew that my ability to spell “loquacious” was just the first step to acquiring a lot of cats and never seeing human beings again. So, as Billy Graham would say, it was time for a decision. I had to give up any thoughts of playing Scrabble during the daylight hours. I had a life and I needed to live it. There would be no more “just a few games after lunch” excuses either. No. Computer Scrabble had to be limited to the evening hours after everyone had finished homework, taken showers and settled in for the night. It’s going well too. But one day when a friend’s fourth grader was complaining about learning her spelling words, I couldn’t help but grieve. My right hand began to shake as I desperately longed for a well-placed “y” on a triple letter square. But I stayed strong. I maintained focus. I knew my priorities. Yes, that’s P-R-I-O-R-I-T-I-E-S. Oh no.
For more information about Lisa Smartt, visit her website, lisasmartt.com.
Published in The Messenger 9.21.11