For a long time, I clung to a clunky candy-bar cellphone the way some people hold fast to old clunky cars. My cellphone served its purpose and it cost less than twenty dollars a month. When people showed me all the cool things they could do with their Blackberries and iPhones, I was unimpressed. I surely didn’t intend to pay those high monthly fees just to get some fancy gadgets.
But when I had to make plans for surgery, I decided it would be nice to have a phone in the hospital that could send and receive email, play music, and do all the other things a smart phone can do. So I bought an iPhone and got a cute Kate Spade cover for it. It was OK, but I still considered a phone a strictly utilitarian tool. Then I downloaded a Scrabble app, and I was hopelessly hooked.
I love the old board Scrabble game. Love lining up little wooden tiles on the racks and moving them around, love making words out of the letters and finding places for them. But I love electronic Scrabble even more. I even like the sound effects the letters make as they’re placed on the board. Now, whenever I have a few minutes to kill, I grab my iPhone and play a game of Scrabble. I don’t play with real people, but with the impersonal partner called “CPU.”
My only complaint is that the program is set up to refuse words that aren’t in the dictionary, and I think it uses a screwy dictionary. It rejects “yoyo,” for example, but allows weird words like “qi” and “qat,” not to mention “io.” It also thinks “hm” and “er” are legitimate words. When it plays those letters I usually make my own negative sound effects. On the positive side, I’ve learned a lot of new words. Like the fact that “zaire” spelled with a lower case “z” is a unit of currency, not the country. Who knew?