Game Time

It’s day nine million five hundred thirty-one of the pandemic—or maybe it’s less than that. I don’t really know; I gave up on trying to comprehend anything related to the calendar sometime back in that era we called “April.”

I do know that the team I was cheering for won America’s Presidential Election that was held almost a month ago. As Team Decency emerged as the winner—just barely—I felt my defensive political armor begin to fall off because I no longer feel I am solely responsible to defend the voiceless from those who are elected to protect them. The cavalry is on its way.

Even though my armor is coming off, and I’m making some tactical adjustments, I’m still in the battle for human decency. Since I’ve experienced issues with hypoglycemia, one of my greatest fears is not having access to food. I find it disturbing that it’s even possible for people to go hungry in the wealthiest nation in the world, which has ample resources to easily provide for everyone. So in addition to battling political enemies, I’ve spent the whole pandemic promoting my When Life Was Still trilogy so I could donate all proceeds from the sales of it to FeedingAmerica.org. And proceeds from all future books I write will also go to organizations that help people in need regardless of what the political climate might be.

I’m mentally wiped out. I want to smear Vicks VapoRub on my chest and crawl under my weighted blanket where I could easily hibernate until the Presidential Inauguration on January 20, 2021. But unfortunately, social injustice doesn’t sleep. Despite the fact that my political candidate won, there’s still plenty of questionable stuff going on in American society for me to fight with my mighty pen.

While working on the sequel to my trilogy, I’ve also been working on getting the second edition of my poetry collection published so I can donate those proceeds too. I’ve also been writing a considerable number of political commentaries, but that part of my voice is exhausted. While I’m grateful to that part of me for having the courage to speak out against all that I find destructive to American society, the pre-2016 me is begging to take the platform for a while.

The version of me that existed before the 2016 Presidential Election was much more playful and tried to make a point of laughing every day. And that part of me made it a mission to entertain people with my words. After 2016, the amount of entertainment value to be found in my words depended on which side of the political aisle you’re on. I consider corrupt politicians a fair target for my satire. It turns out that not everyone shares my definitions of corrupt or human decency. I’m actually grateful that the political divisiveness of the past four years put a spotlight on the people in my life who have a drastically different philosophy about how people should be treated. But my list of holiday cards to send out has been whittled down more than enough because a lot of people quit speaking to me after I questioned the behavior of “their guy.” So, I will let my entertaining voice take the stage once again while “my guy” competently prepares for the presidential job ahead of him. And until I can figure out how to express my thoughts about the cognitive dissonance of an alarmingly high number of American voters in a humorous way, I will bite my satirical tongue concerning the election results and the on-going political circus.

To rise up to the challenge of not curling into a menthol-scented fetal position for the rest of the pandemic, I’ve given myself the assignment of playing and laughing every day for the month of December. I hope that it’s like riding a bike and I’ll quickly get the hang of it once again. And while I try to make this time of isolation fun, I will also look forward to entertaining–in person–groups of people that are left in my life once the pandemic is over in America.

* * *

Today, I opened my overflowing game closet and asked my husband to play a game with me. Since COVID-19 has affected all aspects of our lives, we played Pandemic Scrabble. I highly recommend it and wrote a review of the game for you in case you would also like to play your way through the rest of the pandemic.

Game Time #1

DAY: 9,000,531 (give or take)

GAME:  Pandemic Scrabble

PLAYERS: 2 to 4 from the same household if you voted for Biden.

                                                                 -OR-

                 As many people from multiple households that you can fit around your table if you voted for Trump.

RULES:  Like the pandemic and politics, there apparently are none—anything goes for spelling words in this game of Scrabble. Every word is allowable as long as the player can explain how it relates to the pandemic. Use the letter tiles on your tray to spell out on the game board anything related to these COVID times. Words can be spelled in any direction on the board. If you run out of space for a long word, it’s all right to use the edge of the game board or the table as a playing surface. Vowels—who needs them? Swear words—why yes, there’s a fifty-point bonus for each one!

Even though no rules apply to the spelling of words, like the real pandemic, you should try to go through some motions of following the most basic guidelines with the hope that it will help you beat your opponents’ unknown potential. You should have a game board, 100 letter tiles, a letter bag, and two or more tile racks. Place all letters in the pouch and mix them up. If you don’t trust the hand-washing skills of the other players, it is appropriate to spray Lysol in the bag after each turn, if you’ve been able to purchase any this year. Each player draws a tile from the bag to determine who starts the game. The player with the letter that has a numerical value closest to 19 goes first. After determining who starts, return the letters to the bag and mix them with the other letters. Wipe your fingers on the table cloth or your pants if you accidentally touch someone else’s fingers while putting the letters in the bag. All players draw seven new letters and place them on their racks. After the first player is done making a word, they replace the tiles they used by drawing the same amount from the bag. Play continues around the table until a player has no tiles left. The remaining points on the other players’ trays get added to the score of the player who used their tiles first. There are two methods of scorekeeping. Minnesota-style scoring requires that you meticulously account for the numbers in each round of reporting and show where the totals came from. Florida-style scoring allows you to report whatever number feels right to you if you’re the one holding the scorepad.

RESULTS:     Julie — 273 Julie’s Husband — 273

COMMENTS: My husband and I used the Minnesota scorekeeping method and we tied! Everyone’s a winner in our house. My swearing ability is what kept me in the game. This is a great family activity. A pandemic is the perfect time to teach freedom of expression to your children.

LAUGHTER SCALE:         

OVERALL RATING: Five out of Five Stars



© 2020 by Julie A. Ryan. All rights reserved.
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