One of my mother's favorite games is Scrabble. She is amazing at it. She used to play Scrabble with her friend, Ann, who was the only person who could ever beat her on a regular basis. They'd sit there for hours, studying that board, looking not only for the places to score the maximum points available but also for the places to defend. And sometimes, they just were looking for the places to screw over the opponent.
I did not inherit my mother's love for Scrabble. I stare at the board for about 5 minutes, working out different patterns in my head, and then I just get so tired of searching that I give in. I go for the most points I can get, and I hope that it's enough to sustain me if my opponent scores big.
I do not have the patience or the wherewithal to ever be excellent at Scrabble.
I didn't beat my mother at a game until I was almost 30, and it's a feat I've only repeated a couple more times, if even that. But if I were to think about the gifts my mother tried to instill in me, I cannot help but think about that board.
A problem has to be studied, and weighed, from all sides.
Striking first may not be your best play.
Know your opponent's weakness and tendencies.
The best offense is sometimes a really tough defense.
Working hard for something, devoting your best effort to it, is worth all of the headaches.
That sometimes in life, you draw some shitty letters, but it's up to you to make the most out of them.
And that no matter how hard I try, I'll never be quite on her level.
Happy Birthday, Mama. Thanks for never letting me win.