Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Using your words...

My friend Lindy introduced me to a wonderful game last week: Bananagrams.

I had hauled the four youngest kids to her house last Friday night for pizza and a movie. As the movie started, Lindy and I sat down at the table with two of her kids to play Bananagrams. The game is, basically, Scrabble against yourself, but you need to use all your letters before any other player. Before we knew it, we were surrounded by the four younger kiddos, all insisting that they play too. This innocent little game -- letter tiles in a neat, zip-up banana bag -- is habit-forming. As far as I was concerned, Lindy might just as well have jammed a needle in my arm and shot me full of some euphoria-inducing drug.

I. Love. This. Game.

Naturally, as Jack, Charlie and Sam and I killed time between baseball team photos Saturday morning, we zipped into Walgreens and bought the game. It about killed them to see that banana bag sitting on the front seat and NOT play the game. I almost let them, but... ... People? We're talking about two 10-yr olds, an 8-yr old and about 150 letter tiles. In a car. Something told me we'd be missing tiles within 30 seconds. So, the bag stayed zipped.

Later, we played Bananagrams until we couldn't take it anymore. At one point we had not only Jack, Charlie, Sam and myself playing, but Tyler (18), Kate (16) and her boyfriend, Dylan. It was great fun, with one exception: the constant questions. Being that I am a HUGE word nerd, and rarely try to excuse or hide it, everyone comes to me with their spelling/grammar/editing/style/writing-related questions. And I don't mind one bit. Never have, never will.

Except when I am playing Bananagrams.

I hate to say it, but it is so difficult to concentrate on my own word tiles when there's a constant barrage of "Is ___ a word?" "How do you spell ___?" and so on. Finally, by Sunday night, I had to lay down the law: Spell the words how you think they are spelled, or look up the words in the gigantic American-Heritage dictionary, which now resides on the dining table. But, even after that, I still got a few questions, and realized it wasn't that bad. So, after a while, I gave up on trying to win the game,* and just had fun with my words. Then I leaned over and helped Sam with his words and tiles... all the while giving nods or shaking my head to the variety of spelling and word-usage questions.

The one thing better than actually winning at Bananagrams? Helping the kids win... and learn.

*NOTE: Truth be told, I pretty much gave up trying to win after the first game where Jeff and I competed. He pulled "qi" or some other Scrabble-approved BS word, which I challenged... and lost. Whatever. And if anyone read the essay about a couple and their Scrabble addiction in Parade Magazine in the Sunday paper, you could easily sub out their names for Rebecca and Jeff. It was very funny.


Lindy said...

I believe you still think "gears" was a kickass word and wished you could've used it yourself instead of copying it off of me.

Rebecca Cameron said...

Hahahaha... :) No, it was your mad spelling skillz using "referee" that was truly kickass.