I’ve been obsessed with a game.
I’m not a game person. I kind of hate games, actually, and for this, I blame my childhood. My mother used to have this game night, see, with her friends.
My whole life, as far back as I can recall–and I can recall being in my crib*, so it goes a ways–my mother has had friends. Not like one friend who we all call “Aunt” or whatever, no. Like, seven thousand friends.
(*I can remember my Uncle Jim leaning over my crib with this scary mask on his face, part of my parents’ official collection of World’s Most Disturbing Art®.)
Her friendships–my mother’s, not the scary African mask’s–are always a result of Whatever She’s Into Right Now, whether it’s her church or her hobbies or her political meetings, like the kind Frank Kennedy and Rhett and Doc Meade and foppy Ashley went to.
(Now, see, that’s funny if you know from Gone With the Wind, because that political meeting was a KKK meeting, and right now my mother is pursing her lips disapprovingly.)
Anyway, Whatever She’s Into Right Now means there are eight thousand new friends of hers calling and popping in and wanting to hug me. If I’m visiting nowadays, and the phone rings–which it does 7,000 times a day there–and I answer, the friends always start off with, “Pam?” because we sound exactly alike. And then I’m the bitch who has to start off every conversation with, “No. This is June.” It always feels so unfriendly to be all, “No.”
They’re always outgoing, these friends of my mother’s. And while people think I’m gregarious and an extrovert just because I’m funny, mostly my days are spent trying to have as much time to brood alone on the couch as possible. It’s always been my goal: If I’ve had a day where I got to spend a good five hours alone brooding on the couch, I give that day one of those stupid 100 emojis.
What the fuck with those?
Anyway, at some point in my childhood, maybe when I was 7 or 8, my mother started having game night, usually on a Friday, where she’d make popcorn and get out the Gallo Hearty Burgundy, and her outgoing friends would all come over, as would my outgoing Uncle Leo, dragging my Aunt Kathy, who likes to be in bed by 7:30.
Then all night, they’d lounge across my brooding couch and laugh and shout over each other and eat popcorn while they enjoyed them some rousing games of Jeopardy or 10,000 Pyramid. Or Password.
Often, my Aunt Kathy would fall asleep in a spare bed, like a toddler.
I remember being roped into these games occasionally, and sometimes I’d have to be moderator for Jeopardy. I was Alex Trebec and call.
Later, in my teen years, I remember coming home to some of the game nights, and having to pretend I wasn’t drunk as a skunk after a kegger. I’ve no idea if I pulled it off. Also, why did we all stop having keggers?
(Several of my mother’s outgoing friends are my Facebook friends, and I plan to tag them on this particular post, and I ask them: Did I pull it off? Did you have no idea I’d done 16 Miller Lite beer bongs?)
Anyway. Since I associate games with fun and frolic and friends, naturally it doesn’t appeal to me. Millennials seem to be big into games, and back when people at at work liked me, I was constantly being asked to game nights with them, and I’d always say no so I can brood on the couch.
But that’s just what I was doing the other day when I got some sort of targeted ad on my phone. You know how you’re on social media, and you swear you just THOUGHT, only THOUGHT, about how you wish they had high heels for swans, and then you’re scrolling and there’s an ad for Swan Slingbacks or whatever?
Jesus Christ, really? I just Googled high heels for swans and this came up.
Anyway, I’ve no idea, really, why they targeted me for a game, but maybe they’ve been watching me since childhood, when I was moderating Jeopardy. But anyway, they lured me in by saying, “Play this game to increase your brain power here” and I did, and then I was hooked and I think I paid four dollars for this app, called Peak, that allegedly makes your brain work better, and as you can see from this not-at-all-disjointed post that it’s working like a charm. And also by the fact that I parted with four dollars.
The game that really got me is called Word Fresh, and they give you some set amount of minutes to make as many words as you can, from a sheet of letters.
This game is perfect for me. I like words, and I like the Mission Impossible pressed-for-time challenge, and plus, I don’t have to talk to or smile at anybody. It can be played at home, by myself, on my couch of sorrows! With zero hugs!
At this point, even my kittens are sick of it.
I can honestly say this is the first time I’ve ever been involved in a game, and the first person who tries to make it social gets glared at by me. The first person who says, Oooo, June, they have a Word Fresh night at Moose Parts Brew Pub or Oooo, June, we all play it together on this one website with a chat room, the first person who does that is the victim of my next political meeting.
Anyway, I know you’ll be irritated with me if I just talk about that and don’t show you any kittens. I’m going over to Ned’s tonight to see Nancy, and I just can’t wait. I wonder if she’d like to play Word Fresh with me?
Here are the kittens. Edsel and Matt are peas and carrots, man.