Thursday, June 11, 2009


it went like this:
in the mornings I’d start in
with the text messages and phone calls
and by the early afternoon
he’d give in and agree to meet me
at the coffee shop on the corner
for our daily game of Scrabble
as soon as we began
he would be losing
and I would be winning
and the margin between our scores
would only grow
he’d take phone calls and say,
“…oh nothing. Just getting destroyed again.”
and when friends of his
stopped by our little table
they’d look at the game
and then at our scorecard
and say things like,
“oh, wow. You’re losing bad.”
by the middle of the game
he’d become angry at himself
for agreeing to play another match
and soon after he would become angry with me
for getting him to agree to another match
then on this particular day
he said, “listen. I’ve got to stop playing against you.”
“why is that?” I asked. “it’s good to lose. It builds you
as a man and prepares you for life.”
then I related to him a summer I spent on Nantucket
banging nails into a house all day long
alone and depressed and full of hate
of how all day long I worked through my hang over
just to go down to the coffee shop each night
and get manhandled at my game of Scrabble
how I did this all summer long
until one evening I finally beat my opponent
and it was the happiest I’d been all summer
maybe even all of my life
well, my friend didn’t care much for the story
he said, “listen, man. When I lose to you here,
I go over to the bar and start in on the whiskey.
I get very drunk there and go home
and fight with my girlfriend. I wake up in the morning
and I feel like shit and then come your text messages
your nagging phone calls. It has to stop.”
just then I looked down at my letters
realized I could play the word PATHETIC
for a high scoring bingo
I put the tiles on the board and smiled
he stood up and smashed his fist on the table
sent the game flying
and since then we don’t play Scrabble anymore

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