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March 26, 2012

We Need To Talk About Boggle

In times of heightened stress, my release-valve pastimes include wine drinking, TV viewing, experimenting with new and unusual make-up products, and playing online Boggle. When the stress is very intense you may find me doing all these activities all at the same time. That is power multi-tasking, right there, and it makes me feel proud to have lived in an era when I can bring so many great inventions together at one time to form a warm cocoon of solitude.

Next time you're in a stress tsunami, try it: sipping pinot with newly-painted nails while playing Boggle and watching a re-run of Law & Order from 1995. It's like all the good things throwing a party in your life at one time.

However, my perfect plan of brain smoothification is being hijacked by the Boggle Fakers. And Boggle Fakers, I am on to you. Corey and I recently got into a deeply heated phone conversation about the Boggle Fakers.

"She played hem, eft, fer, eth and rheme all in a row! You know that MamaIsabel from St. Louis doesn't walk around using eft and fer in a sentence all day! She's faking it!" I am practically hollering this to Corey.

"Of course she's faking, what fucker on planet earth walks around using tiro, rotte, thir and fes as words?" asked Corey. She's taking notes, trying to make sense of the Boggle Faker strategy.

"OH," I said, dripping with indignation. "They just want to win, but win what? The fake word game? Have they no shame!" I am really on a soapbox now. I can't stop.

"Certainly not Charles from Tampa! Charles from Tampa with his string of fakes including fehs, sei, ais, inti, thirl and sta. Come to my house, Charles," I'm raising my mighty voice of change now, "I'll sta your ass! Or maybe I'll fehs it, but only if that means kick, hard!"

Corey sighed in righteous agreement.

"The worst part of all this, Corey, is that he beat me by a single point!" I was whining, woeful, and deeply wronged. "I used all real words, he used almost all fakes. It isn't fair!"

And because she is a good and true friend who knows my deep pain, Corey responded with the only thing that would help:

"I hope he gets a bad case of itching, burning sta real soon! With Fehs hives!"

First world problems, ladies. I got 'em.

You see, in online Boggle you can play against other real humans. This adds an element of excitement and competition to the game that you don't get from playing against your computer. For one thing, it feels amazing to crush the Boggle soul of a stranger while drinking wine and hearing the Law & Order theme song. But it also feels good to meet a worthy competitor who keeps you on your toes and makes your brain stretch for those five- and six-letter words. I have lost and lost with honor to many Bogglers who play real words and got an honest win off me.

In every game I straight up abide by the unspoken Boggle Rule: only play words you can actually define or use in a sentence. Those are real words. I play REAL WORDS. I don't game the system, randomly punching in a series a letters hoping they make a word ... like you, MomofTwo from Columbus, Ohio. And I don't play words that are fakes even though Boggle will accept them (I'm looking at you, Joe from New Zealand.) We all make fat finger mistakes, so of course in every game there's a margin of error, but it's small, maybe six words and under. And you may think I can't tell you're gaming the system BUT I CAN. That means you, Lynnda from Daytona Beach!!

And it's not just about losing. I often beat my opponents, even the fakers. But it's a hollow win with a faker. If I can only recognize four of your 29 words as real words, and yet I have a list of 32 real words that any average English-speaking human would know are words, then did you just lose to me ... or did you not even try at all?

By the way! If you're composing a mental missive right this second about what is a fake or not fake word, I encourage you to buy Boggle, start playing and get back to me in four days time. Outrage is contagious. You may find it even more addictive than political outrage. Yet so much more meaningful!

And while we are on the subject and you are already judging me anyway for being so on my high horse about The Great Boggle Situation of Never, I want to know why the game will accept the word "tit" but not the word "tits." Though both teat and teats are acceptable.

Arse is acceptable, but ass is not a recognized word.

After we send all the Fake Bogglers to Boggle Jail, I totally want to meet the standards and practices writer for Hasbro. You know it was someone's job to sit in a room and decide which words would be permitted and which words would be too filthy. (Porn does not make the cut, but booger is acceptable.) Call me, Boggle word monitor. Let's have a drink. Bring only your tit, not your tits, because tits are unacceptable!

And so there you have it, my world, my problems. You may have been wondering what missive of brilliance would come forth here on this website after weeks of silence, and yeah, this is it. Full bore crazy and some Boggle. Gauntlets have been thrown. Laws will be passed or not passed. Wine will be drunk and drunken. I will shake my tiny fist of rage.

Later I will probably play some solitaire.

Posted by laurie at 10:09 PM