I’m not quite sure when it started, but our family has a tradition of following holiday meals with a game of some sort. In the past it’s been Cranium, SceneIt, Clue, Trivial Pursuit – you name it, we’ve played it. Occasionally, the games will even get a wee bit, ahem, heated – I come by my competitive streak honestly.
I think it’s safe to say that this Christmas we hit a whole new level.
After a few rousing rounds of Catch Phrase, we moved into the dining room for a game of Scrabble. My cousin, my uncle, and then teams of Mama & me, and Daddy & Jud. Everyone was doing well – we all grew up playing Scrabble and doing crossword puzzles with Mamie (my grandmother). And then Mama and I got a “Q” and started plotting how to use it most effectively. Oh, was that a Triple Word Score that just opened up? Why yes, yes it was. And down goes our word, two letters, thirty-three points: qi.
What? You don’t think it counts? That’s okay, neither did anyone in my family. (Except Mama – she totally had my back.)
In fact, I was getting yelled at, not just by my brother, whose competitive streak rivals mine, but also by my father, the usually calm voice of reason! He kept arguing that “qi” isn’t in his Scrabble dictionary (which, I recently found out, was published circa 1980 – and that’s generous) and that it wasn’t valid. Since I’m clearly too stubborn to take the word back so as to avoid a family feud, they challenged, and this is what we found from the official online Scrabble dictionary:
the vital force that in Chinese thought is inherent in all things
Oh, how I love to be right.
Fortunately, the game was over soon after that, a blessing, because unfortunately, even with the official ruling, my dad and brother were still acting like 10-year-olds who’d been cheated out of a win. I tried to let it drop, we drove home without mentioning it, and my brother (surprisingly enough) apologized later that night. I appreciated the apology, though I didn’t really need it, and I frankly forgot about it until yesterday.
Now remember, this happened on Christmas. As in, last Thursday.
Cut to Monday, around 5pm, just as I’m getting ready to leave the office. My phone rings, and I answer it professionally, even though I think I recognize one of my dad’s office numbers. Whew, it’s him. After a little chitchat about how AMAZING the Eagles game was, he says, “Well, I know you’re heading out, but I just wanted to apologize.” Huh?
Liebchen: “Apologize for what? Should I be mad at you?”
Daddy: “For the Scrabble game. I shouldn’t have acted like that. I’m just used to the old school rules and dictionary.”
Liebchen: “Really? It’s okay. I’d completely forgotten about that by this point.”
Liebchen: “Wait a minute. You thought I was still mad at you and you waited ’til NOW to apologize?”
Daddy: “Yeah, I had to think about it.”
Hm. Well, apparently I come by my stubborn streak honestly, too.
Stubborn and competitive – this can only end in tears.