Monday, January 9, 2012

Why I don’t play Words With Friends

Was there ever a time in your life when you just knew—with all certainty, beyond any shadow of a doubt—that you had best not try something if you knew what was good for you?

If you’re like me, you’ve hit those crossroads a time or two in your life. Once in a while, you may have done whatever-it-was anyway. Other times, it was a “Nah, not worth it.” And, then there were those times when you just knew, “If I cross that bridge, there is no coming back, never, no way, no how.”

Been there, done that. Hit each of these crossroads a time or two.

Done whatever-it-was-anyway?

The video arcade game Centipede.

It was the spring of 1982. I was pregnant with my youngest daughter. The grocery store where I worked had a couple of video games, and I found Centipede—or it found me. I’d tried Ms PacMan, but I’ll be honest with you. When they were handing out coordination, I must have been on a break or something. I missed my serving, so Ms PacMan wasn’t for me.

Centipede, though, was a different thing. As I played it … and played it … and played it, I got better and better and better. I’d play it on my lunch hours. I’d play it for a while after work and I’d probably still be playing it now, if it weren’t for the daughter I had the summer of that year.

After six weeks off work, my Centipede skills had slipped a bit. Okay, they’d slipped a lot.

And, besides that, this cute little girl was waiting for me to come breastfeed her on my lunch break and after work. I figured it was better to feed the kid than to shoot at the centipedes. Wouldn’t want the poor kid starving, now, would I?

And, besides that, I didn’t want to have to tell my husband or the sitter that I’d used up the diaper money on a video game.

“Nah, not worth it.”


Didn’t have to think twice about that. I know a lot of people my age tried it. And, some said they didn't inhale. R-i-i-i-g-h-t...

I didn’t know if smoking pot was a “cross that bridge, you’re not coming back.” I did know it was a bridge I didn’t want to cross at all. If I looked at someone cross-eyed, I got caught, so I sure the heck wasn’t about to do something illegal and have to explain to my parents why I thought I needed to do it.

Anyway, I knew I didn’t need to smoke it. I was silly enough without consuming something to make me sillier.

But, Words with Friends?

I can’t go there.

I know I can’t, and here’s why.

I love words. I really, really, really love words. I’m addicted to words – the way they look on a page, the way you can weave them together to tell stories, express your love or thank someone for their kindness or for reading what you’ve written.

If I started playing with words with my friends, I’d be up before the break of day, playing long after I should have showered and begun my day’s work, skipping lunch, neglecting supper and laundry and bills, and forgetting to go to bed.

I’d surely run through all my existing friends, driving them away as I begged, “Oh, c’mon, just one more game,” and I’d be on a mad voyage across the virtual globe making new friends to replace the ones I’d worn out.

Oh, and besides the word “addiction,” there is just one more reason.

I might get beat.

So friends, I love you, but I am a little worried about your words.

© Ann Tracy Mueller 2012

(Image via)


  1. I love your writing so much <3

  2. I love this post Ann....shhhh but I also love Words with Friends. Happy New Year, miss you much!

  3. Thanks,Alex. If I were to play Words with Friends, I'd love playing it with you, and I still think your name would make the best pen name ever. ;-)

    Happy New Year!