I thought I knew how to play Scrabble before I met Tom, but I learned that, like most people, I had a very limited view of that game. The rules of the game as designed have each player pitting his spelling and strategical skills against that of 1 or more opponents with the purpose of acquiring the highest number of points.
Competing against people, Tom told me early in our relationship, has always been an act he found in opposition to an individual's best interest - and those of groups also. The game of Scrabble is an example of how more total points and enjoyment can be had when those playing work together.
We look forward to our minimum one game of Scrabble with each cottage visit. We sit on the same side of the board - open on the old trunk which serves as a coffee table - and place the 7 tiles we each draw on the 2 holders in front of us. Who goes first is inconsequential since an increased total number of points over previous games is the object. (Usually whoever went first last time defers for the next game.) We confer over the tiles visible, considering what immediate and subsequent use of the letters will yield the best total score in the long run. Frequently short words are used as "building blocks" for later longer words thus making multiple use of the same tiles, especially score-smart with high point letters.
Use of the dictionary is encouraged as a way to learn new words rather than as a tool by which to challenge an opponent or defend one's own position. And the clock is ignored during these games; just leave the board, do tasks or go to sleep, and come back to play some more later.
The game of Scrabble when played as Tom and I do represents to me how much of life should - and can - be among individuals. Reality deals us certain situations, like the letter tiles. We can in the long run, learn and enjoy more when we work cooperatively with non-coercive others rather than compete for the short term high score. I wish I'd known of Tom's version of Scrabble (and certain card games too) many years ago. There would have been far more pleasurable times spent with siblings, friends, and other loved ones while learning that facing reality does *not* mean a choice between beat or be beaten.
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