Thursday, May 29, 2008

As Good As It Gets


"Oh, this is going to be go-od!" My husband laughs as he rearranges the letters on his tray. Slowly, he adds his letters to the T already on the board, spelling out T-R-I-U-M-P-H. "That's triple so, um, 42 points," he announces and scribbles his score on the back of the envelope we're using to keep score.

I frown and look back at my tray. "You are going down!" I bluff. Let's see. I've got three A's, a D, a couple Os, and an I. I scan the board, looking for places where I can form some sort of recognizable or at least arguable English word. First, I look for places where I have the opportunity to triple, or at least, double my score. Barring that, I'll try to triple or double a letter. It'd have to be the D. That's the only one I have that's worth anything.

A few months ago, I picked up an old game of SCRABBLE at the local thrift store. Ironically, despite my predilection for the written word, I'd never played. In the midst of reruns and American Idol, my husband and I turned off the television and played a game. An hour and a half later, after talking, trying to beat each other with made up words and mock threats, we tallied up the score, cleared away our letters and realized it was 11pm. The next night, as soon as the boys went to sleep, our eyes met. Scrabble?

We've debated pulling the plug on the boob tube, canceling cable, cutting back on TV many times. The idea of giving up television, though, never seemed to work. I realized, as I scrambled my pathetic assortment of letters, that we haven't watched much of anything in the last few weeks. We're so busy connecting, making words from a random mix of letters, that we've not even thought about the black screen lurking in the living room.

To me, this is exactly what the simple living or APLS movement is about. It is not about cutting back, giving up, living less, making sacrifices. That is a no win way of thinking. Instead, we need to focus on what we gain.

By playing a game instead of blanking out in front of the television, we develop a connection, exercise our brains, laugh, and embrace healthy competition. Getting on my bike instead of into the car lets me enjoy the outdoors, the wind in my face, the sound of birds and wheels whirring and the benefit of a workout without the gym. Making homemade jam, rather than turning to store bought, gives me an hour of solitude, of meditation and the ability to taste memories months after they were made. Shopping the farmers' market brings friends, fresh food and an appreciation of the seasons and line drying my clothes is a yoga-inspired communion with nature.

To go back to that other way of living - where things are done for me, where things are "convenient" and entertainment is cord-fed - that would be a sacrifice. I look down at my letters one last time and smile. I'd found an errant G on the board and line up my Os and D next to it. G-O-O-D. My husband may beat me at this game every time but, in all honesty, this is as good as it gets.

22 comments:

Julia said...

I love - but LOVE - Scrabble! It is one of the best ways of passing an evening that I can think of. My husband and I don't have a TV; back when he moved a few years ago, he lent his big-screen TV to a friend, and we've since then made the very conscious decision not to take it back. The evenings are so nice! Talking, reading, listening to radio shows of yore (and less yore), playing Scrabble, doing puzzles, making bread together... Occasionally we get the hankering to watch a movie, so we rent a DVD and watch it on our computer. Other than that, though, I would say that not having a television is one of the nicest things about our lifestyle.

Heather @ SGF said...

How fun! I haven't played Scrabble in years!

eco 'burban mom said...

I agree, the luxury of being able to choose what to give up and what to keep is a priveledge. Even in this tough economy, I still have the means to choose the slightly more expensive recycled paper towel versus the regular.

But, I still feel that the paper towel is something I can give up and be even happier. As I am finding out not "needing" to rush out to buy paper towels, bottled tea, packaged lunch box items is actually more of a luxury that I realized. I am finding myself with more time too, and that is the greatest wealth of all!

Somethings, such as my TiVo or internet or dishwasher, allow me more time to spend gardening, reading and most importantly - spending time with the boys. And that I would never want to give up!

spelled with a K said...

Being fully cognisant of my addiction I applaud your desire to pull the plug. Its funny, or rather sad, I have a reputation for being the guy in the room who is easier to describe by what he wont than what he will, and my achillies heel is the idiot box for sure. Best of luck.

Wendy said...

I love this post, and agree. It's not about "giving up", because that implies sacrificing, and learning to live more simply isn't about sacrificing anything. It's about enjoying life and taking pleasure in things like playing a game of Scrabble (where I beat my husband with a final score of 407 to something much smaller ;).

I've been contemplating tossing the tube for a long time, too. I've just been trying to convince my husband that it's an Albatross rather than a necessity. He doesn't agree, yet, but we have been spending less time in front of the tube, and more time doing other things.

Chile said...

You are a wise woman, Green Bean.

katecontinued said...

This post is such a great counter balance to Chile Chews addiction challenge. I keep coming back to the word freedom when I think of letting go of the 'cord fed' life. BTW, I am telling you right now that I need to steal that phrase, it's perfect. (Watch for it.)

My neighbor is a scrabble player and has hosted a couple of evenings. I didn't join and your post makes me re-evaluate.

CindyC said...

Awesome! I totally forgot about Scrabble. My in-laws (who love games) have been introducing us to dominoes and I just learned how to play Mexican Train but it takes more than 2 players. Gotta go dig in the in-laws attic for Scrabble now...

Joanna said...

We have no TV. Sometimes we get tempted but quickly realise that the TV would be a bad addition to our home.
We play games, read aloud, solve problems, just talk and talk and talk about every subject. It's a very peaceful slowed down existance.
Everyone should try it, especially if you've got kids. Our little ones have no clue whats popular or new. They have the most enormous capacity for creativity. Today they have played without stopping for anything more than food and a quick cuddle.
Go for it!

CindyW said...

I want to know which treasure trove thrifty store you go to :) You seem to find good stuff there all the time. I have a furniture consignment store near me. That's about it.

arduous said...

I LOVE Scrabble. Of course, I mostly play it online on Facebook.... Also I get really competitive. Also last time I was playing Scrabble a lot, it sucked away all of my free time so I had to quit. But maybe just one game? Just one more 85 point word?

Debbie said...

We spent this past long weekend at our camp which does not have a TV and what a relaxing weekend it was - we read, colored with my new crayons(and the youngest person there was 22),cooked delicious meals and played Progressive Rummy - which is habit forming. We also love Scrabble. It is interesting that once we get back home the boob tube gets turned on and our brain and creativity gets turned off. Sad. I think it is time for change.

Donna said...

That sounds like my favorite way to spend an evening! I grew up in a family that played board games, but I married into a family that doesn't. I'm looking forward to when Andrew is old enough to enjoy a little friendly competition. I have a feeling he'll someday beat me!

Melissa said...

cindy - try the dominoes with two people...we do it; it takes a while to get through a game but it's one of our favorites. We also rediscovered "Master Mind" a few weeks back and have been having tons of fun with that one. I always have a tough time selling the idea of a night with no tv, but we always enjoy it once we actually switch it off.

kale for sale said...

I love playing Scrabble too but I do it on the computer - the cute guy is not a game person. For several months I was gone with it and now I dabble while photos are uploading or downloading. It's perfect. I'm far too easily addicted to television to have it and have been without for as long as I remember. Serious sessions with DVD's a few times a year is plenty. We get our fill and are done with it and then back to our books and life's meanderings. Triumph - that was a good word.

pink dogwood said...

I love scrabble - my husband is very competitive and drives me crazy when he takes too long to think his maximum point word - I guess we should use a timer :)

Theresa said...

I love Scrabble. The smoothness of the tiles and the 'clack' sound they make when you move them around on their little rack. The anticipation of drawing the new tiles out of the bag. The elation at seeing the perfect spot for the perfect word.

We like to do 'theme' scrabble at our house - we pick a theme like 'movies' or 'gardening' or something and then any word that is related to that gets double points. There's just nothing better than a good ol' game of Scrabble!

Robj98168 said...

Never play scrabble without an unabridged dictionary- that way qua becomes a word!
Have Fun!

Green Bean said...

Thank you all. It would be wonderful to ditch the TV for good but, like Spelled with a K, my husband loves his TV. In the meantime, scrabble or any game beats television any night of the week.

Green Bean said...

Oh, and Arduous, WHY am I not surprised that you are the competitive sort. 85 points! Gesh! Don't ever come play over here.

Theresa, cool idea. We'll have to try that.

Jennifer said...

How lovely! I spent all last week playing scrabble on a back porch with my husband and inlaws... so much fun!

I love board games... we have a chess set set up in our living room, and a bevy of games in the laundry room... trivial pursuit (the old versions) is a favorite!

ruralaspirations said...

Beautiful, as always. You've inspired me to get out our Scrabble game!

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...