Saturday, March 3, 2012

My entry into the 2012 Erma Bombeck Humor Writing Contest was slammed into the jusdges' trash cans with more velocity than a Blake Griffin dunk through an orange NBA rim.

So once again, I'm a LOSER. I should have known. My 22 year old daugher didn't get it. My wife kindly cautioned: "I guess I just don't think it's that funny."

I tried to appeal to the largely female judging panel by talking about my inner "Texas-high-school-cheer-mom" and stuff like that, hoping they'd think I was a woman (I forgot that strategy when I started talking about my wife later on).

Then I hoped that writing about Words With Friends would appeal to the word-geeek side of the judges, but then I guess that backfired too. Oh well, at least the contest gave me an excuse to write and made me jettison a lumbering 500 words from a previous blog post on the same topic.

So that I can end a two month posting drought on this blog, I'll post my contest entry here. The esteemed winners' entries are posted at the following link:

My heartfelt congratulations and strangulations go out to them....
All's Fair in Words With Friends
I’m compulsively obsessed with Words With Friends. It’s the electronic version of Scrabble, and it’s turned me into someone I no longer recognize. The game has caused me to contemplate heretofore unthinkable things—like  cheating or opening a dictionary.

Words With Friends, like another WWF—the World Wrestling Federation, is simply raw, bone-crushing and contorted competition.  It brings out my inner Texas-high-school-cheer-mom, and prevents me from carrying out important daily activities like working, sleeping, or going to the bathroom.

Words With Friends particularly interferes with my work day, which has now been reduced to something akin to a kindergarten recess. Well-meaning people, who are theoretically contributing to our country’s gross domestic product, send me game requests and make moves all the business day long.  And unlike Alec Baldwin’s flight attendant, these requests and moves are difficult to ignore.

Last week while I was on a conference call, I put this guy on speaker phone while I scoured my computer screen for a place to put my “Q.” At a critical juncture on the call the guy asked me a question to which I started to shout “Quasar!”

But this crazy game doesn’t just hamper my work productivity. A dangerous feature of Words With Friends is that there are no pesky time limits in between moves. So after scoring a Triple Letter/Triple Word, I have ample time to go mow the lawn, make nachos, or vacation in Paris. All this anonymity and “down time” is fraught with danger, however, as it allows me to dream sketchy dreams like buying black market vowels from a Colombian vowel-Lord.
My depravity is fully unleashed when I play my wife. She is a wordsmith, par excellence, so I will resort to all manner of deceptive practices in my attempts to beat her. Last week while she was in the shower, I happened to walk by her computer and behold, there before me was the game we were playing against one another.  I seized the opportunity and made an especially skillful move on her behalf.  
Can I help it if her only play—“IT”—is only worth two points?

Me later: “Honey, haven’t we discussed you not logging off and leaving your computer unattended?  And, let’s not miss the point—most people shower well before 3:15 p.m. on weekdays.”

I highly recommend Words With Friends, unless you have burdensome demands on your life such as a job or family. If not, then indulge yourself, but don’t let the intensity of the competition change who you are at your core.

It’s time for me to run. I’ve got a 10 o’clock with a Proper Noun who represents a Consonant Cartel.

About Greg: 
When not brokering commercial real estate in Missouri, Greg Finley scribbles about business, sports, and life in the country at .  He’s been published in  the Wall Street Journal under a headline entitled For Sale: Staples-Anchored Shopping Center in Rolla, Missouri. Perhaps his greatest work of fiction was crafted while serving as the lead author of the 1988 Olathe, Kansas Comprehensive Plan. It was during this project that he was accused of feeding at the public trough. Indeed he was. While in college, Greg once missed a 49 ½ yard field goal wide right by a hair. This event has been responsible for decades of night sweats. He lives in the Kansas City hinterlands with his wife and five children.