For several years now my three best friends and I have shared a text leaderboard that tracks our daily New York Times mini crossword times. It’s a way to get our brains moving in the morning and a fun way to maintain daily contact. If one of us has a particularly speedy time we’ll exchange messages like ‘this girl is on fire’ with a Gif to match. If there’s a tie between two of us, one tie-er might text ‘pinch a Pepsi’ and the other will respond ‘owe me a Coke’. Or a simple ‘jinx’. It’s silly fun but it’s one way that sustains our fifty-plus year friendship. I’m also on another leaderboard with my son but he smokes me almost every day (Mom: 1:07/Jake:17 was a recent score). I like to attribute much of his success to his Gen X ability to text using his thumbs, while I am hopelessly stuck in an index finger world. Oh but there’s a new love in my life and like any nascent love it’s the first thing that I think of when I wake up in the morning, the last thing before bed and I dream about my love all day long.
“Popcorn leaps, popping from the floor,
of a hot black skillet
and into my mouth.”
These are the opening lines of the Maya Angelou poem, ‘I Love the Look of Words’. As a word freak I’ve always loved this poem. Lately however, these lines have been on a loop in my mind, only ‘I Love the Look of Words’ has been supplemented with ‘I Love the Look of Five-letter Words.’ Ahh Wordle, how I’ve fallen in love with you.
In short, to play Wordle you get 6 tries to guess a 5 letter word. No clues. Just start. Green is good, yellow is okay, grey is bad. You can google for more instructions but that’s pretty much it. You need to type Wordle into a search engine every day and it leads you to a UK web address. There’s no app. No way to subscribe. It’s free. The guy who invented it-as a gift to his word-game loving girlfriend- is a software engineer from Brooklyn named Josh Wardle. I love how he named it Wordle. I don’t quite get the connection to a UK address but once I click on it the daily game pops up. I think there’s also a way to access it on Twitter too but Twitter and me?.. eh..not so much.
“Have you tried Wordle?” I ask people at the gym, neighbors, my cousins and friends.
Former students post their results on Facebook and I circle back to exchange hints and strategies with them. I thank the one of the afore-mentioned besties who introduced us to it because now this has become part of our daily text routine. I’ve gotten my son and his wife addicted. Again, it’s a way to keep us connected and gives us other topics of conversation besides grandchildren, sports, gossip and tv (all of which we discuss in depth as well.)
It is true that your world can become smaller as you age. You can find yourself walking in the same steps every day: life can easily become boring. So I push myself to explore new things when the mood strikes. In spite of not being an outdoorsy type, today I asked a woman at the gym if she’d ever like to go on a hike. We’re planning it as soon as the weather warms up a bit. In the meantime, Wordle awaits me in the morning.
January 17, 2022