The Confession of a Junky

“Words, words, words! My words fly up, my thoughts remain below. Words without thought never to Heaven go.”
— Shakespeare, “Hamlet”

Oh dear! At age eighty, I’ve become addicted! No, not to drugs or alcohol, although I do enjoy occasionally enjoy champagne, wine or a Margarita. However, I do understand what an addiction is.
A group of my high school girlfriends smoked clandestinely. We thought that we were so cool that we called ourselves — wait for it — “The Nine Nifty Nicitinos.” I became a two-pack-a-day addict. I quit cold turkey in my late forties when a vascular surgeon said following an angioplasty, “If you don’t stop smoking, I guarantee you’ll be back on this table in a year with another tube up your femoral artery.” Eek!
I want a cigarette . . . I want a cigarette . . . I want a cigarette right now! One is never completely free of an addiction. Tobacco contains an upper, and I was happier when I smoked. I dare not take a single puff lest I become enslaved again. Fortunately, as soon as my mind moves on to something else, I’ll forget about cigarettes.
Addiction comes in many forms, be it drugs, alcohol, eating too much or not enough, gambling, television, or sex. Some people lay their phones next to their plates while at a restaurant or watch them constantly while watching television or conversing. I read an amusing account by a “Knightstown Banner” writer about how a girl who ran into his car in a gas station parking lot while texting a friend in the back seat! Then there’s the sad tale of former Congressman Wiener.
I felt smugly superior to the Facebook and Internet games addicts. No siree, I wouldn’t use my precious time goggling at a fancy telephone or iPad! I never played games on my laptop, and I’m only a Facebook voyeur — I watch, but never initiate anything.
My grandson, Chris, and his wife, Tasha, dragged me into cyberspace by giving me an iPad. I must admit that it’s wonderful. They set me up with FaceTime so that I can see them and my precious great-granddaughter when we chat, as well as other family members. I found pictures of the hotel where we stayed in Paris. I can access my e-mail from it.
They also installed Scrabble on the pad, and therein lies my tale. I love words. My sister, Christine Jones, and I were vicious Scrabblers, but I had rarely played after her death. Electronic Scrabble is awesome! You can move tiles around on the grid to experiment with words, and it has an excellent dictionary. It refuses to let you play incorrect words, and it shows the players’ scores.
It all started so simply with Chris, Tasha, grandson Tony, Vicki and friend Jana. However, the system also shows the pictures and average word scores of people who are looking for opponents. I started playing with some of them, including a woman who lives in Tasmania. One thing led to another, and now I’m swamped with games.
The program sucks you in by asking both players at the end of a game if they want to play again. It appeals to one’s competitive nature by the count of losses and and wins and lists people’s standing. Even though I greatly enjoy the game, do I want to devote so much of my precious, limited time to it?
My nephew, John Jones, understands. He said, “One of my sons started me playing Yatzee which was fine. Then other relatives joined in, then their friends. My phone signaled whenever someone made a move, and I felt obliged to respond. Then I realized that I was being ruled by an electronic device. I had had enough. One day my son called and asked why I hadn’t moved, and I said, ‘That’s because I quit.’”
Meanwhile, I’m wondering how to respond to a devilish, high-scoring word that an opponent has played. Help!