Friday, February 10, 2006

Game on!

My relationship with my dad is not complicated. He was never an absentee father, he always has time for me, he has always been a good dad. Sure, we fight about why I’m not better with money or better at math, but for the most part, we get along. We make each other laugh and complain about work. It’s fun. My dad is cool.

He’s not the dad who will try and intimidate guys I’m dating who come to the house to meet my parents. My dad is the kind of guy you can put in any social situation and by the end, he will have met a few people and know all about what they do. He asks questions and pays attention and really listens to people because he’s genuinely interested in what they have to say. He’s big on learning – he likes to learn.

My dad is the consummate teaser. At my house, you will tease or you will be teased. We will immediately spot the weak ones in the pack and if you aren’t quick with a comeback, well, it’s the end for you. I’m surprised my brother isn’t permanently scarred as he was an easy target as a child. Like the time we were on a road trip and we were at a deserted gas station and my brother was peeing off to the side and so my dad waited until he was mid stream and started to drive away. Man, that was a good one. Seriously though – we’re not mean. Relentless and hilarious, yes. Mean, no.

He’s not the dad who lets you win at games so you feel good about yourself. Oh no. He’d beat you and then make you feel bad because you suck. Not in a mean way, but like “I can’t believe the score of this ping pong game was 21-3 and I was even playing you with my LEFT HAND.” And it worked. Because I’m ultra competitive, I folded one side of the ping pong table up and practiced ALL THE TIME. I’ll tell you what, it was a big day when I played my dad and he had to use his right hand. And an even bigger day when I beat him. He would hide the last piece of the puzzle so that he could be the one to finish it. I caught on to that and started hiding two. So he’d hide three. And it went on like that until the puzzle would be halfway done but all the pieces would mysteriously be gone.

Our biggest deal is Scrabble. When we play Scrabble, it’s serious business. I can’t remember when we started playing, but I got trounced more times than I can count. However, the more we played, the better I got. And the day that I beat my dad was like the best day EVER. He’s the smartest guy I know and I beat him at Scrabble. Woo hoo!! We played again (because he also hates to lose) and he beat me. But that one time, I won. I’ve won a few times since and of course I’m like “Wow. What a fluke! I can’t believe I won. Ha ha ha ha ha ha! I mean, good game. HA!” My dad also taught me the fine art of the post-game gloat.

If you know much about Scrabble, you know that while “Q” is a super high-point letter, it’s also a big fat pain because for the most part, you can’t use it unless you have a “U”. So when we find Q words that don’t require a U, well, we latch on and use it at all possible opportunities. Like the word “qat”. Excellent Q word. Yesterday I was reading “News of the Weird” and there was a piece about the World Scrabble Championship and they mentioned the word “Qanat”*. So of course I emailed the story to my dad. Here’s what he said:
“If you are going to use qanat, then I am going to use qanatic.....which means a fanatic of qanat......which means I use all seven of my letters.........which means I get the 50 bonus points........which means "I WIN" !!!!”

I don’t think so. So I wrote him back:
“Oh yeah? Well I will build off the "I" in "qanatic" and spell "bigjerk" - and oh my! Is that a triple word score?”

And not to be outdone, the last word from my dad:
“OK, crybaby.....qanatic is not really a word, but I tried. Please go to Google and type in qanat for the definition and you will see that the "ic" probably can't be added on the end.......I confess, I tried to pull on over on you!.....I win anyway!”

Ok dad, I’ll let you win…but just this once and just because I’m feeling nice today.
Oh, and maybe because I love you! But just this one time. I mean, I'll always love you, but I won't always concede a win in Scrabble. Just so you know.

* Qanat: a gently sloping underground tunnel for irrigation purposes, esp. in ancient Persia. In case you were wondering.


Pusher Robot said...

Just for the record, I've always been a little qanataphobic :)

lil'bitty said...

I am sooo going to use qanat next time I play scrabble with Mommy and Daddy, will they ever be mad. I can't even type q without trying to follow it with a u. Your Dad sounds pretty cool, My Daddy is like that too. Cool Daddies are awesome.

Girl Next Door said...

In high school we called making out in the car 'scrabble' ... guess that doesn't get you as many points as qanant or equestrian or whatever it was.


Cheryl said...

That is too funny! I remember when I beat my best friend's dad in a game, it was the highlight of my weekend. I still take pride in it.

Alice said...

heh, take away the scrabble, and you've got my dad to a t :-) as a civil engineer, he can totally beat us all at, say "spacial reasoning: the game" but my mom (the writer) is the scrabble champ in my family.

however, the teaser? totally my dad. my poor little sister took like 15 yrs to catch on.. he had a lot of fun at her expense :-)

Hope said...

Funny, I just started writing a post about how Not-competitive I am. Somewhere along the line I totally didn't get the competitive gene. I like to play Scrabble, but only because I like the challenge of trying to spell big words with my letters, which, in the end, usually get me very little points.

My dad is also a teaser and very smart. Our dads should be friends! :-p

dasi said...

Your dad sounds like a lot of fun!! And I can’t think of anything more to say than that… I know, I’m lame… ;)

Whinger said... should TOTALLY read "Word Freak" about all the Scrabble champions and the words they study, etc.

You could totally beat him after that all the time.

Sass said...

The apple doesn't fall far does it?

Have a great weekend Amber.

Romeo Jensen said...

OMGaaawd... your dad even emails???
I got an email from my Danish cousin Maria and she said to tell dad hi... my dad (please dont laugh... its sad but its true) my dad actually leaned towards the monitor and said "Hej Maria." (hello maria in Danish... thank you Mr. Obvious)

I guess dad thought she could hear him like it was a big telephone... thats the story Im going with because the only other plausible explanation is that dad actually thought Maria was INSIDE the computer (hey... how do you think intel's cousin feels? see... Im not as dumb as I look)

anyway... Im just kinda curious... wait made you post about your dad and why did you feel the need to tell us you're not close yet from everything you wrote... you're this big effin daddy's girl... I want an explanation ambo!!!

post it... make it happen :)

Jill said...

I once memorized all the q words that didn't require a u, just to be prepared. But I've forgotten them.

Amber said...

Ahhhhh Romey -- I didn't say we aren't CLOSE, I said our relationship isn't COMPLICATED. Different.

Because yes. I am a spoiled daddy's girl.

Mr. Fabulous said...

For a long time I was able to boast that I had never been beaten in a two player game of scrabble. And I was able to do so for several years. Then I met a girl who beat me. So I married her.

Marie said...

I love your post about you and your dad! I can relate very much, except for the Scrabble. ;) The competitiveness, however, was always there when we played games. lol

C. said...

Daddy's love their girls! And thanks for the qanat definition.. I will use tat word the next time I play my mom in Scabble.. I have such a headache! Hope you're having a good weekend babe!


Kyahgirl said...

great post Amber. You and your Dad are so lucky.
I work with a Scrabble fanatic. I'll have to tell her about qanat.

Miladysa said...

Your Dad sounds wonderful and your mum too. They passed their qualities on to their wonderful children!

I am going to use Qanat when I next play scrabble and quote your blog as the reference :)

Kris said...

I love positive family stories. :)

The Husband said...

my older sister is amazing at scrabble. she scores like 400 points everytime. you ever heard of the book "Word Freak"? its suppose to be great. scrabble has like a cult following...its insane.

Timmortal said...

I want to stick my head in a qanat.

Chief Slacker said...

if you ever need a tune up game give me a yell and we can play some online scrabble ;O)