Let Me Spell This Out For You

My generation had it hard when we were kids. Use of seat belts wasn’t mandatory. We drank whole milk, we ate white bread, we played with toys that actually shot things at other people.

AND WE DIDN’T GET TO USE PROPER NAMES WHEN PLAYING SCRABBLE.

In case you have no idea what I’m on about (which my wife would say gives the two of you a lot in common),
the makers of Scrabble are changing the rules to allow the use of proper names.  What was once a desperate search for something to do with the letter N, H, J and O is about to become, “Oh look, JOHN.”

Now some might say this is just petulant crankiness coming out, but they’re probably dropping XUXA on a triple word score.  I had to work for my Scrabble scores.  I had to scour a dictionary, not a phone book.  Now the damn board is going to look like the TV Guide crossword puzzle, and all those wonderful odd words you learned thanks to the game — words like NE and OE and GU — are going to be replaced with ED and AL and JO.

We seem to be expecting less and less of our kids, like we want to cocoon them until they’re 18 yet somehow expect them to be well-adjusted adults who can handle things like adversity despite never being allowed to experience it growing up.  They get trophies just for participating, and play Little League games where they don’t keep score.  But can you really know how to succeed if you don’t know what it’s like to fail?  I don’t think so.  And that extends to getting your ass handed to you by some kid who somehow pulls PZAZZES out of the bad on the opening draw and not being able to respond by dropping QUENTIN.

OK.  Fine. It’s just a game.  But do we have to dumb down everything?  What’s wrong with a little challenge?  I suppose next they’ll make rent optional in Monopoly, make every call a hit in Battleship, and add toothbrushes to Candyland.

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