April 11, 2010

E tu, Mattel?

Even you, Mattel? You allow this change to our game, Scrabble. We nerds don't have much, and the PBS funding keeps getting cut.

David Montgomery of the Washington Post reported last week that "Mattel was announcing a new kind of Scrabble that would permit the use of proper nouns."

According to Montgomery, who cited British press accounts that "rules of the basic Scrabble were being changed for the first time since they were codified in 1948."

A Mattel spokeswoman not identified in any of the accounts, told the press, "We believe that people who are already fans of the game will enjoy the changes." She also disclosed that Mattel thought fans of the original game will still want to play, and they will continue to sell the familiar brown box.

I tried to reach my eighty-two year old aunt who lives near Boston. She is about the champion Scrabble player of all time, at least in Bedford, MA. On a Sunday afternoon she's probably trouncing some challengers at her lovely retirement home west of Boston.

New to this facility, she's a "ringer." Some other ladies ask her gingerly to play with them, and asked her if she is "good at the game." She said, "about average." (Can't you just picture Bart Maverick answering the same question with a slight wink, "Do you play cards?")

Those unsuspecting ladies won't know what hit them. And if I could talk to Auntie about the changes to the game, I'm sure she would state a resounding "Balderdash." She would not condone the use of proper nouns.

I guess our family will just have to hold on tightly to our memories, like the time in 1998 when our eight-year-old son beat Auntie with a triple word score on "oyster."