My old buddy Stan called shortly after our governor issued a ‘stay at home’ order due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
“I got to get out of here,” he wailed.
“Good grief,” I told him, “it hasn’t been ten minutes since the announcement and the order doesn’t go into effect until midnight.”
Stan is usually unflappable and very few things can rattle him, but after considerable prodding, I finally got him to confess.
“Daphne threatened me.”
He cupped the phone to muffle his words, “………Scrabble.”
“She is demanding we play Scrabble for the entire shutdown and the way I figure it, I only have two options: murder or catching up on her honey-do list.”
“I’d advise the later.”
“But that’s the problem. I only have a week’s worth of work, and the shutdown lasts two weeks, which leaves me an entire week of Scrabble hell.”
I didn’t think it was possible to hear a man shudder over the phone – but I did.
“You want me to talk to Daphne?”
“It’s why I called.”
So I called Daphne.
“Did you threaten Stan with Scrabble?”
“That’s pretty low.”
“Any thought of going back on it?”
“Okay, then at least let him win. Think of it like playing checkers against a five year old. Stan is just a big kid and it drives him nuts to lose.”
“You don’t have to tell me that – but I can’t let him win.”
“Daphne, the world is in a time of crisis and everyone is called upon to make small sacrifices, letting Stan win at Scrabble is your calling.”
“I can’t do it.”
“Because we don’t own a Scrabble game.”
“I know how much you hate it and how your wife threatens you with it, so I borrowed the technique to get some things done around the house.”
“It’s my middle name.”
“Tell me, would you play Scrabble with Stan if you had it?”
“Not in a million years.”
A few days later, my wife called out from her sewing room. “After you finish painting the living room, you can hang those hallway pictures like I’ve been asking you to do for the last six years.”
“Not going to happen.”
“Not going to happen either.”
“and why not?”
“Because I gave our game to Stan and Daphne, it is all they have been talking about.”
A long pause…, (the kind that sends the cats scurrying for cover).
“Then go buy another…”
“We are in lockdown and Scrabble is not considered an essential.”
Somehow I knew what was coming.
“Maybe so Mister, but it’s an essential for you.”