Sunday, March 03, 2013

Curse of the grasshopper

This is the story of a boy who had no friends.  We'll call him... Cone.

Cone lived with his mother.  He was smart.  And even in those early years showed glimpses of the cleverness and impeccable timing that would someday make him one of the most hilarious people he knew.

Cone had but two flaws: An abnormal fear of grasshoppers, to the point where he would not come inside if one was on the screen door.  And he was highly competitive.  Sometimes winning backyard games by such a large margin and in such a dominating fashion that some of the kids would cry.  Especially those who were like five years younger than him.

Some called him a cheater.  Some said he shouldn't take the games so seriously.  Eventually, all of the other neighborhood kids wouldn't let Bone, er, Cone, join in any childhood games.

That's one sad story, eh?  Well, I have a confession:  It's not entirely true.

First of all, the boy's name wasn't Cone.  It's Bone.  And he wasn't a kid.  Well, OK, so that's debatable to some extent.  Also, they weren't childhood games.  They're iPhone games.  And lastly, he doesn't live with his mother.  And hasn't for a few years now, thank you very much!

But the grasshopper part, that's all too true.  I don't trust anything that can jump twenty times its length.  Big-eyed scary hopping freakazoids!

Am I making any sense?  The boy in this story is me!  And I'm running out of friends.

No, not real-life friends.  I never had very many of those in the first place.  But virtual friends, who are willing to play against me in Words With Friends, Scramble With Friends, Matching With Friends, Trivie, Ruzzle, etc.

Just last week, I challenged a friend's wife in Ruzzle.  It's basically the same thing as Boggle.  After one game -- a 2144 to 897 beat down -- she was all like, "You're cheating.  I'm not playing with you anymore.  I'm never gonna win, so what fun is that?"

Is that where this world is headed -- if we don't win, we just throw up our hands and quit?  If the Detroit Lions had that attitude, they'd have given up football thirty years ago.  OK, so that might not have been the worst idea ever.  Bad example.

Nevertheless, I'm mostly down to using the "Find a random opponent" option for new Ruzzle games.  Which is kind of the iPhone game equivalent of signing up for  You're basically admitting to the world, I can't find anyone to play Ruzzle with me on my own, I need help. 

I'm currently 72-1 in Ruzzle.  The one girl who beat me was a random opponent I'd beaten before.  She's probably one of those people who has nothing to do but play games on their phone, so they get abnormally good at them.

It's sad, really.

Words With Friends isn't quite as bad.  It doesn't keep up with your record, but I do lose a bit more often there.  (Though a cursory glance at my last ten games shows no losses.)  Still, I've seen my number of opponents dwindle over time.  What do I do if they all eventually quit playing me?  I mean, "friends," it's in the name of the game.  There's no Words Without Friends. 

I think we all know what happens to people with no virtual friends.  And it's not a pretty sight.  Turned back out into the real world, I could be forced to do unseemly things, like go out in public, make plans with people, and stop pretending I don't hear when someone speaks to me at the grocery store.

Oh no, I'm not ready for that.

But what am I supposed to do, not try?  Just completely ignore when someone leaves a triple word score wide open for me and play somewhere else on the board?  Pretend this is just a casual game for "fun?"

I can't do it, I tell you.  I can't!  It's against who I am.

Scared of grasshoppers, and slightly competitive in games and competitions that provide no real gain, financial or otherwise.

I'm Cone.  Nice to meet ya!

"And the games you'd play / You would always win / Always win..."


  1. lol! I'd offer to play with you, but you have me very intimidated now.

    And somehow I'm very skeptical, based on what I just read, that your glance at your Words With Friends score board was cursory...I think your glance was likely ruthless and had a sharply-honed edge! :D

    Have a wonderful and grasshopper-free Monday, Cone!

  2. I have the same problem with Scramble With Friends. I'm tired of beating my Mom, so if you're up for it my user name is sllark.

  3. Sounds a bit like someone I know who started taking Car-rah-tae. ;o)

    DH is very competitive also. I refuse to play against him but Darly who has her father's winning nature will...they's messy...I hide.

  4. and we used to put crickets in my youngest brother's shirt. I bet he still tries to stomp on any one he sees.

  5. I am judging you. But you already knew that.

  6. Sherri - Ah, so perhaps I should have undersold myself to lure people into playing me? Yes, that would've been smart. Where were you at 10 o'clock last night when I was writing this? :)

    Thanks. You too!

    Susan - Oh, I'm up for it. Although... what if you're much better than me? What if you win every game? Then I'll be exposed as nothing more than a poser. Oh, the pressure!!!!

    (PS: You should download Ruzzle.)

    Renee - I laughed out loud at your car-rah-TAE line. My favorite scene from that episode is when Elaine walks into the dojo and sees Kramer fighting children. "Kramer, what are you doing???" "I'm.... dominating."

    Cricket: grasshopper's ugly cousin.

    Cami - You know, instead of judging, you should try being more supportive. For instance, you could play me in Ruzzle even though you hate it. Or, stage an intervention.

  7. I think you need to get into some chess games. I'm pretty sure, unless your father is named Gary, that you will be able to find some challengers in that game.

  8. I agree with Ed, if you only play games that you are good at, and don't learn anything new, or challenge yourself, where's the fun in that?
    Also, it depends on who you play with. If you play tug o' war with your dog, you need to let the dog get the rope away from you now and again. If you're playing with a child, you don't go stomping them mercilessly. All the time.

  9. But what am I supposed to do, not try? Just completely ignore when someone leaves a triple word score wide open for me and play somewhere else on the board? Pretend this is just a casual game for "fun?"

    In a word, YES. Or you'll find yourself out of virtual friends to play against. I mean...when's the last time someone was willing to play against you in a real board game?

  10. So I'm interested now in whether your competitiveness extends to non-virtual games...? I'm quite competitive too, but also really not very good at games, which means I spend a LONG time trying to win and then fail... and then feel competitive enough to start all over again! It's not a good combination...

  11. Some of us could answer the question about your true nature but won't as it's much more fun to think of you as ruthless, driven, competitive in all areas of your life....

    Of course I'm so intimidated by this post I found it almost impossible to comment

  12. I don't mind playing and constantly losing (as evidenced by the fact that I haven't beat you in Song Pop in a long while) but I do mind it when the person is insufferable when s/he wins (I'm speaking generically, not specifically about you).

  13. Ed - Or Bobby. Or Boris :) After your comment, I googled to find that there is a Chess With Friends app. I've never really played much, but I'd be up for a game.

    MarkD - Oh, I challenge myself. It's called golf. Though I'm not sure it constitutes learning anything knew, as I suck at it. Yet I keep trying, for some unbeknownst reason.

    TC - Um, those were mostly rhetorical questions.

    J Adamthwaite - I'm pretty sure it does. For example, friends have remarked before how I always win at mini-golf. Again, what am I supposed to do, not try to get as many holes in one as possible? And I'm definitely competitive at Trivial Pursuit! I like your story though :)

    Pia - I know. It pretty much extends only to the areas of life that do not provide fame or fortune.

    I've felt that way before. In those instances, I usually go with something generic, like "Nice blogging. Keep it up."

    Vanyave - I feel like our games are usually pretty close in SongPop (esp. when you choose Boy Bands a lot). SongPop is one game where I don't dominate. I mean, I usually win more than half the time, but it's not a blowout.

  14. SongPop? I'm missing out here. There are so many more ways to be a loser than I ever knew about.

  15. Scared of grasshoppers? I'm scared of worms. We all have our things.

    This post reminds me of a Big Bang Theory episode.

  16. Bone..ur adorable ! I LOVE playing- er,losing to you in wwf. And will be your f until u get tired of killing me with your incredible w placement/scrambling skills! :)

  17. OH...what is song pop??

  18. I was wondering if you have played chess and now see you and Ed have a challenge going... I have never played games on my phone and only a few on my computer... but that said, thanks for the laughs!

  19. Actonbell - Yes! It's a little name-that-tune type game for iPhone. And Facebook, I think.

    OK Chick - This post reminds me of a Big Bang Theory episode.

    Please tell me you're joking. I do not like that show!

    I don't like worms, either. Like they don't bother me if they're crawling around, but as far as touching one, say for example, when fishing, no thank you!

    Lucy - Don't sell yourself short. I think you win your fair share of WWF games. Oh and thanks for getting me hooked on another With Friends game now :)

    Sage - Never played games on your phone??? What are you, a productive person or something? :)

  20. Hilarious! You seem to have triggered my competitiveness in SongPop (which I currently lead I believe. Buahahahaha). If you want to make up for that, challenge me in Words With Friends. Something about it stumps me and I use basically 3 letter words. New free game I found: 4 Pics 1 Word. Addicting! Not sure you can play with anyone other than yourself though. (That's what she said!)

  21. Cone uh Bone I needed to laugh so I came here

    True confession: I'm scared of internet games so I don't play them. Also spend too much time on the game of life called facebook. Oh facebook isn't real life? Uh. Have to find one

  22. ARE a bit competitive on WWF - wait, did you notice that WWF could stand for World Wrestling Federation AND Words With Friends? I hadn't noticed that before. Odd.

    Maybe someday soon I'll challenge you again. When my ego can handle it - or I don't care about my ego anymore. :-)