When did board games get so painful?

There are so many things that I don’t want to have to find a place for in my house, and my kids don’t want to. But some things I just can’t give away or throw away. The old game of Scrabble is one of them.

The first time I remember that game is when we moved with the army to Germany and, gasp, there was no TV service available in the temporary housing where we lived. We had to entertain ourselves at night.

Daddy left two months ago, and Mommy, Paulette, and I sailed on a big ship. Before we sailed, Mom bought a set of Scrabble at Sears so we could play on the boat. She got into a big “bag” that looked like a bag of horse feed.

The Scrabble games became fond memories of those afternoons in temporary housing.

I’ve always liked words, so I’ve always liked Scrabble. I liked the smooth wooden letter tiles in this game, and sitting there with Mom and Dad and Paulette in the silence of the living room, trying to figure out if what Dad wrote was really a word. He knew tanks better than words.

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I bought a Scrabble set myself at one point and still have it, even though the Scrabble set David brought into our marriage is bigger and better. David and I began our courtship by playing Scrabble with my children. Now it looks like I have three sets of Scrabble.

Fast forward 25 years. My grandchildren don’t want to play Scrabble. It’s boring. They wanted to teach David and me to play a card game called “Taco, Cat, Goat, Cheese, Pizza.” Amazon describes it as addictive and a “social card game that will change your game night forever.”

There is nothing in the description about making game night painful.

The children said that it would be easy to learn and invited us to sit around the table. My daughter said that she should be careful with my granddaughter because she was very good at gambling.

The game started, and everyone started yelling something and throwing cards. I was three cards behind, but I finally put one down and got slapped on the hand.

“Oh!” I said. “That hurts.”

“Watch out for grandma’s arthritis,” my daughter said, as I was slapped again.

By then, David had decided to keep his letters to himself. Before I got to that point, I got slapped a few more times and decided I wanted to play Scrabble, mostly because he wouldn’t hurt me playing.

“You’ll find out,” my daughter said as they started another round.

I tried, but all I could really say was “Ouch!”

“Games aren’t supposed to hurt,” I said. “Can we play Candyland?” Of course, younger children play that, and it always ends with someone angry and someone crying. But at least it wouldn’t be me crying in pain.

I suggested my favorite game, Monopoly Deal.

“Do you want to get slaughtered again three games in a row by me?” said a grandson.

“You better hit me,” I told him. The pain is emotional, not physical.

I might even like to play that game where you punch a plastic hand and get smacked in the face with whipped cream. At least there’s a tangible reward for taking a hit.

When did games start to bring pain anyway? Was it when Operación came out and the losers were shocked? I don’t know.

I’m a kid from the 50’s so I survived the hot metal slides in the summer and the merry-go-rounds being thrown at you on the playground. We were just taking a break and drinking warm water from a hose.

But I want a nice, fun game to play with my grandkids that won’t hurt me and has the potential to win occasionally. Like scrabble.

I know! I’m going to save my mom’s Scrabble game and force them to play with me or we won’t make s’mores around the campfire. Or eat chocolate chip cookies. Or treat yourself to the expensive brand of ice cream.

It’s called bribery, and it’s the way we grandmothers have to act if we don’t want to get slapped.

Elzey is a columnist for the Register & Bee. He can reach her at [email protected].