Thursday, October 16, 2008
In 1985 Lieutenant Commander Waghorn and Lance Corporal Gill played Scrabble for 5 days when trapped in a crevasse in Antarctica. Which begs the obvious question, how do you manage to have a Scrabble board with you when you get trapped in a crevasse in Antarctica?
The same logic cannot apply to the team here in Afghanistan, not only do we have two sets of Travel Scrabble; we also have the Scrabble dictionary. There is an old Military saying that “God curses anyone who does not bring two of an essential piece pf equipment”.
Whilst we have cases of cables, batteries and various cameras (7 in fact, counting all available means of capturing video). We always carry a scrabble set with us, (and the dictionary).
There are times when we have a couple of hours between live shots or simply at the end of the day, when you are sitting around at the end of the world. Walking around kicking rocks gets boring after ten minutes or even worse when we sit around and see who can make the highest pile of rocks by balancing rocks within arm reach.
Thus we strive for the ultimate “QUARTZY” ((164 points) across a triple-word-score square with the Z on a double-letter-score square.) or dream of OXYPHENBUTAZONE, 1778 points formed across three triple-word-score squares, while simultaneously extending seven specific already-played words to form new words.
The actual reality of life on the (tile) road here in Afghanistan, is that between us more arguments are caused by the playing of brilliant words like “MALTY” (adj, resembling malt) onto a triple than “ZINGARA” (n.pl, a female gypsy).
Not that we are competitive but given that we have played by kerosene lantern at our hotel here in Kabul.
Or we sat on the tarmac next to the Afghan Air Forces helicopters freezing to death whilst bemused Afghan’s tried to figure out what the hell these people were doing.
Then there is the story of our Producer Maryam Sepehri, locking her door and closing the curtains, and reading the Scrabble dictionary before a game, whilst I simply try to remember the two letter words by rote.
With a few days on this assignment to go the stakes and tensions are rising, if only I get the letters KIJUZMS tonight and have first turn, then face it Maryam its game over. You may be winning at the moment four games to two and then you did beat me by over one hundred points in one of those games. Dana the official wordsmith of the team, correspondent and editorial expert claims that both Maryam and I cheat, and having consulted the dictionary CHEATY, is not a word unlike MALTY.