Sunday, March 3, 2013

Life Of Qi

A year ago, I signed up for Words With Friends. I did so with one goal in mind: Win Against Friends.  Defeat them. Annihilate them. Decimate them. Demolish them. Obliterate them. Outmaneuver them. Prevail over them. Vanquish them.*

* Synonyms for the word "defeat" courtesy of

Full of confidence and equipped with an extensive vocabulary, I assumed I would learn the nuances of Words With Friends rather quickly and then engage in a series of one-sided games with my closest pals. And the games have been one-sided, though, unexpectedly, not in my favor.

I have played approximately 50 games of Words With Friends in the past year. I've won 10 of them, if that. My winning percentage, at best, is .200. Unacceptable. Mediocre. Inadequate, even. (Exit, stage left!)

I've examined every one of my losses, and there's a common thread among virtually all of them. There was a particular moment midway through the vast majority of these games in which the tide turned and I fell into a deficit I could not possibly overcome. It's a moment that can be summed up with just two letters: "Q" and "I."

As in "Qi," a word I am convinced was created for the sole purpose of allowing my friends to tally an illogically high points total against me in Words With Friends. I never recover from the momentum swing caused by a well-placed "Qi." Just as I'm keeping pace with the other player on the scoreboard, BAM, he or she drops the "Qi" bomb on me: a "Q" on the "TL" tile (a triple letter score) and, if he or she is especially lucky, the "I" on a "DW" (double word score) or "TW" (triple word score) tile.

Seriously, what the heck is a "Qi"? I can guarantee you my opponents don't know. I propose that if an opponent cannot recite the definition of the word before play begins, he or she may not use it during the game.

I haven't the slightest clue what "Qi" means, but I can offer you my own personal definition: a "BS" word that should be banned from the Words With Friends dictionary. I would add a couple of "Qi" synonyms from here, but none are listed on the site, which further proves my point that it's a bogus word. Really, "BS" should be a playable combination; I use those two letters together in conversation way more than "Q" and "I."

After my opponent plays the "Qi" card, I wrack my brain in the hopes that I can come up with a word that's equally impressive and equally valuable in the game. Always, I fail. So I then attempt to mish-mash whichever letters I have. Maybe I can string together a bunch of letters, place one of them on a "DW" or "TW" tile and make up some ground that way?

One word I often try -- and I have no explanation for this -- is "Snooki." Yes, the nickname of Jersey Shore star Nicole Polizzi. Words With Friends does not accept "Snooki" as a valid word. I beg to differ. It is a valid word. Look at the cover of any magazine at the supermarket checkout line; it's absolutely valid.

Perhaps if I were to spell the word as "SnooQI," Words With Friends would be more accepting of it.