Scrabble is Like High School

Note: This is another guest blog. Danielle Rogner, a student in my creative nonfiction class at Eastern, wrote this as a kind of mini-essay to add to her final portfolio. She’s a fantastic writer–I’m trying to convince her to go on for an MFA in creative writing. And to join our Scrabble club.

Scrabble is Like High School

L’s are the cheerleaders who wear their uniforms on Fridays and are invited to every party. They are almost always welcomed and appreciated for their upbeat personalities and the positive potential they bring to any social situation. Despite the fact that they can memorize the names of every OPI nail-polish shade but can’t remember the first column of elements on the periodic table, they somehow become every teacher’s favorite. But ask anyone, even another L, and they will tell you that if you have too many of them at once, you’re at a loss.

O’s are the band geeks. Sometimes they walk around in pairs, clinking their clarinet cases as they step in sync with the beat emanating from their headphones. When an O with a tuba steps into the hallway, everyone makes way, trying to negotiate a new path around. O’s are generally not hated—just usually ignored. Unless they are really good. Then they are put on display in front of everyone and praised for their talent.

R’s are the jocks. Everyone pretends to love them. Their names are scrawled onto windows with bright paint, printed on the backs of their girlfriends’ t-shirts, and announced over the loudspeakers at the games. Really, they aren’t any more special than any other pimply, insecure teenager, but for some reason, when you pick up an R, you’re pleased.

Z’s are the AP kids who huddle over their advanced calculus textbooks and feverishly try to squeeze an impressive amount of information onto 3×5 inch notecards. They are the social outcasts—the kids who never seem to be wanted except for when a teacher introduces a dreaded group project. They can be awkward and challenging to work with, but can be easily ignored on the edge of the tile rack until you need to take advantage of them. If you are lucky enough to get an AP kid in your group, they suddenly glimmer with the radiance of a Triple Letter Score.

S’s are the female athletes. Some are competitive and play to release their aggression and teen angst. They will get in your face on the field or court and stir up trouble when they assume they belong in the center of attention. Some S’s are well-rounded perfectionists, trying to add a sport onto their long list of bests. They are responsible, generous, and can usually attach themselves comfortably onto any group. The rest just have a genuine love for the game and don’t care if they are on the starting lineup. They willingly wait on the bench until they are called into play. They may just be add-ons, but they are happy to help.

Q’s and U’s are the hopeless romantics. They are always together. Usually, they can be found at a table in the back of the library gazing into each other’s eyes, or less discreetly making out in the middle of the hallway. Most students, annoyed by the incessant display of affection and slobber, simply push them to the side and move along.

X’s are the art freaks who sneak out the unguarded emergency exits to smoke weed between English and economics. They are usually left alone and given weird looks as they draw peace signs and dead trees on each other with ketchup packets. No one really knows what to do with the X’s.

E’s are everyone else. They are favored, kind, flexible, and almost always welcomed. They are the one you go to when you need someone you can count on. They are the best friend. They are the “get along with everyone” type. They are exceptionally average.


One thought on “Scrabble is Like High School

  1. Paul Epstein talks about how he thinks of letters as having personalities in Scrabylon, the excellent Scrabble documentary by Scott Petersen. I’ve noticed my own unusual fondness for B and irrational attraction to G. I think of a B as being bold, brave, and buoyant, like a clever, good-natured youngster. The G is the charismatic drunk, alternatingly charming and troublesome. That I was nicknamed Butch as a toddler and have Gabriel as my surname is undoubtedly totally irrelevant.

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