If you’re like me, you’ve noticed a proliferation of little yellow and green boxes on your social media feeds. Spreading faster than an infectious pandemic we all wish would just go away, a game has taken over my friends. They can’t stop talking and posting about it.
The only problem is that I, like usual, am way behind the latest craze. To catch up, I need to do a Wordle Hurdle.
I can hear the eye-rolling, so just stop. I know some of you cool people are always on the cutting edge of whatever craze is out there. Maybe you read all the Game of Thrones books, watched the show, and then debated the TV ending because the last book hasn’t been written yet.
But many of us hadn’t read the books. Still haven’t. Can you imagine watching Game of Thrones not knowing what would happen next? Without the ability to engage in debate about what the show got right or wrong?
Good, because I wasn’t part of that group either. Nope, I’m worse. I haven’t read the books. I haven’t seen the TV show. Not one page or one minute. How’s that for out of touch?
Same as every other trend out there. Never played Pokemon Go, or did the ice bucket challenge, or ate a Tide Pod (yech!), or participated in any other internet fad. Don’t know how to Snapchat or TikTok. Don’t want to know.
Now don’t think I’m a total Luddite. My oven connects to the internet.
When we had to replace the old one, we discovered that internet connectivity is now a common feature. I couldn’t figure out why, but I was sold once I realized I would never have to consult the manual to update the clock for Daylight Saving Time. If the internet brings any good to our lives, it’s not having to change clocks twice a year.
I have an app on my phone so I can preheat the oven while out walking the dogs. Even better, if we’ve left the house and get into a debate about whether we turned off the oven, I no longer have to turn around and go home. I can check my phone, turn it off if necessary, and enjoy our evening without worry. Unless you consider the risk of catching a disease by being around other people to be a worry.
Pretty cool, huh? High tech and everything.
Last week, my oven sent me a text. The latest software update added an air fryer mode.
This raised several questions in my mind. My oven can send texts? It does its own software updates? It has software?
What else is it doing? Monitoring my diet and reporting my unhealthy eating habits to some national department? Measuring the cholesterol and salt content for my medical records? Is it conspiring with my refrigerator to increase my vegetable and fruit intake?
And the biggest question of all, what the heck does an air fryer actually do?
Yeah, yeah, I know eleventy-seven bazillion of them were sold last year to those of you suffering through social isolation. I’m a writer, though. We’re used to being lonely. I never ordered an air fryer.
Besides, let’s face it. The vast majority of those air fryers are sitting with Peloton bikes gathering dust. (No, I don’t have one of those either).
Despite all of that, though, I want to prove to you I know some things about the latest fads and can explain those mysterious green boxes your friends are sharing. It’s an online game where once a day you throw darts at your computer. If you hit one box, it turns green. If it bounces off the screen, the box turns yellow. If you miss the screen completely, it goes gray. You get six chances to hit all five boxes with darts. If successful, you turn all the boxes as green as a turtle-a box turtle. That’s why the game is called Turtle!
Wait a minute. My Ever Patient Partner In Life, who has always suggested I don’t listen as closely as I should, said I misheard the word. It’s not turtle. It’s Wordle.
That’s not even a proper word. It’s not in my Merriam-Webster.
And so I traipsed off to Wikipedia and discovered a man named Josh Wardle created the game. He tried to name it after himself but failed to guess all the letters correctly before running out of time.
Nope, sorry. That’s incorrect. He meant to name it Wordle as a pun on his own name. At least, that’s what he claims now, just like the people who always, always, always share their green boxes seem to conveniently forget on the days they can’t solve the puzzle.
So Wardle invented Wordle, but did it just for fun and promised not to monetize it so you could trust him and play it online and share it on Twitter and Facebook, because we know they can keep a secret and don’t track people at all. Then Wardle promptly sold the game to the New York Times for an undisclosed seven figure sum just to prove what a humanitarian he is.
If the New York Times wants to send me a million dollar check, I will have just as much fun as Wardle cashing it.
Since Wardle was looking for puns for a name, I think he missed some opportunities. He could have called it Curdle. The object is to go to your refrigerator, open a random container of leftovers from some long-forgotten dinner, and sniff it. If you open five green containers in a row, you win.
Then you play Hurtle where you throw those same containers as far as you can.
Of course, he could also have called it Burgle, where you earn over a million dollars monetizing an old game that someone else invented.
My final bit of research for this article (what, you think I don’t research?) was to actually play a game and see if it makes sense. I played Saturday (because this was advance research-a whole day in advance). The results are below:
Fine, now I’ve crossed the Wordle Hurdle. I’m cool now. On to the next fad. Maybe I’ll invent it and sell it to the New York Times. Just for fun.
Interesting Links: Stop Multitasking
If you’re like me, you have more to do than you have time to do it in. The temptation is to multitask, but the reality, as noted in this article from the Harvard Business Review, is that our brains are wired to do one thing at a time. To minimize distractions and focus on work, we need to close the door, both figuratively and literally. I work from home, so don’t face co-workers walking into my office unexpectedly (unless you count those on four paws), but I also have to avoid the temptations of internet, email, texts, and phone calls.
One of the tactics I use is listening to music since research shows it can help you focus. Unfortunately, familiar music, particularly with lyrics, can distract some people, myself included. Instead I use brain.fm which helps me focus. (P.S. — Nope — not an affiliate link and I have no connection to them. I just use the tool).
Books Read: Under My Skin
I read about 100 novels a year and share the best of those with you.
A year after a woman’s husband is murdered while jogging in Central Park, the murderer hasn’t been identified. The widow struggles to separate hallucinations from reality, so can’t tell who is friend or foe among her circle of acquaintances.
Vocabulary Word Of The Week: Cacography
Caco- comes from ancient Greek meaning bad or poor quality and -graphy means writing. Thus, the word literally means bad writing. Specifically, it can refer to either poor spelling or poor handwriting.
By the way, the opposite of cacography in terms of handwriting skills is calligraphy ( calli- meaning beautiful). If you’re focused on spelling, the antonym is orthography ( ortho- meaning straight or erect).
Spelling is never my challenge, but anyone who has ever suffered through my scribblings knows I suffer from cacography in terms of penmanship.
Kobo VIP Sale: Liars’ Table
If you are a VIP member of Kobo, the ebook version of my latest novel, Liars’ Table, will be on sale for 40% off February 7 through February 11 in Canada, United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. Go to the book page on Kobo to purchase. Coupon Code FEBVIP
Gratuitous Dog Picture
My furry co-workers don’t find my work quite as exciting as I do. I settled into my chair to work at my writing desk, but couldn’t get my feet into position. Landon was entirely too comfortable and softly snoring away.