Too bad life doesn’t include takebacks

By Kevin Wilson

Kevin Wilson

Kevin Wilson


A Monday free. A list full of errands.

Then a text. Scrabble games happening at noon.

Looks like that just became Tuesday’s errand list.

I love Scrabble. Did you know it was International Scrabble Day on Sunday? The people who told me knew, but they chose Monday because the facility wasn’t open on Sunday.

I had a belated Scrabble cup of coffee out of my Scrabble coffee mug (it says K with the five points it’s worth), grabbed my Scrabble board and started my journey.

I played the first word, “niche,” and almost had it on the board. With my finger still on the “N” tile, I slid it to a different spot. I move the word one space up, I get an extra two points. And nobody protested, because my finger was still on the final piece before I changed my mind.

That’s the rule in Scrabble, Monopoly, Qwirkle, any tabletop game you can think of. You can take back anything as long as your hand is still touching the game piece/die/card, and you’re good. But once you play it, roll it or put it down, you can no longer change the word, collect rent or say, “Wait a minute …”

It turned out to be the right move. Without it, the crossword that ensued wouldn’t have played perfectly onto the triple word score space. Somebody may have played a word in a different spot, and it wouldn’t have opened me up for my 74-point turn or the 62-point turn that followed.

Later on, I was talking to a friend on the phone. I mentioned the Scrabble game, and she said, “I’m never playing Scrabble with you. You know, on account of me being an ATROCIOUS speller and everything.”

A little back story. I once made an offhanded comment that this friend had atrocious spelling, which I found adorable. I wanted her to remember being adorable, but she wanted to remember being atrocious. She showed me her report cards, with her below-average grade in spelling and above-average grades in everything else. I had opened a wound.

“Yeah, Kevin, you can’t use, ‘atrocious,’” another friend told me during a brunch. “I told my girl her cooking was atrocious one day, and I still haven’t heard the end of it.”

I have a feeling this will haunt me for the rest of my life. Well, I hope it does, because it means a good friend is still in my life, spelling and all.

What if life were a board game, and I still had my hand on the “atrocious” card? Hindsight considered, I’d have put that card back in my hand and played it during a … actually, I’d have never played it.

I think of where I played “niche” on Monday, where I played “atrocious” and how things would work if I’d have played other things differently.

How much did I ruin the telemarketer’s day by hanging up on them instead of politely declining? Why did I write that cruel sentence in a story when I could have written a more pleasant one? It goes on and on.

I thought about all of that Tuesday, and Monday during the Scrabble game.

I had lots of time between turns. They were atrocious players, after all. Only kidding, guys; next time we hang out, we can play something where I’m the bad player. Like, say, anything athletic

Kevin Wilson is a columnist for Clovis Media Inc. He can be contacted at 763-3431, ext. 319, or by email

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