Metro 71

I think Scrabble is the perfect board game: a fantastic mixture of skill and tactics, plus a slice of luck.

I enjoy playing against other people (mainly because I am way better than most of them) but I also obsessively play it for hours on end on my Game Boy. I’ve had the same cartridge for almost a decade. It has a record of all my statistics and best words. I once put ‘equators’ over two triple word scores. More than 200 points for a single turn. I know this is making you hot for me.

If my house was on fire I would rescue my iPhone, my latte maker and my Scrabble cartridge and once they were safe I might go back in for my wife.

So I was placed in a bit of a quandary (imagine that over two triple word scores) when a friend of mine revealed he was going into hospital for a life-threatening operation and asked if he could borrow my Scrabble cartridge for a couple of weeks.

What could I say? His need was certainly greater than mine. But there was a part of me thinking: ‘Buy your own game, you ailing tightwad.’ This might be his last fortnight on earth – he might have way more money than he’d ever be able to spend. If he lost the game, I’d have to fork out about £30 for another one, which wouldn’t even have my hard-won statistics on it.

Yet could I refuse a man his possibly final wish?

Leaving strict instruction for him not to play under my name and thus mess up all my statistics, I handed it over. I could last two weeks without my precious.

Then I started hearing that there had been complications – it was touch and go.

I am afraid I am human and thus unpleasant and part of me was trying to work out the ramifications of how I’d get my game back if he died. I was worried that in the kerfuffle something as trivial (some people) as a Game Boy game might be forgotten. I mean, at what point in the funeral would it be appropriate to bring up the matter with his wife?

‘I am so sorry about your husband. It’s a terrible loss for you. If there’s anything I can do to help… um, he didn’t leave a Game Boy game lying around, did he? Scrabble? He did. Oh you wouldn’t mind getting it for me? No, no, not straight away. Any time this afternoon will be fine… he was a good man.’

A month later my friend emailed me to tell me all about how he’d nearly died but thankfully had had a miraculous recovery and was now home. I let out two sighs of relief. Only I know which was the greater one.

Before saying how happy I was that he was still alive, I reminded him about the cartridge. He replied (a bit sniffily I thought), saying the statistics were still intact (as if that was important to me when he, my friend, had been so ill) and he was posting it back.

Which was lucky. Because if he has a relapse I am just going to say I’ve lost the cartridge, meaning I’ll never have to go through that embarrassing funereal scenario.

Instead I can act in the appropriate manner and exploit the grief of his young and attractive widow and try and get off with her. Once I tell her about my ‘equators’ triumph, she’s going to be putty in my hands. There’s nothing sexier than a Scrabble player.