About a week ago, the Wall Street Journal ran a story about the fact that the words "za," "qi" and "zzz" were added recently to the game of Scrabble's official word list for its original English-language edition.
Now, I just think that's silly, frankly, although I can almost accept the word "qi." Q is a hard letter to unload, especially if you're missing the letter "u" and are running out of tiles and space on the board. So yes, we do need all the "q" words we can get.
But "zzz"? Or even worse, "za"?
"Za" is supposedly slang for pizza. So who the hell actually says, "Hand me a slice of za, will ya?" Who in this world is so lazy that they can't be bothered to sound out with their mouth the first syllable in pizza? Especially because pizza is so chewy. You need all the practice you can get, just getting ready to chomp down on a piece.
Besides that, "pee" is the fun part of pizza! Everyone loves pee. It's a funny sound to make.
I wonder who invented the word pee? I mean, I guess it's short for piss, but at least the word piss makes sense. Piss actually SOUNDS like what it's supposed to be...the sound of liquid exiting from your frontal orifice and landing into a ceramic bowl filled with water...or, in ancient times, onto large slices of pepperoni pizza...oh, excuse me, I mean, za.
Za. It sounds like something an exotic Hungarian would say, not something as ordinary as pizza.
Anyway, I'm not going to use the word "za" any time soon on my Scrabble board. Unless I'm really, really desperate. And even then, I'm going to bitch about it.
By the way, does anyone else have a morbid fear of garbage disposals? Every time I turn mine on, I have this thought that passes through me that I'm accidently going to brush my hand against the opening and lose a finger. Like, I'll be cramming old stale pieces of za into it, singing off-key Celine Dion tunes, and I'll forget that I have the disposal going, and lose a couple of fingers.
Okay, maybe it's just me.
Speaking of q words, last Thursday, my friend Buns took Corb and me out to play Gay Bingo at a ratty old bingo parlor in the heart of Providence.
It was for a good cause, at least: AIDS Project Rhode Island. And it is an awful lot of fun. We've been before, and it's a kick to sit on those uncomfortable folding chairs with a stack of paper spread out in front of you, frantically scanning through your game card, while your gay Bingo hostess calls out the numbers, one by one.
I'm always such a slob about the dabbers. Always get the ink on my hands. It lingers on my fingers for days, like cheap perfume from a two dollar whore. No matter how much you try to scrub it off...out, out damn spot!
Anyway, I actually won the second game. Which freaked me out, because I never win. I sat there and stared dully at the board, not quite believing it, and then I jumped up to claim my $50 prize.
Only, an 18-year old lesbian had already jumped up and shouted Bingo, and she was so cute that nobody noticed little old, humble, shy, old, retiring me, standing with my withered middle-aged frame in the opposite corner. I yelled and called out, and finally got the attention of the attendant in my area. And then she yelled and called out to, but the drag queen hostess was too busy making schtick and small talk with the other side of the audience.
Literally, I must have waited three minutes before the drag queen looked my way.
"You won?" she said, looking slightly irritated, as if I had interupted her from a bikini wax.
"I did," I said.
"Well, why didn't you say so sooner?"
"Well, I didn't hear it," said the drag queen, striking an attitude.
"You want me to go up there and show you?" I asked.
Anyway, then they had to verify that I actually won, and I swear to God, that took another five minutes. So there I am, standing in front of the stage, for everyone to see, and then I turned around and realized...
That someone I work with is watching me, two tables away.
Now, look. I don't really care that I was spotted at Gay Bingo. That doesn't bother me in the slightest, actually. What bothers me is that I was spotted making a fool of myself over $50 at Gay Bingo. THOSE are the kind of things that bother me! I could just see this person the next day, pointing me out in the lunchroom, "Girl, I saw him last night...you should have seen him fighting with that drag queen over his $50. You'd think he never saw a fifty dollar bill in his life, baby!"
So, I did the sensible thing. I just turned my head and pretended that I hadn't seen the person. I don't really know him that well, anyway.
But the thing is, he works at our cafeteria at work, so I see him every day. And I knew, just knew...just KNEW! That he was going to bring up the incident the next time I saw him.
Actually, it took TWO times. On the first encounter, the cash register line was busy. He shot me a look, and I could see a shock of recognition pass over his face. Then, someone said something and distracted him.
The next time I saw him, however, the line was a bit slower. At first, I didn't think he was going to say anything. However, after he had told me how much I owed, and I took out a twenty dollar bill...my winnings from Bingo, actually...and, ever-so-casually, he looked at me and said, "So, do you go to often? To Bingo, I mean."
"When was the last time you went to confession?" I thought. But to him, I smiled and said, "Oh! My friend Mary-Beth asked us to go, and it sounded like fun."
"I only go because my partner is one of the assistants," he said. "He's the tall one...with the shaved head..."
"I remember seeing him!" I said. I contemplated mentioning that I was with Corb. You know...tall guy, blond hair. Can't miss him. But then, I noticed that the line behind me was started to get crowded, and instead, I said, lamely, "That's great!"
That's great...oh, how positively...dismissive...
"One thing I give him a lot of credit for, he's always mentioning his partner," I said to Corb, when I returned home that night. "I admire that. He's always talking about him, and the house they have together. You know me, though, I'm just not like that. People know at work, of course, but I don't talk about the two of with everyone."
"I'm not insulted," said Corb. "The other day, my new front desk associate asked me, 'Who's Ted?' when I mentioned your name. And I just told him you were my roommate. It's not something everyone has to know about, you know."
"Well, that's the thing," I said. "I would have been perfectly fine telling him that, but there was a line forming behind me, and..."
"I understand, hun. Completely. Everyone's different, and we're just the kind of people who don't make a big show about things like that, unless we know our audience a little bit better."
Audience. That's a good word for it. I guess it's like a drag queen at a gay bingo parlor. Sometimes you just don't want to be the person holding the mike.