Tuesday, October 3, 2006

"Do not squander time for that is the stuff life is made of." ~ Benjamin Franklin

A little over two hours ago this evening, I sat down in front of the computer with the intent and purpose of writing something for this blog but instead I got sucked into a computer game that I used to play several years ago. In the Spring of 2003 I discovered a PopCap Game called Bookworm and, because I was unemployed and depressed, I played the game for hours on end.

For those not familiar with this rather addictiv
e computer game, the object is to link the tile letters together to make words and score points. To make it more interesting there are also bonus words to look for and "burning" red tiles that, if they reach the bottom, will burn your library up and end the game. With each score you get rated as a scribe, assistant librarian, etc. The higher your score the more important your title.

I spent many, many, many hours in front of the computer playing Bookworm, so much so that my hand would ache from the constant manipulation of the mouse but I was sucked in and would play until the wee hours of the morning trying to better my score with each game. I don't remember exactly what my final high score was but it was 4 million plus and there was no one in the house that could touch my score! Pr
etty pathetic, eh?

But I guess I can credit a simple game with helpi
ng me to keep my sanity during a period of my life when I thought that I was truly going to lose my mind. As I have mentioned in previous posts, 2003 was probably one of the worst years of my life, if not the worse. I'm not sure what I would have been doing were I not linking tile letters together for hours on end because it kept my mind from thinking about other things that I didn't want to think about.

Having learned first-hand that time - even if it doesn't actually heal all wounds - does a pretty good job of scabbing them over, I knew that I just needed something to do to get me through to a point when everything didn't hurt anymore, when I felt like my life had some worth again, when I felt like I could walk out of the house without someone I knew seeing me and asking "what the heck happened to you?!?". Like some sort of hermit I hid in the house and played Bookworm ... over and over and over again.

I had forgotten that period in my life. The time when the computer was my constant companion and friend. When Lex, the cartoon caricature of a bookworm, ate the tiles of my words while racking up a ridiculous amount of points. When the most important thing in my life was how high of a score I could get. I had forgotten all of that until I stumbled upon the game yesterday and then it all came flooding back to me. Funny how we can forget something like that - how something that took up such a big chunk of our time and lives can be so easily relegated to the back rooms of our brains and promptly forgotten about until something happens that brings it back out into the light.

Obviously I still enjoy playing Bookworm or I would have had this entry written hours ago but it's nice to know that now it's just a game and not an addiction or a crutch. The game will always remind of a less-than-stellar time of my life but that's okay because I made it through with only a few small scars to show for the wounds I suffered in 2003.

As for the hours and hours spent playing that game, I don't think it was time squandered as it was like therapy for me - only much cheaper! And it had the added benefit of increasing my vocabulary!


  1. Anonymous10:35 AM EDT

    Very good post, and you're so right - reading it made me think of times when I've done similar things, often with PC games.

    I played a Football (Soccer!) management game for days on end a few years ago- hours and hours a day, and the players in it occupied most of my waking thoughts, and the whole thing seemed more important than the real job I should have been doing, which was probably the cause of the depression in the first place. Strange.

  2. Civ III. I've logged a lot of hours on that... and Civ II before. So I really get this.

  3. Maybe we should check our family trees kid and see if we aren't somehow related! In 2003, I had a diagnosis of colon cancer, radiation, chemo, surgery, major back issues, physical therapy for 5 months and follow-up chemo for six months, was unemployed, on welfare and until October 19th that year, I was horribly depressed. Not so much over the illness, treatments and such, but mainly over the state my life had come to with no job and by the looks of things, none would ever be forthcoming after that. And I played Pogo's "Tumblebees" game - similar to your Bookworm or the "Poppit" game when I could actually sit at the computer again that is!
    But on October 18th, my life began to turn around when my little Princess, Maya, was born and on the 19th, I held her for the very first time. In doing that, looking at this absolutely beautiful little being, there was just something that grabbed me and said that I needed to be here especially for her. Little did I know that before she was two years old, she would turn our lives totally upside down as we began to suspect she was autistic. Another year passed and we learned that yes, indeed she is. But as much as we feel we are in the position to be teaching her, it is me and her parents who are being taught new things every day and all of those teachings from her are so laced with love it makes the journey that much more incredible.


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