We here at Esquire are at home. Just like you, we’re not used to it. Our free time, when we’re not checking emails and updates and push alerts, stretches on and on. And so we’ve figured out a few ways to fill it that we can’t recommend enough. Here’s one.
I gave up Words With Friends years ago, but I couldn’t remember why. Then, amid the self-isolation currently happening across the United States, a friend encouraged me to download it, and I was immediately flooded with emotion: aggression and excitement and a desire to use words like QI and AE and OO. That’s when I realized that I had quit because I was obsessed but simply didn’t have the time to commit to being great, and as my dad used to tell me growing up, don’t be good, be great. Father issues aside, I decided that as long as this quarantine lasts, I would once again try for greatness. You should, too.
The phone app is basically just Scrabble with a nicer name. But there’s nothing nice about it, and with the rage that you are surely building up right now, Words With Friends feels like a healthy place to channel it.
In the early days of this pandemic, I found myself nearly emotionally shredded by the nonsense on social media. Between posts saying that coronavirus spelled the end of civilization, juxtaposed against high school classmates citing homegrown statistics likening the coronavirus mortality rate to that of skinned knees, I decided to settle in a space where spelling obscure words mattered more than arguing online. Finding Words With Friends is the best thing that has happened to me in months, because it sucked me out of a world of anxiety and fear and threw me into one fueled by tiles and word strength.
Granted, much has changed since I initially quit. This legion of Words With Friends players doesn’t process time the way we do. Days are measured in games. And about four years, or 1,624 games, ago, Words With Friends was a simpler app. Upon re-downloading, I have learned there are different ways to play, along with colored tiles and spin-off challenges. I’m a man wandering a new land. As an extrovert, I’d found myself really missing talking to coworkers or grabbing a drink at the bar with a friend. But on Words With Friends, there’s almost always someone waiting—to challenge me and to tell me I’m a son of a bitch for using the word QAT, as if I had any idea what it means.
Until this passes, may I recommend that you hop off social media and onto Words With Friends? While working from home, I created a bracket for my coworkers who play, just so we had something to take our minds off the news churn. Hell, I lost in the first round, and I don’t even care. Keep your hands clean and your spelling skills dirty. And if you come for me, you better have chutzpah (if played correctly, this can gain you a minimum of 77 points).