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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Games, game shows and re-runs

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Games are great to play with other people. They help you get to know each other. You have fun. You learn things about each other when you are having fun together and laughing.

Some games don't cause laughter. Lester can play a game of chess and not even crack a smile. That is, he won't smile until he can triumphantly say, "Check mate!" But he was still having fun. When I am his opponent I probably am not having as much fun. But it is fun to keep trying to win sometimes.

Lately however I have been having fun playing games all by myself. I am competing against the computer and in a way I am competing against myself. If I get the percentage of games won up above 50% I feel good. If I keep it above that mark for a while, or even creep up higher, I feel wonderful. No one knows what I have done, but I feel good about myself.

I think most of us who are middle age plus keep worrying about any signs of dementia. When we can prove to ourselves that we are still sharp mentally we feel great. One way to improve scores when you are playing against yourself is to choose simpler games.

One day when I was losing too many games of Free Cell, I changed to Spider Solitaire, because that doesn't take any thought. You just move the cards until they read from King down to Ace and use up all the cards. Whoops, it didn't go that easily. You had to do some planning to get the cards free to move. So I thought I would change and play Hearts. That was fine for one game and then I started to lose there too. I found the best solution was to go take a nap. It's surprising how that improved my scores.

Scrabble is my all-time favorite game. I know you can play that against the computer also but we don't have that program on our machines. But I love to play it with other people. I got a new board this year that just folds up and can be carried anywhere to play. The tiles and racks are in compartments in the board. And it even has the little wheels that help you turn the board to each player. I also got two Scrabble dictionaries.

I have started using the extra one by my chair where I work crossword puzzles. Sometimes it helps if I have the starting letter but can't fill out the whole word. I just look under the letter I know and maybe I get the word I need. Or else I can look at the clue that was given and hope that the definition will lead me to the correct word. The new crossword puzzles in our paper have taken some getting used to. The dictionary has helped me there.

So you see that in my effort to keep my mind sharp, my best way to fool myself is to find ways around any weaknesses. That has to show some smarts, doesn't it?

If all else fails, I just turn on the TV and watch the game shows there. I often am smarter than the contestants. I do the best when the shows are re-runs.

Carolyn Gray Thornton
Middle Age Plus