Second Place is the First Loser

Facebook and I have never really been tight, primarily because I have what is called “Facebook ADD,” and I never remember to check it. When I finally do log on, I realize that I’ve missed so many posts, I’m simply overwhelmed, so I just give up and shut ‘er down. I can easily go two or three weeks and never even think about Facebook, let alone look at it online.

The only person I know who is worse at Facebook than I am is my good friend, Shirley, who pretends that she’s in the Witness Protection Program. Shirley checks her Facebook account about twice a year, whether she needs to or not.

When I first joined Facebook and managed to collect a handful of friends, one of them said, “Hey, you should play Word Challenge.” At least I think that’s what it was called, and now I’m a bit paranoid that maybe — just maybe! — I’m actually calling it by the wrong name, but I don’t have the drive to log into Facebook right now and double check. So, for at least this post, the game will hereafter be known as Word Challenge, whether that’s what it’s called in the real world or not. At any rate, my friend Arian extended the right hand of fellowship and issued me an invitation to play Word Challenge against her. Oh, people. There was competition, and I am such a nerd! I absolutely love word games and word puzzles, and I tend to be…well…rather gifted at them, and I love a good bit of competition, so I took Arian up on the game of Word Challenge.

The rules were simple. You were presented with a set of scrambled letters, which spelled a word, and you had to unscramble them to guess that word. In addition to that, you had to make as many smaller words out of that set of letters as possible, before the timer went off. The more words you made before the bell dinged, the more points you tallied up.

And, people, Arian was difficult to beat! Her score was fantastic, and it took me a couple of hours of solid practice before I inched ahead of her score. Naturally, I left a post on her Facebook wall that said something along the lines of, “Ha. I win.”

And the next day?

Well, Arian was ahead of me then.

It was back and forth, back and forth like this, for a few days, and I kept telling Hubs, “I can’t stay ahead of her! Every single time I get more points, it only takes a few hours until she gets even more points!”

The next morning, Hubs dropped his laptop in my lap. (Maybe that’s why they call it a laptop.) On it was a little program, and do you know what this little program did?

It took any set of scrambled letters and it told you every possible solution for words that could be made out of those letters.

Every. Possible. Solution.

In other words, it was the greatest cheating tool ever invented.

Not being down with the whole concept of cheating, I gasped and told Hubs, “I could never beat Arian by cheating and rest soundly at night!” And so, I didn’t.

And Arian’s Word Challenge score soared above mine, until I snapped like a circus monkey who has had his cymbals taken away.

A week later, I told Hubs to meet me in the dark alley, with the goods. He did. He pulled aside his trenchcoat, and there was the laptop and all the software necessary to own Word Challenge.


I set Hubs’ laptop beside my giant, industrial-sized desk computer, and when my first series of letters came up, I quickly typed them into the program on Hubs’ computer. A nanosecond later, I had words. Words, words; many words!

I cruised through, typing everything. The buzzer went off. I played a second round, and I did the exact same thing. The buzzer went off again. I kept going and going, until my score was probably equal to what Jesus could get, only He would have done it all legally.

I hung my head in shame, and I told Hubs, “It is done. I am so far ahead, Arian will never be able to catch me. I have done a bad thing today; I will go sit in the Chair of Shame now.”

And that was the very last time I ever played Word Challenge, because I couldn’t live with my guilt. I confessed my sin to Arian, who laughed it off, and we agreed that she was still stellar in her score, and that I was a low-life cheater.

And I have never played another game on Facebook. Not any of them. Zero, zip, zilch.

Until today.

It’s because someone mentioned this game called Typing Maniacs, and guess what?

TYPING IS MY SPIRITUAL GIFT! I’ve said this for years! I can pound the potatoes out of the computer keyboard until smoke billows off of it. In high school, I finished my year-long Typing II class before first semester ended, and I spent the second semester typing up stuff for the administrative office, so that I’d actually have something to do in class for eighteen weeks other than twirling my hair and using the eraser on my pencil to take the pigment off the front of my folder in the shape of a boy’s initials.

So when I heard the word “typing” in the name of the game, I had to give in and make inquiries.


Yes, it is a game where typing skills are necessary! Yes, it is a competitive game, where you can actually beat the pants off of people by typing.

I was in. I was so in.

Hook. Line. Sinker. Caught.

I didn’t even hesitate.

And so, at work today (Yes, at work! Don’t judge me, people!), while Susan had dashed off to have a burger on her lunch hour and I was all alone in the office at our church, I logged into Facebook.

And it took me almost twenty minutes to figure out how to even GET TO the game, and how to get myself logged into it and set up to play. Computer skills were never my strong suit; that’s why I married Hubs. (Well, I married him because he whispers to computers and because he had a bread machine, which I did not own, and I wanted one desperately.)

And oh! my! goodness! People, once I was finally in the game, I was hooked like an addict waiting for her next hit. I was a typing maniac (literally!). I typed and I typed, and my score moved ahead. And then I typed and I typed some more, and my score moved further along.

And really? I couldn’t imagine how on earth I had managed to live to my ripe old age without ever having competed in a type-off before this afternoon!

And then, I discovered it. In Typing Maniacs, all of your Facebook friends who play the game are listed boldly on the screen, and there…THERE!…in first place (Yes, the number one slot!) was Arian’s name.

I almost fell over with guilt.

But, people, Typing Maniacs is a game of skill, and I’m not sure that there’s a program that’s capable of boosting my score on this through the web of cheating and lies and deceit, so I will have to un-throne Arian with my own spiritual gift.

The only real problem is that Arian’s score is double what I have.

Double, people. And I’m an excellent typist! (Humble? Not so much. But good at typing? I rock it!)

When Susan came back to the church office, I looked at her and simply said, “I accomplished nothing while you were away eating a cheeseburger, but I have been practicing my typing skills, and everyone knows that a good part-time secretary should be able to get down with her typing abilities.”

Susan pulled up a chair to her computer and said, “Show me this Typing Maniacs.”

And, people, I showed her, and she did partake of it (a little like an apple from long ago), and the two of us spent a considerable length of time in the office this afternoon squealing and shouting as words dropped from the sky faster than we could type them. Susan’s score is closing in on mine, but she’s got quite a ways to go yet, so she’s barely a blip on my radar screen. What worries me is how on earth I’m going to be able to double my score and put Arian in second place, without cheating.

Dear Arian,
Rest assured, I will knock you out of the number one slot on Typing Maniacs. It may take a few days, and I may turn my brain to mush as I practice this game to reach you, but I will not quit until you are in the second place slot. It’s nothing personal. It’s just typing. I still adore you and miss you something fierce since you moved away from Small Town, USA.
Jedi Mama

My other problem is my precious friend, Theresa. Her son just finished the 8th grade in June, and she called me just before school let out and asked me, “How fast do you type? Because I think Alex’s typing skills are good enough to overtake yours soon!” Over the phone lines, I pronounced my typing score, and she told me Alex’s. It’s quite close to mine, and he’s fourteen, people. I couldn’t have this. I actually told Hubs, “Listen! I need to find an online program that improves my typing speed, because I’ll never rest if Alex beats me. Theresa will never let me live it down, and I can’t lose to an 8th grader!”

Theresa called me the following week to report that Alex’s score had gone even higher, and that his typing teacher at school had mentioned something about him being an Olympic typist one day and how he’s the best she’d ever seen. I became even more determined to stay ahead of the little punk, and clearly Typing Maniacs is going to help me with this.

Dear Theresa,
Your fourteen-year-old is cute. I’ve rocked him and changed his diaper and watched him grow up and get armpit hair. But I will not let Alex beat me in the world of typing. It’s my spiritual gift. I will make concessions and allow him to be second only to me, but I will not allow him to surpass me. It’s nothing personal. It’s just typing.
Jedi Mama


I’m probably going to need a good twelve-step program to get myself out of this and a course entitled “Gaining Humility.”

1 thought on “Second Place is the First Loser

  1. You are a sick sick woman.

    Great to hear from you Tammy! I look forward to following your life and times. I've been trying to catch up on the last year. It looks like you've got a beautiful life!

    Stay in touch – Amanda

    P.S. This message was typed in over 90 words per minute.
    P.S.S. Don't feel threatened . . . I'm lying. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *