I play this game with myself. I’ve been playing it since at least 1994. I call it “Words, with Friends” and it’s addictive. Here’s how it’s played:
- My friends say words in compelling combinations.
- I write down what they say.
- Slips of paper with words from my friends accumulate on every table top, in every drawer, on every shelf, in every purse and tote and messenger bag and notebook and then they stay there for years.
That’s it. That’s all there is to it. And I always win, because in this game everybody wins.
A few days ago I was out pilfering common milkweed from around the neighborhood for my rapacious caterpillar charges. As I ascended the front steps to the house, leaves in fist, Chafe was descending to water the garden, and he said, “What’s up, worm food?”
We kept on in different directions to our respective chores and I couldn’t stop smiling at the thought that he was referring to me as worm food. Of course he was talking about the leaves? Of course. It only took a few minutes before he started laughing.
“I hear it now. Two meanings. But that’s kinda your jam.”
Because he knows I’m something of a joyful bio-fatalist. Because he knows little soothes me like remembering the thing we have in common, the one thing we’re all here for, is death.
So I have taped to the wall of my study a sweet remembrance of my dearest friend warmly and good-naturedly (kinda but not really) calling me “worm food.” Because, as another kind friend said earlier this summer: