Saturday, July 04, 2009

I'm not making this up, you know.

Leah has a thing for words. She loves to read, to write and illustrate stories, to leave me notes, and she has a passion for those word puzzles where you have to find and circle words in a large block of what looks like random letters. She's even created her own -- slaving over the paper and then presenting me or Rachel with the finished product, the lines slanting and wavering, but the list of words at the bottom are always found in the letter block.

Knowing this, my mum gave Leah a giant word-search puzzle book at Easter. It languished for a while in her bedroom, but she's been working on it lately. Last Thursday we were at Rachel's soccer game, sitting on the sidelines, hoping that the rain would hold off (it didn't), and Leah was working on one of the puzzles in the book. She was using a bright red marker to circle the words. I glanced over at her just in time to see her circle the word plastered. Excuse me? What was that again? I leaned over for a better look. Yup, plastered. I checked the title of the puzzle: 'Drunken Stupor'. Nice. The word list included addled, bender, blasted, blotto, crocked, loaded, stewed, stinko, tanked, and wasted. Hmmm, the cover of the book didn't say anything like 'for ages 16 and up'.

Later that night, after Leah was in bed, I picked up the puzzle book and started leafing through it. The first puzzle was called 'Critical Condition' and contained words like adjudge, appraise, analysis, evaluate, partisan, review, regard, unbiased. OK, fine.

The next puzzle was 'Of High Standards': accept, admire, credence, curtsy, gratuity, ratify, tribute. I can't see how those words relate to the title, but still, OK.

Number 3 was the aforementioned 'Drunken Stupor'. Probably an anomaly, right? All the rest were probably lists of barnyard animals, or cities in Florida, or cooking terms. (And yes, all those were in the book, but they weren't the next ones, oh no siree.)

Number 4, 'This is a Bust': addiction, bong, bummer, charge, dusted, freebase, habit, hooked, kitchen, loaded, mainline, needle, overdose, posession, rush, score, wired.

And the logical follow-up, 'Dead End Street': acidhead, addict, candyman, connection, dealer, dopehead, freak, junkie, pillhead, pusher, runner.

So, of course, the next one would have to be 'Arresting Factors': accessory, bandit, bookie, conman, crook, felon, hooker, hooligan, killer, mafia, mugger, racketeer, thief, tong, vandal.


I'm torn between tearing out the offending pages and letting them stay. She hasn't asked about any of the words, they're just patterns of letters that she's looking for. And who knows, perhaps this vocabulary can set her on a career path as a Crown prosecutor. Or a writer for Law and Order or CSI: Carp.


  1. I'd probably leave them and just see what she says, if anything.

  2. That's crazy! Where did she get this bok, International House of Crackhead Word Puzzles?

  3. You know there probably just strings of letters to her. And if she asks it's an opportunity to discuss a few things.

    (We have a "there are no bad words" policy here.)

  4. Bill Walsh12:44 AM

    You know, Alexx, when you do a word search…

    ::puts on shades::

    …you might not like what you find.


  5. Jen, Nat - Yeah, I'm just leaving them. I think you're right that the words are just letter strings to her. She hasn't asked much about meanings.

    Strictly - I'll have to ask my mum where she got it.

    Bill - Hahahahahahaha. *wipes eyes*

  6. This is funny. Gracie has a similar book, but she asks about ever single word, its latin derivative, how it is pronounced, alternative pronounciations, country of origin, how to use it in a sentence etc. I couldn't get away with the book you have!