Sunday, September 16, 2012

An Ode To Odah

Can I be real here? 
I.Am.No.Good.At.WordsWithFriends.  It shocks all my friends when they  discover that, because some of them call me a wordsmith.  But it makes me a pretty good opponent—you can almost always beat me.  I think I’d be great at this lousy game if I were a linear thinker.  But I’m not.  Nor do I have a natural sense of direction. And, somehow, playing jigsaw puzzle with letters that go up and down messes with my true sense of north and gives me low scores.  See?  I’m a good foil for Scrabble wizards.
But I do have a trick.  A system. A game plan.  I just move letters in and around, click ‘submit’ over and over again on my smart phone, and eventually I stumble onto a word that’s worth at least three points.  It’s not a lot of points, but it’s a play.
Tonight I stumbled onto a real gem of a word—“odah”.  In Scrabble it’s worth 8 points, but in WordsWithFriends it’s only worth 7, unless you play it on a triple letter and a triple word and then it’s worth 27 points and significant suspicion.  My favorite nemesis, who normally throws me a bone once in a while and still wins against me with over 400 points, challenged this one’s authenticity and my rare 27 points.
“Use it in a sentence, please,” she requested.
Well . . . in its anagrammatical form it is “hado” spelled backwards, I told her.
“Of course it is,” she replied.
So I looked it up. 
Wow. Wait til you hear this. says “odah” is a noun with two syllables, offers a pronunciation guide, a plural form, and absolutely no definition.  Weird.
So I moved on to  They said it refers to “a state of uncertainty or pensiveness, if you will.”  They state that “one may mutter this word during a fairly important social decision whilst in the presence of the certain person asking the question.”
Never mind.  Finally I turned to who threw up their hands in confusion and wrote, “No definition of 'odah' found - It's still good as a Scrabble word, though!” 
It’s a word that doesn’t mean anything, but it’s worth Scrabble points. Now, doesn’t that sound like the definition of a government job to you?  And that, naturally, makes me think of the TSA—which is an organization that doesn’t accomplish anything but is deemed worthy of our tax money by the U.S. government.

Okay, maybe that was a bit of a stretch, but if WordsWithFriends can accept a word that doesn't mean anything and give points for it, then there's nothing wrong with me connecting the dots between nonsense and security theater.

Come to think of it, that’s no stretch at all.

(Photo courtesy of incase.'s photostream at

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