Wordle is one of those things that I wish I knew nothing about, like who J-Lo is dating or the existence of Joe Rogan.
Wordle is a game people play on the internet. I don’t know how it works because I don’t play it.
I only know it exists because many of my friends play it and post on social media about it.
The game, I think, involves guessing words in six tries or less. You may (or may not) be given several letters as clues.
I have no problem with people playing games and enjoying them.
Wordle annoys me because, like pictures of pets and meals, people feel the need to share their daily results.
I don’t know why people think anyone would care about their achievements in this game in which you don’t win any money.
Maybe people who gamble on every play of every sporting event post their big wins to Twitter.
I don’t see that, but then maybe I’m not friends with enough gamblers.
All I know is that not long ago, there was life without Wordle and that was fine.
Then Wordle came to life and my feed is clogged with people bragging about the breadth of their vocabulary as it relates to five-letter words.
Smugness is an ugly quality; one I’ve indulged in too often in my life.
But I find braggarts — especially those with skill in words, grammar, spelling, diction, and syntax — to be insufferable.
These are the people who sent me letters and emails if I made a grammatical gaffe in one of my stories or columns.
I once received a letter from a woman who clipped out one of my stories from the newspaper, marked up the error with a red pen, and explained the correct way in a letter.
She closed the letter with a pithy, “My husband says retired English teachers are hard to live with.”
I wrote her a reply and mailed it to the return address on her envelope.
The reply read: “Your husband is a wise man.”
These are the people I think of when I see Wordle scores posted online.
My friend Memphis Paul doesn’t post his Wordle scores to social media. He texts them to me and only me.
He knows it drives me nuts; it’s his duty as my friend to do it as often as possible.
This amuses me.
Then the New York Times bought Wordle.
This lead to great hews and cries, gnashing of teeth, and general misery.
Some claimed the snooty Times puzzlers made Wordle too hard.
Others called the people who couldn’t handle the Times vocabulary challenges as pretenders to the thesaurus-like mind that true Wordle geniuses possess.
And on and on it goes.
We live in this culture that drags things before us that have no value.
I mentioned Joe Rogan. He’s a podcaster, like me, only he makes millions of dollars at it, while I make none.
Rogan was apparently a comedian.
At some point, every middling and forgettable comedian got a podcast to talk about how hard it is to be a comedian with other middling and forgettable comedians.
Rogan was one of these guys. Before podcasting, he did a bunch of other things I’m not interested in, including color commentary for UFC, hosting the gross-out game show “Fear Factor,” and had a role on the NBC sitcom “News Radio.”
But Rogan came to my attention because he doesn’t believe people should take the coronavirus vaccine.
I’m not here to argue that issue. It’s a pointless debate. You’ll take the shot, or you won’t. Nobody can make you.
I don’t care which you choose, nor do I care to discuss my choice.
The news media is filled with scolds, both left and right. Some people praised his views as heroic. Others cursed him as a heretic who’s guilty of murder.
Rogan really broke into the mainstream feeds when somebody made a supercut of all the times he said the n-word on his podcast.
This story was all over the place.
And a powerful disdain for Rogan grew in my heart.
It wasn’t because of his terrible comfort using the n-word. That’s bad, but I’m not going to burn calories screaming at celebrities who do horrible things. I’ve got my own garden to tend.
I started to hate Rogan, like Wordle, because I couldn’t get away from him.
News and social media kept pushing these things that I did not care about before me, and I was forced to deal with them.
One of the few things I appreciate about Twitter is that it allows me to block words and phrases.
I added “Joe Rogan” and “Wordle” to the list.
Already, the universe seems brighter.
Then again, it’s almost March.
Soon my screens will be jammed with nitwits babbling about their NCAA Tournament brackets with made-up words like “bracketology” and “bubble team,” and poor grammar, such as busted bracket.
There really is no refuge from the non-stop stupid.
Wait. I have an idea.
I’ll read a book.
Daniel P. Finney writes a column for the Marion County Express. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Daniel P. Finney wrote for newspapers for 27 years before being laid off in 2020. He teaches middle school English now. He writes columns and podcasts for ParagraphStacker.com, a free, reader-supported website. Please consider donating $10 a month to help him cover the expenses of this site.
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