Wednesday, March 30, 2022

"Success" in the Grey Squares

My husband and I play Wordle together. He doesn't have a phone, so I "drive" the tap-tap-tapping of letters.


Sometimes three, often four, sometimes more.

He's really good at (and interested in) anagrams. Stale, least, taser, etc. *


I remain at some level surprised that words, which in my mind are units unto themselves, are malleable in this way. I mean, beyond root words, prefixes, suffixes, and declensions. Even if you add a bunch of those, you're working with the original concept.


But letters? Huh. 


In playing together, I keep bumping up against thoughts of "success." We always have fun playing, even (especially?) when it's a squeaker. So the process of playing is always successful. 


But beyond fun, I am continually reminded that "success" isn't always about the green squares, or even the yellow ones. 


With every play, we know more. And what you know is important, even if it’s knowledge that comes from an "unsuccessful" attempt to do something. 


This process is also what science does.


Remembering this process helps me (for example) stay optimistic about Alzheimer's and dementia. Alzheimer’s researchers know a lot about the disease even though they don’t have a cure or sure-fire means of prevention yet. 


Because results are information, even when the results don't confirm what you wish they did. 


And if you do something with that information--quit a project, revise something, pass along unworn clothing to a friend, drop that bunch of "interesting paper" you'll never do anything with into the recycle bin--then doesn't that information become somehow successful?


So the grey squares can be signs of success, too, for what that's worth.   




* I am so bad at this that I had to go look it up. Stale, least, tales. Rates, tares, taser. That's what I meant.