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‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will...

Defend Truth


Whoever said ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me’ didn’t play Wordle


Jeremy Maggs is a veteran journalist, television and radio presenter, and MD of communications firm, Bold. He is the author of ‘WIN!’ and ‘My Final Answer’.

You can do this, you tell yourself. You are a literate well-read adult with a keen general knowledge. You play Scrabble and once used the word floccinaucinihilipilification and pronounced it correctly. PRICK.

We have all been there. Just before the harsh light of dawn breaks through the gap in your curtains, your head feels like the EFF is hosting a Siyabonga rally on your frontal cortex. Panic sets in quickly. Your mouth is as dry as a Platteland town reservoir. Your heart is beating like a Chief Justice candidate ahead of Dali Mpofu’s first question. But you have no choice. You must wake up and confront the monster.

With a trembling hand, you grope for your mobile and click on Wordle Word of the Day. Yesterday was a clusterf**k. Five grey blocks instantly emerging as you typed in your starting word despite spending the better part of your working day researching if ADIEU is really the best opening gambit. CRAMP. Not your opening salvo but the feeling in the pit of your stomach.

Yesterday the managing partner managed to nail the five-letter word in three attempts in just five minutes. You did it in six goes in 26 minutes. IDIOT. That is not what you have typed in. It is how you are feeling. Then you type PANIC. And mercifully you get one miserable green tile (the right letter in the right place) and some yellow ones (the right letters in the wrong place). The throbbing in your head starts to subside. The Red Berets have finally sat down. The heart rate drops to a manageable level, below 200 beats a minute, just lower than if a black mamba had eyeballed you.

You can do this, you tell yourself. You are a literate well-read adult with a keen general knowledge. You play Scrabble and once used the word floccinaucinihilipilification and pronounced it correctly. PRICK. That is what you are calling yourself as you now have just two chances left to crack the code and share it triumphantly with all your WhatsApp contacts who frankly do not give a SHIT. Damn, that is only four letters. Inexplicably and nervously, you type in the word BUXOM. It is risky and you know what popped up on your screen last time you typed that into a search engine! But you are desperate.

Perhaps a little jolt of Nespresso will help kick start the SYNAPSES – too many letters and of no use. These days you infuriatingly count the number of letters of certain words you use in general conversation and note them down, on the off chance they might come in handy just after dawn.

The Colombian pod, (strength level 200) fires up the brain. You can do this. Big SCARE. What you will do to yourself if you fail to get this right. With a trembling hand, you throw your last letter-dice. Then the managing partner wakes up, stretches, reaches for her iPhone and delicately types in five words. And then another row, and with a slight frown of concentration, types in a third. My final attempt fails. My day has started appallingly. I can feel it. Still to come will be a sharp shaving nick, the cat will go on a garden bird raid and bring in eviscerated avian carrion and the garage motor will burn out. Through clenched teeth and with bile in your craw, you ask if she has done it. She smilingly shows me her three-line screen. DUNCE.

Today the cap fits. DM


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