Games have rules. Built into the rules of most games is the rule of randomness, the wild card. In Scrabble, this rule is the blank tile.
In Scrabble, you try to build words from letters. The words interlock, like the words on a crossword puzzle. Unlike a crossword, however, the words in each game aren’t predetermined. They emerge as players build them together.
In addition to all the tiles with letters on them are two tiles left blank. They can become any letter. For example, if you have Q and need a U, a blank works. In themselves, they have no value, no little number in the bottom corner. Their value lies in what they enable, what they can help you do that you couldn’t otherwise.
They are like a time-out in a basketball game or in an argument. They let you focus. They are like an appointment that was scheduled and then canceled by the other person-free time to accomplish something…or maybe nothing (if you needed a break). They are like a friend who asks you how you are doing…and then waits for the answer. They are like the five minutes you spend in the morning planning the rest of the day…even if the plan doesn’t work out.
The blank tile, however, is of no help if you don’t decide to use it.
What’s the blank tile in your tray right now?