Shot Her Down With Laser Focus

, , , , , , | Related | April 17, 2021

As a kid, I was always a geek. I had a love of math and science and was an avid reader. However, despite my excessive reading, I’m only an average speller at best, while my mother and sister are great at it and love all kinds of word games. Thus, when they both insist on playing Scrabble, I join them begrudgingly, knowing I am doomed to be a distant third place in the end.

One turn, my sister puts down “LAZAR” using some of the special locations to get a high score.

Me: “What is a ‘lazar’?”

Sister: “It’s ‘laser.’ You know, like a gun that shoots people with light.”

Me: “Oh, come on. That’s not how you spell ‘laser’!”

Sister: “Sure it is. How would you spell it?”

Me: “It’s spelled L-A-S-E-R.”

Sister: “No. I think it’s a Z?”

Me: “No, I’m quite confident it’s an S.”

Sister: “How do you know? We should check the dictionary.”

Mother suggests, with just a hint of amusement in her voice:

Mother: “Go ahead. Tell her what it means.”

Me: “’Laser’ is an abbreviation for ‘Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.’ You can’t Zimulate radiation!”

My sister was indignant but conceded that she must have spelled it wrong without demanding we check the dictionary after that. I had just told my mother the week prior that the book on physics I was reading explained the origin of the term ‘laser,’ so she knew what was coming and was just waiting for my sister to dig herself deeper before speaking up.

I still lost the game, as I had anticipated. However, I felt vindicated that I managed to show my older sister up, even in the game she excelled at, by using the things I was good at: physics and obsessive reading.

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