James Elliott gives himself concussion trying to use impenetrable algebra problems from high school to explain the phenomenon that is Wordle
Well, we did our best to keep it out but now we have realised that is simply no longer possible. We have bowed to the inevitable. It looks like Wordle is here to stay. If you don’t know what Wordle is, my modelling shows that it won’t be long before you do. In fact, my calculations of the R number based on the spiking number of confirmed cases on my social media timeline indicate that at least 1 in 3 of you will be infected, or “Wordled”, by Tuesday next week. Factored into that alarming statistic is the assumption that the long weekend will be a super-spreader event, particularly as the dire weather forecast means that people will likely be spending more time indoors elevating the risk of infection due to unseasonally longer periods of screen time engagement.
Infected with what exactly? On the face of it Wordle is seemingly innocuous, a six-lettered challenge to find a five-lettered word. However, the harsh reality is that Wordle is highly infectious, there is no vaccine, and – this is the key point – it cannot be stopped and quarantined at the border because there is no border on the internet. Unless you live in North Korea. Or Burma. Or Saudi Arabia. Or several other countries. But there’s no border on the internet here in New Zealand.
Wordle is here and its symptoms can be severe. They include elevated levels of semantic smugness, increased rates of humblebragging, and sudden shortness of breath if you’re down to your sixth and final attempt.
Proof being that Wordle is here and its symptoms can be severe. They include elevated levels of semantic smugness, increased rates of humblebragging, and sudden shortness of breath if you’re down to your sixth and final attempt. As you may be able to deduce, I was infected several weeks ago. My symptoms were acute, a word you should be able to get in no more than three attempts. In fact I think I had the ‘saddo’ variant, which caused me to post results on social media with a cryptic clue as to the answer and then engage in online banter with those who had done the same. While I haven’t fully recovered I think I’m through the worst of it. My hope for all of us is that the Wordle pandemic will burn itself out, in the same way that ‘Squid Game’ did. Come to think of it, ‘squid’ would be a really challenging Wordle word. As I said, I haven’t fully recovered.
I am triple-jabbed though, at a cost to the taxpayer of $35.60 per jab as was revealed this week. For the thrice-vaxxed that’s a total cost of $106.80 excluding the administrative and labour costs of getting the jab from fridge to shoulder. The way I look at it I’ve saved $106.80 so I’ve been looking at options for some retail therapy.
I’m at the point in the pandemic cycle where the words and numbers are scrolling in front of me like Dustin Hoffman’s character in Rainman only I can’t make sense of them.
I scoured Trade Me and had narrowed down my choice to a mid-century French deer stag head barometer, a Royal Doulton Bluebeard figurine, or 42kg of fresh watermelon. That was until I realised I could get a Scandanavian woollen-knitted replica of Picasso’s ‘Three Musicians’ and 21kg of fresh watermelon. Then I realised that I’ve probably been spending too much time with my own thoughts in voluntary self-isolation.
I’m at the point in the pandemic cycle where the words and numbers are scrolling in front of me like Dustin Hoffman’s character in Rainman only I can’t make sense of them. I’m having flashbacks to impenetrable algebra problems from high school. If 10 percent of 600 daily arrivals have Omicron and 50 percent of those become 15 percent of community cases spreading at an R rate of 0.8 in a population that is 90 percent double vaxxed of which 12 percent will be hospitalised how many people will still want Jacinda Ardern as the PM at the end of March?
I spent far too much time last week trying to decide whether I should describe myself as boosted or boostered. I sought expert input. Apparently, even though I have received a booster I am nonetheless boosted. From now on will the word ‘boost’ only be used in relation to vaccine shots? Could boost be used in Wordle? Possibly, there can be repeated letters.
Through the blur of words, numbers and dates this week there was no escaping the plight of the pregnant Charlotte Bellis in Afghanistan. Denied an emergency MIQ spot and then given one, does the M in MIQ now stand for manger? Answer – no. Did the flapping of butterfly wings in Kabul cause the structured collapse of MIQ here? Answer – no. And does the phasing out of MIQ now mean that it was the wrong strategy then? Answer – also no.
Have a peaceful long weekend.
Unless you’re Wordleing. Or should that be Wordling?