You’re stuck in traffic. You’re bored. What do you do?
I’ve been playing the license plate game. The rules are: Make a word out of the letters on a license plate. Letters in the word must be in the same order as on the license plate, but they don’t have to be next to each other. Proper nouns don’t count (unless there are no other words, in which case I usually let it slide). Cooler words are worth more points, but the points don’t really matter.
pleistocene. plastic. pitcher. spastic. sportcaster.
boyfriend. beefier. subfreezing.
BSJ? What the heck works with BSJ? Those are the letters on my own license plate, and I was very distressed that I couldn’t make a word out of my own letters. My Dad finally came up with a kind of dog: Basenji. Whew.
Coming up with lots of words helps work the creativity muscle. Having lots of diverging ideas is critical to brainstorming and problem solving. This kind of game helps you practice coming up with new ideas, and letting your mind work on a problem while you’re also concentrating on something else, like driving. Or listening to others in a meeting. It’s also kind of fun.
I hope these games don’t drive you crazy. When I started coming up with words from license plates, I found it was hard to stop. Every single set of letters had to be made into words. Lots of words! Had to!! Can’t stop!!! Participle! Particulate!! Participate!!! Patrician!!!! (But it was still better than being bored while sitting in traffic.)