Bud Herron: Wordle cult casts its spell

My wife, Ann, Wordles.

I am not exactly sure what Wordle is, but she takes part in its rituals every morning as soon as she wakes up. Best I can figure, it is some sort of a cult.

She evidently is part of at least two Wordle covens. Converts of each coven communicate via text on their cell phones. Her phone begins beeping with incoming Wordle traffic as early as 5 a.m. some days. The last of these texts sometimes doesn’t beep in until nightfall.

All the while these texts are coming in, Ann focuses on a tiny grid on her cell phone — five squares wide and six squares deep. She frantically places letters in the squares while other members of her covens rush to fill out theirs and transmit the results to her. (Whatever she is doing, the cult is not of Christian origin, judging from the blue expletives she sometimes releases in the process.)

Several times she has tried to recruit me to the cult, but I have resisted.

I still recall the early days of our marriage when she became addicted to an exercise cult headed by Jane Fonda and spread via video cassette tapes. She lured me into joining with promises of a homemade chocolate pie and a silk night gown (for her, not me) from the Sear’s catalogue.

Following the first meeting of our two-person exercise coven, my lower back locked up and I had to crawl up the stairs to our bedroom — proof enough for me that Fonda was the communist traitor right-wing critics claimed her to be. I am not about to be enticed into another cult.

However, judging by the number of people I now know to be embracing this cult, the number of Wordle converts is growing faster than COVID-19. No vaccine can prevent it and masking is of no use.

Christianity took more than 300 years to become the official religion of the Roman Empire. According to statistics posted on the internet, Wordle appeared in October 2021 and by November 1 had 90 converts.

By the end of December, 300,000 people had joined the cult. Another 1.7 million people worldwide were Wordling by January 8.

Today, statisticians cannot keep up with Wordle’s growth. Estimates of daily participation in cult rituals are as high as 25 million in the United States alone.

Such growth indicates Wordle is quickly moving from the world of cults into the realm of mainstream organized religion. Whether it will continue to flourish is anyone’s guess.

Other cults have appeared in my lifetime, seemed to be moving toward mainstream religion then faded before the faithful even had the chance to buy t-shirts, jewelry, tattoos or bumper stickers declaring membership.

Today, few people under 50 even remember Hulahoopism, or Beaniebabyism, or Petrockism.

Rubikscubeism still has a few followers, but also has fallen back from religion status to being a mere cult — as indicated by the scarcity of people on the street wearing gold Rubik’s Cubes on chains around their necks.

Meanwhile, the Wordle beeping goes on. Where it will lead us is anyone’s guess. While I refuse to join the cult, I will not actively oppose it or make any effort to rescue Ann from its clutches.

I simply request that her fellow cult members don’t Wordle with her before about 8 a.m. The cell phone beeping is disturbing my sleep.