Monday, September 30, 2013

Fly on the wall

“There’s no tackling in chess!” I yelled at my 8-year-old son and my old-enough-to-know-better husband on a Sunday afternoon.

I sat cross-legged on the family room floor, bent at the waist, protectively hovering over the chess pieces delicately perched on the board as said son and husband proceeded to engage in a wrestling match a hair’s breadth away.

As if playing this darn game wasn’t difficult enough...which way can the bishop move again and what exactly is checkmate and what do you mean I can’t spin the king like a top?!

Now they added full contact sport into the mix.

There I was. Minding my own business. Trying - once again - to learn chess because Lord knows the first 26 attempts completely and utterly failed.

But at least I had style.

The set includes beautiful, hard-carved pieces that I purchased from this cute-as-all-get-out toy store in Ireland last year.

When I saw the set perched on the shelf in the tiny shop, I had grand visions of gifting it to my son. Who, in turn, would pass it down to his own child. I smiled, knowing I was looking at what would soon become a freakin’ family heirloom. With a story that would begin with, “Great-grandma brought this back from the Old Country....”

I imagined my ancestors crowded around the chess set, recalling with fondness dear great-grandma. It was a beautiful moment, and I couldn’t get to the checkout counter fast enough.

And now here we were. I was trying to encourage a treasured family tradition and a wrestling match broke out because there’s way too much testosterone in our house.

...Anyone want a chess set?

I’ll give you a seriously good deal.

Probably even throw in a kid and a husband.

But not the dog.

I’m keeping her.


“According to scientists, do you know what the scariest dimension is?” my son asked from the back seat one morning.

Oh, crud. 

That question is waaaay too heavy for 7:30 in the morning as we made our way to school.

Not that I think it would be any easier to answer at 4 in the afternoon, but I will use the early morning hour as the excuse for my somewhat foggy brain that day.

At least that was my thought until I actually began thinking about what he had asked.

The scariest dimension?

Say whaaat?

OK. I got this. I took physics.

Uh, about 20 years ago. But I got an A and it’s not like they changed it or anything over the years, right?

So...there’s time. That’s a dimension.

And space. That’s another one.

And...uh...I’m thinking.

Oh, I got it: the size of my overweight rear-end. That’s most definitely a dimension.

Of those three choices, I know which one I would characterize as most scariest. But the scientific community?

Wow. That hurts.

And soooo judgmental of those pocket-protecting-wearing, no-date-for-the-prom dunderheads.

See? I can do judgmental too.

In any case, I just turned 40. It takes a lot more work than it used to. Get off my case, brainiacs.

But before I could work myself up into a extreme and justifiable righteous indignation, my son solved the mystery for me.

“It’s Dimension X,” he confidently announced from the back seat.


I was nowhere near the right answer.

But I was feeling a lot better about my weight. But not so much about my IQ.

“What the heck is Dimension X?” I asked.

Silence. Then, “Well, I can’t remember,” he said, “but I read it somewhere. So it must be true.”

Score one for literacy.

The jury’s still out on the value of the Internet.

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