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.

Oh.

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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