Today, I have a very special guest post. After many invitations, my wife, Ms. MMK has agreed to provide a blog post. I think it was easier to get her to marry me.
A little background if I may. My wife and I were set up through mutual friends. For our first date, we agreed to meet at a restaurant in Manhattan. Every time my wife recalls how we met, she jokes that when she walked up to the restaurant I was talking to a homeless woman. “Who knows things might have worked out for you two if I was late?” Ha ha ha.
While I don’t remember the specifics of the conversation with the homeless woman, I do recall what Sara and I talked about. We found that we had some common interests including writing. She did and still does work as a science writer for the National MS Society.
I have great respect for Sara’s writing and editing capabilities. I remember the first time I asked for her opinion and review of something I wrote. It was a cover letter for a job application. We disagreed on nearly everything. Not quite a match made in heaven.
Well, since then, I ask for her opinion and review of everything I write. And I wisely defer to her.
I played about four games of chess with B.R. this weekend. I won all of them. I’m not used to that sensation.
The last man I played chess with was my Dad. He put the “R” in B.R., unfortunately, when he died 25 years ago. My Dad was the kind of smart that you don’t get in books – the kind of smart that thrives in figuring things out, making broken stuff work again. I lost every game except one – that’s when I knew that the brain tumor that had wrapped itself around his spinal cord had gone too far. I remember that moment so clearly because I felt so damn sad.
Fortunately, I’ve lost to B.R. for less painful reasons. Sometimes because I’m not focusing, sometimes because he’s that good. It’s weird to have this connection with him, because it’s not the one I expected to have with my children. You see, I was supposed to have quiet little girls who were awesome in school – goody two shoes, even. Excuse me while I snort with laughter. My two boys – B.R. & S.J.- literally remind me of that comedian who screams out all his jokes. I gesture to them in futility as if I’m turning down a radio, “Turn down the volume!” Sometimes it actually works.
You might be saying at this point, “Chess is a quiet, well-behaved sport. So if your son plays chess, how loud could that be?” Ha! You’ve never played chess with the ultimate chess-trash-talker – that would be B.R. Here’s a snippet.
“So that’s your move, huh…I’ll show you MY move…Take that, Queen! [the queen gets knocked off the table at this point, struck violently by the castle]…You think you got me with your pawn? Well I got YOU with my bishop…ha! You think you’re so smart coming at me with your horse…I’ll show YOU a horse move…..”
It just goes on. And on. And you have to see him in action. My little B.R. – in constant motion even when the ADHD medicine is high in his system – fingers winding up as he decides his next move, taunting me like we’re meeting in cleats on the 50-yard line of the Superdome. Sometimes he gets so wrapped up in it that I have to shout, “B! What’s your move?!”
I didn’t teach him chess – B.R. had one lesson from an ambitious aunt on Larry’s side of the family, and I played my first game with him one week later. He had retained all the rules – quite a feat for an 8-year-old, or for that matter, an any-year-old. He has yet to develop my Dad’s strategizing ways, but he’ll get there, I’m sure.
My connections with my two boys spring up when I least expect them. I like to think as I play with B.R. that my Dad’s expansive and intuitive mind is landing in my son. I’ll take it, even if it comes with a badass mouth.