Everything there is to know!

Doris is communing with God in the backseat of her 1977 Buick LeSabre. It was only a matter of parking at the Jamesway and crawling between the front seats to lay face down on the rear interior’s cool vinyl. There, eyes shut, she started cycling through all the faces she could think to remember. Family and friend and coworker faces came first, naturally, but soon enough she’d gone through the neighbors she hates and their awful children, most American presidents, various news anchors, her elementary school teachers, and that bust of Plato where it looks like he doesn’t have any eyes.

For an instant she is imbued with the unlimited supreme knowledge that all human life is connected through time and we are all each other and one of a kind all at once, then she notices her nose is touching exactly the same part of the backseat where the dog puked two days ago.

Atlas! Atlas! Atlas!

Here’s my challenge to you, you facile multitaskers
making short work of the multiverse
with your “smartphones” and “screen protectors!”

Why not just do one thing!

Today I listened to an audiobook on the couch and did nothing else,
you know, reading and shit!
Did you know that Nikola Tesla was born during a lightning storm!
Tomorrow I’m gonna ride my bike
and not even try to listen to music at the same time!

Go ahead and check in while following up and circling back.

I’ll just be over here
retiring every day!

Chess is the first game I remember learning how to play.

I was in DH’s living room in 1995. He set up a chessboard on the ottoman to walk me through my first game while his parents watched what was either a new episode of The Jeff Foxworthy Show or the same episode over and over again. Our play was punctuated with stabs of his mom’s laughter, and his dad, a closet chess genius, kept half an eye on us to make sure we played a “legitimate” game, which we did — DH beat me handily and went into the kitchen for some Chips Ahoy and I contemplated just how severely he had schooled me.

Chess is a great game, and especially so at a younger age. It establishes the world as literally black and white, with absolute boundaries and transparent rules for how you navigate within them. The subtext says: “Be not afraid! Despite locking you in diametric conflict with your best friend, I’m such an understandable, approachable game that you can reduce all my subtleties to a notation of letters and numbers after the fact.” It’s reassuring, and that’s an odd characteristic for a game rather unambiguously derived from the hells of war.

Then one day some asshole took Monopoly down from the game shelf at school and started setting it up. Now there’s money and real estate to play for, and that’s how you win? Why is this paper more valuable than the thing it represents? And what’s with the dice? I can’t make the move that I think is best for every turn? My black and white world is turning pink and blue and gray. I was represented by a diecast shoe, I won a beauty contest, then I was sent to jail for no reason. We eventually stopped playing, not because someone had won, but because it was lunch time and no one’s actually completed a game of Monopoly since 1945.

A gallant chess player makes a move and says, “Take that!” A savvy Monopoly player lands on unclaimed property and says, “I’ll be taking that now.”

You can take your pick between the two games. Me, I’ll be working on my knight moves.