Wednesday, April 14, 2010

We must be poor losers - Indeed

 September 22, 1986

Yesterday was my birthday - it was the nicest day I've had. We went to my dad's with Ann - to work on our boxes for shop - which were due today. Cris helped me a lot - gave me the idea and helped with the technical problems and all. My dad helped Ann do hers - they both turned out quite nicely. I think we have done well on our grades. I hope at least because it is worth 70% of our grade - EEK!

Cris bought me a fish for my birthday a few days ago and I thought that was my present - it was a beautiful black moor. I loved it and was very content, but when I got home from my parents he brought out even more! A funky sloop sticky thing like I've always wanted since I was a little girl - no shit - and an e.e.cummings book - wonderful and a full sized chess set.

We played later. We are both so bad at losing I don't know why we play. I think we must play until we can get used to the losing part. It's so insane. Some sort of deep psychological struggle we must over come. He captured my three last big playing pieces in three moves and I almost started crying. I just don't understand. Oh Well. We must be poor losers.

All in all it was a great day. Couldn't have been better. I feel quite close to Cris, of late.

Here I go again, with all these "we" statements. No one was a poor loser but ME. Cris always won. I never understood chess until years later - 1993 - the year after my bone marrow transplant. I bought a house in South Minneapolis with the money that I had received from Social Security Disability. My mortgage payments plus insurance and taxes = $279/month CRAZY!

I had moved into the house with another single mother, who had a toddler. I was subbing on and off. She got a job driving a school bus. One day, I was going to sub and I discovered she had left her baby with me - no baby sitter!!! I was late for my sub job - they never let me come back to their school again. She never contributed to the house. Once I went grocery shopping and did not buy popcorn. She was mad that I didn't notice that we were out. So I drove to the gas station, bought a bag and threw it at her as she lay in the living room chilling. Soon, I asked her to get the hell out of my house.

Cris, who I had divorced, was living in Bayport with his mother. He was wearing out his welcome. His Step-Father was calling him a leech - lawls. I was thinking, "Hey, I could work nights". Subbing was making me sick with my brand new immune system. I told Cris that he could move in to watch the kids while I worked. Stupid idea, I know.

We started playing chess again. I began losing again. I was always angry, sometimes tossed the board to the floor when too many of my pieces were lined up against his the side of the board. I had bought a Child's Book of Chess for the kids. I picked it up one day, thinking that I could get some idea about the game. The book was wonderful, magical. It described why pieces were laid out the way they were, and why the moved in certain directions, e.g. the church has the ear of the Queen and King. I learned the history of the game. The basic strategy - protect the four squares in the center of the board. The King is the Most Important Piece - not the Queen! The pieces had value, so you should trade them accordingly. The point of the game = capture your enemy's KING. I was always just looking at how pieces could move and trying to whittle down the opponent's pieces. The King was just one of the pieces to consider. My idea of the game was similar to Quiddich, where it is important to try to score as many points as you can but, in the end, it is the golden snitch that wins the game.

Wow! I never knew! I played Cris that night. He laughed when I said that I had read a kid's book of chess. He mocked me. I beat him soundly. He never beat me again at chess. I read more chess books. After awhile, he didn't want to play with me anymore.

Chess became a special interest of mine for several years but I have more recently abandoned it because I am much too emotionally involved when I play. I shake and sweat.  I am very angry when I lose. I am very angry when my opponent refuses to acknowledge the beauty and strength of my position. I am angry at people who use petty tactics to win. I have no ability to detach myself from the game. I am the game. I am the army. I die a little inside when my pieces are captured and my
beautiful defense is destroyed .

I am the poor loser, not we, nor anyone else.

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