This weekend we went to a cookout with some friends. As we sat around chatting, one father mentioned that he and his son like to play chess together.
My father liked to play chess with me as well. He has this gorgeous hand-carved chess board from his time in Italy. The pieces are rendered in blonde or chocolate colored wood.
When I was in fifth grade, we moved from Oregon to California and had to rent a house while we looked for one to buy. This house was fine on the outside but I kid you not, the inside was ugly enough to give you an unpleasant shock every time you stepped in the door.
Flat brown argyle pattern carpet (who knew they made that??) in the bathroom with brilliant turquoise and green and white patterned wallpaper (if that somehow sounds attractive to you, take a moment to slap yourself silly) and a bright, rainbow striped shower curtain that oddly enough contained not a trace of brown, turquoise, green, or white (in other words, nothing that could remotely be considered to actually match any other color in the room).
And that was just the bathroom.
But I digress.
The living room was a dark cave with literally no windows at all. You could light a few lamps and give it some ambience but the truth was, it was always rather dim. We kept our chess board at the end of our coffee table, farthest from the light of the adjoining room.
Now, to have this story make sense, I must tell you that we were (and remain) a cat family. Cats, when they aren't busy sleeping, like to mess with your stuff. Our cats especially loved to knock the chess pieces off the board and fling them around the living room floor.
One fine day, it was my turn to straighten the living room. As I moved through it, dusting under my mom's huge collection of glass what-have-yous, I noticed a pile of chess pieces on the floor next to the board.
I put down the dust cloth and approached the pile.
Dark chess pieces, three of them, lying there in a haphaazard pile. Waiting for me.
I bent down, stretched out my hand and some indistinct voice at the back of my brain screamed, "WAIT!!!! All the dark chess pieces are still on the board!!!!"
Alas, the message did not travel fast enough and I scooped up three pieces of cat poop in my bare hand.
Ewwwww, I know.
Because my family is as warped as you, they laughed til they cried (okay, I laughed too. AFTER I scrubbed my hands.). From then on, we referred to cat poop as chess pieces.
I've never looked at chess the same way since.