Sunday, November 27, 2005

Chess as a metaphor

H has been after me to play chess with him. He and I used to play quite a bit in our younger days and we were both pretty good, I think...well, at least good enough so that we each won 1/2 the time or so.

So, we sit down to play chess, at H's request, for the first time in over a decade. I spent a 1/2 hour or so reminding him of the rules, showing him how pieces move, and some suggestions on opening play. I can tell that he has a hard time keeping up.

After a bit, H looked very distressed, began to cry. "What's wrong?" I asked. He has a look of great pain on his face. "I can't figure it out anymore; it's overwhelming. Put it away." I go over and hug him, kiss him on his head, tell him, "I can't remember parts of the rules myself, it's OK." "No, it's not," he says. "Here I am 46 and I can't remember how to play and I can't figure it out now."

And I think to myself, if chess is this hard, this overwhelming for does he experience life then?

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