3.17.2010

Discomfort In Friendship and Chess

Those of you who have seen me give talks (or readings, or seen me on Pixelated Live, or merely attempted conversation with me) know that I have a very peculiar sense of humor. I tend to be overly blunt, especially when I first meet someone, and doubly especially when they think they're going to be the "funny guy" and try to catch me off guard... Usually by making some sort of reference to my last name, Peacock.

"OH I GET IT!" I'll shout. "You're referring to the fact that my last name contains the word "cock," as in penis. And this is funny to you. You know what I find funny? Vaginal discharge! Isn't it a hoot?" That'll teach that Presbyterian minister to go snickering at my name ever again... Motherfucker.

I find it best to go ahead and put people off-balance immediately, both in life and in chess. The moment someone sits down to play chess with me, I'll pick the black side and then move first anyway. And my first move is to castle my king with a pawn, and if they look at me funny, I stand up and shout "FUCKING CHALLENGE IT, I DARE YOU!" I snarl and I pound my fist into my palm and I state very clearly that if they dare question the move, I'll beat their face in and then pour lemon juice in the wounds.

You see? It throws them right off their game. They concede, and my "W's" go up another tick.

It's not like I can help it, either - it's my instinct. I can't help it. It's not some act - I just think it's best to whap people over the head with my personality from the get-go and see what kind of stuff they're made from. It immediately lets me know if I can be friends with that person or not - and it's remarkably effective.

Except it did get me expelled from the Chess club in high school. The guys who ran that club could NEVER be my friend.

And that's why I love Drew Curtis, Jon Lee and Peter Zillmann - fantastic guys who never flinch in the face of my insanity. And of course my wife Andrea and my friend Mike, neither of whom are linkable. Except that they are in my book, which I guess I can link here too. Today was the sort of morning where I was able to interact with all of these people and fully appreciate the greatness of their friendship.

But none of them will play Chess with me. I wonder why not.