Thursday, March 27, 2008

Lawyers Ousted by Chess

In a development that must be unprecedented in the history of civilization, a law office in DeLand, Florida, is being razed to make way for—are you ready for this?—chess.

It’s true. I’ll pause for a moment so you can read that first incongruous, counter-intuitive sentence again and allow it to sink in. Apparently, the powerful and unscrupulous chess lobby in DeLand has thrown its full weight behind a plan to displace a poor, defenseless group of attorneys. It all sounds very Dickensian, doesn’t it? Money quote from the DeLand-Deltona Beacon:

“To make way for the controversial new Chess Park in Downtown DeLand, a former law office on the east side of the Volusia County Historic Courthouse is being demolished.”
Okay, so in truth it’s actually a former law office, presumably vacant, and no flesh-and-blood ambulance chasers are being tossed cruelly and unceremoniously onto the snowy streets of Florida. What a relief! But, really, people, they’re building a park for chess. Can you believe it? It makes me jealous. Here in Chicago, we spend half a billion dollars for Millennium Park and not a single chess table in the place. Then, Mr. Locke, who obligingly provides the unmet need, gets chased down the boulevard.

But I digress. The Beacon article doesn’t say why the park is “controversial,” though based on a report last year from Boylston, it appears the elders of the town are worried about people betting on chess. Chess and gambling? Has that ever happened? In any case, it’s reassuring to see that they’ll have security cameras in the park. A chess park is a natrual breeding ground for terrorist activity—a veritable threat to national security—and I’d shudder to think that people might be allowed to play blitz without Big Brother keeping an eye on things.

End of rant. I guess this post exhausts my sarcasm quota for the month. Apologies in advance to my many lawyer-friends.


Anonymous said...

Mr. Panelas:

Kindly provide your address for service of process purposes in connection with the class action defamation suit that will be coming your way on behalf of lawyers everywhere that have been irreparably harmed by your callous and insensitive posting.


Tom Panelas said...

Do your worst, counsellor. I'll see you in court.


P.S. My only address is virtual (I am not alone in this, you understand). Feel free to e-mail me your lawsuits, subpoenas, and bank account numbers for funds transfer to and from Nigeria.

Anonymous said...

Chess and gambling? Yes! Apparently it was enough of an issue so that, at least for some ayatollahs, Muslims are banned from playing chess.

Tom Panelas said...

I do recall reading about al-Sistani's edict against chess, which as I recall seemed strange alongside other practices that he permitted (practices that should not be mentioned on a PG-rated scholastic chess blog like this one). But someone said somewhere that he may have been confusing modern chess with a different game that went under the name in the Islamic world centuries ago that was inextricably invloved with gambling. Though that can't be said of the game we play, it certainly does involve betting often enough. The action in Washington Square Park, Chicago's North Ave. Chess Pavillion, and many other places confirms this.