Spam, Chess and Moola

“NOTE TO PHOTOGRAPHY STUDENTS: I often get three requests a day for more information. Please do a search in the photo blog and you will find most of the information you need for your presentation.”

The deluge was so great that I couldn’t believe it but I put this note on the home page of my store.

I’m seriously thinking about responding that I will answer questions if you paypal me $10.

I remember when Soupy Sales, the host of a popular kids show, asked kids to go into their parents room and find those green pieces of paper they kept in their wallets and send them to him.  Uhm, that’s a paraphrase and I haven’t gone to Wiki to look up the exact words – but it was along those lines and boy did he ever catch hell for that.

I was one of those kids that tried to do just that.  I snuck into my parents bedroom and was taking a dollar bill – I think it was a dollar bill – from my mother’s purse when she came into the room and caught me redhanded.  You now – Soupy got into trouble, but can you imagine how many kids got into trouble as well?

Of course, I tried to explain that this was for my t.v. pal – Soupy – but she didn’t buy that story – at least not at the time, and went ballistic giving me the “wait ’til your father comes home” line which was a dreadful punishment in itself.  And “go to your room.”

My father was particularly vehement about offenses having to do with money, so I knew that I was going to be in for it.  I consulted with my younger sister, and we came up with the idea of putting a notebook in my pants to protect myself from what was going to be a spanking.  I don’t think it’s legal anymore to spank kids – not sure about that but you might wind up talking to protective services.

Anyway – the show was on in the afternoon – and it wasn’t long before dad was asking me why I made up such a story – and whether I had ever done this before – and eventually I was put on his knee and spanked.  He was so furious that he didn’t realize he was spanking a notepad.  And so he let out his fury, and then left me to think about what I had done and why I compounded the situation by fibbing.

I don’t know when the story broke, maybe the next day.  It was big news.  Soupy was suspended (maybe the show was canceled) don’t remember exactly.  But heard about the uproar and wondered whether he would now have to apologize to me.

Never happened.  Dad didn’t believe in apologizing to kids.  But my mom was contrite when she woke me the next morning, and without saying anything about the incident, asked if I wanted my favorite breakfast before school.  And so, I had my favorite – fried spam and eggs.  Yes – fried spam.  I know now that this is a pretty crappy cut of meat, if it is meat, and it is terrible cold, but if you cut it into very thin slices and fried the heck out of it – palatable anyway.

And when dad came back from work the next night, he must’ve heard the news, because instead of asking to see my homework (at that time it was mostly adding figures which I was bad at) but asked if I wanted to play chess with him (which was a big treat).  We played chess regularly, until I was about 15 and beat him for the first time.  After that he seemed to lose his interest in the game because we only played once more, and I beat him again.  That was the end of that.

My father’s older brother was an excellent chess player.  He was often playing postal chess, and had a game in progress on the table of his apartment in co-op city.  So I went on to playing with him sometimes – but he was too good and I don’t think I ever came close to beating him.  Still, I learned a lot about openings and closings and he was patient with me.

I eventually went on to use this chess experience in college to earn money as a so-so chess hustler.  But that’s another story.


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My name is Dave Beckerman. I am a fine art photographer working in New York City.