Checkers, Ants, and the Mum

Chinese Checkers was invented in Germany, not China. And despite its name, it isn’t even checkers.

Which just goes to prove, once again, you can’t judge a book by its cover.

It somehow involves marbles hopping over one another. I’ve never played. At least, not that I can recall. The history of the game is a long drawn out story. I won’t go into all the details, but it all started with a game called Hoppity which was born right here in the United States. Way back in 1854 by a guy a name George Howard Monks. He was a thoracic surgeon at Harvard Medical School.

He must have had some extra time on his hands when he wasn’t operating on thoraxes. Inventing a board game and all.

The world is brimming with quirky little ins and outs.

I just learned today that In Colombia, people eat dried ants — not popcorn — as the typical movie theater snack. Now, I try to be one of those people who doesn’t knock something until I’ve tried it. However, I must admit, I am glad that I don’t like to go to the movies, and even more grateful that I don’t live in Columbia. Dried ants might be extremely tasty. They are very high in protein, after all. Even so, I’m sticking with my Beef Jerky.

But once again, we see another argument in the thoughts of judging the book by the cover. We don’t know what we don’t know. And we can’t be absolutely sure unless we have tried it.

Another point in case. Beaver College changed its name, to Arcadia, in 2001. It seems that anti-porn filters were blocking access to the school’s website. A simple Google search for Beaver College, and heaven only knows what one might find. When in truth, there was a perfectly good school waiting to be discovered. Dam.

The book by the cover. The surface of things, and we really don’t know what’s underneath.

I have to mention this. Queen Elizabeth II is a trained mechanic. It doesn’t seem to fit together. And I have a hard time imagining her with a can of beer tapped open, resting on the fender of her 1965 Mercedes Benz 600 Pullman Landaulet, as she bends underneath the open hood, swapping out the spark plugs. A little smudge of grease on the tip of her nose. Just beneath the brim of her light yellow hat with daisies on the band.

It doesn’t seem to fit. What what a marvelous thing if it happens on Tuesday afternoons, at Buckingham Palace, while Philip naps.

Judging the book. We all do it. As humans, we can’t help ourselves. We are predominantly visual beings. We see something, someone, somewhere, and we begin to assess. We size it up. And we cast our preconceptions. It is how our brains work.

The appearance of things will powerfully affect what interests us. It also affects how we react. And a lot of the times, we don’t know what’s inside. We all carry around conclusions. And sometimes we simply don’t know.

Maybe we should try to open up a little. Give things a chance, even when they seem impossible. Grab a handful of ants, and play a couple game of Chinese Checkers. We never know what might be under the hood.


“Why judge when it’s only a matter of perception.”
― Haresh Sippy


“Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.”
― Isaac Asimov


“Even the thinnest anything, has two sides to it. Let’s seek to examine both sides to everything before we judge”
― Dr. Jacent Mpalyenkana