Jesus sucks at backgammon.
That’s one conclusion that could be drawn from the return of Pat, who, “you will recall”:http://www.polytropos.org/archives/000336.html, declared himself the second-best backgammon player in the world, after Jesus. He showed up again at the Grounds the other day while Steve and I were in the middle of a game, and made it known that he’d be ready to play _whenever_ either of us wanted. He left, but a few minutes later he opened the front door just wide enough to stick his head through and stared at us for about a minute. Still later, when there was a vacant seat at our table, he invited himself to sit down in it.
Steve took up the gauntlet and offered to play him once (not for money, he had to make clear). I watched, hoping that Pat’s bizarre behavior would turn out to be part of his overall persona as a mad backgammon savant.
Sadly, this was not the case. His play was awful — all about the race, with no thought whatsoever for positioning. (An illustration for the savvy among you: by midgame he had four checkers stacked on his own one point. By choice.) As happens sometimes in backgammon, a couple lucky doubles toward the end meant that he was actually _winning_ during the bearoff, but Steve got doubles on his last roll and squeaked out a victory.
And so Pat is . . . just Pat, a backgammon enthusiast with below-average social skills, who, according to some other folks who talked to him, firmly believes that Reagan is not actually dead, but that his living brain is being kept in a vat alongside Nixon’s as part of a shadowy Republican conspiracy. He drives a VW van and carries a mini boombox everywhere.
On the bright side, Steve is now apparently the second-best backgammon player in the world. And while luck was on his side that particular day, most of the time I clean his clock with ease. Monaco, here we come!
UPDATE: Suanna has pointed out, quite correctly, that my opening sentence makes no sense. The fact that the second player isn’t any good implies nothing whatsoever about the _best_ player, who could just be way, way, way better.
So let the record show that you should never play backgammon with Jesus for money unless you want to get your wallet cleaned out.