Saturday, October 18, 2003

Please Someone Let Poor Dad Pass Go
And Get Off The Redding Railroad

I come from a family with an unusual line of business.
As a result I am drawn to strange and unusal things.
When I used to write freelance for magazines, I sought
out people with very strange occupations that I could
interview-a water color pet portraitist, a Robert DeNiro
lookalike, a female wrestler, etc. I wanted to pry inside
the minds of these people and find out how their
obsessions came to be such a huge part of their lives.

My parents run the National Scrabble Association.
In short-they arrange huge events where hundreds
of people obsessed with the game of Scrabble play
for money. A lot of money. The crowd is a mixed
bag, mostly characters one might find at a Trekkie
convention-people wearing Alf slippers and carrying
hand-painted tile racks.

This week dad was asked to check out the Monopoly
championships. It involved him flying to Chicago and
boarding a train marked "Redding Railroad" which he
rode all the way back to Atlantic City with Monopoly
obsessed contestants playing the game from seven
in the morning to seven at night. Dad was forced to
eat train food and did his best to avoid the midget
on board that was dressed like the Monopoly man-
black tux and top hat with a gray moustache who
apparently creepy enough stayed in character the
whole time.

Next year mom and dad will be running the Monopoly
championships in Hong Kong. Yes people. Just when
you thought things were strange enough.


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