One for the History Books

My sister Janne and I are in many ways very much alike. You can tell from one glance that we're sisters and if you spend five minutes in a room with us, it's obvious that the similarities are much more than skin deep. For one, we both like to be in charge (which gets interesting when both of us are in the same room). We have triggers that make both of us laugh like idiots, while the rest of the room think we are indeed idiots, other things make us cry and if one of us cries, the other one catches it immediately. We are opinionated, passionate, ridiculously logical, yet randomly emotional and the list goes on. I say that with some trepidation, as I have a feeling that a few of the people who know us might feel tempted to leave longer lists in the comment box...

In other ways, we are very different. I am very much into languages and Ahrt, dahlink and my sister is a mathematical genius. Given that I'm pretty sure I have some sort of learning disability when it comes to math thingies, it's possible that I am exaggerating her abilities a smidge, but not by much. I am forever in awe of her aptitude for the squiggles that to me are complete mystery.

When I was a kid, probably about nine years old, my father taught me how to play chess. I enjoyed it, but never quite figured out the trick with looking ahead into the game 3, 4, 10 moves ahead. Back then, I hadn't yet figured out how to sidestep the part of logic and strategy that is linked to math (which, as already established, is not my friend). There was a game that was worse than chess - remember Mastermind? I couldn't get it. Just did not understand. Playing Mastermind inevitably meant that I would get trounced, but I didn't care because all of me was lying curled up in a fetal position, trying to keep my brain from leaking out my ears. Still don't get the game, don't want to get it, doesn't matter how much you explain it to me I'm not going to get it and can you tell that just thinking about it is making my brain whimper and trying to get out of my head? So I'll move on before something drastic happens.

My sister came along when I was 10 and it very quickly became apparent that her brain worked in a completely different way than mine. In fact, already as a child, her brain found numbers and logic effortless and despite being a decade younger than I, she flew through concepts that were puzzling me, quickly earning herself the nickname The Human Calculator.

Around the time that my sister was nine years old, I taught her to play chess. And within a very short time, I played my last game. It was at this time I realized that if a nine-year-old could convincingly wipe the floor with me, perhaps it would be okay to focus on other things.

See what I mean? She's a genius.

Fast-forward many years, enter Facebook and Scrabulous. I may have mentioned that I'm a little bit competitive and it turns out that Scrabulous is a pretty fun game for me, what with being the sister who is all about the words. Not quite as much fun for my numerically gifted sibling and it is a sign of the stubbornness (some have called us bloodyminded) we both share that she kept playing with me (although I'm onto her now - in our last game, she only lost by two points, so she clearly has a long-term plan). Anyway, I thought maybe we could share the pain and invited her to play chess on Facebook. Not surprisingly, she won the first game. Being a sucker for punishment, I started another one and whaddaya know. I won.

I played chess with my sister and I won. We could discuss all sorts of possible reasons - having twin toddlers is distracting, I've learned other, non-math thingies ways of applying logic and strategy - but really? I don't care why. I'm too busy being astonished that I played chess with my sister and I won.

I don't expect it to happen again, but for now, it's seriously messing with my worldview.

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