1 Jun 2011 mentifex
The Forthcoder Diaries -- 2011 June 1
Am 1. Juni 2011, Mittwoch Morgen in der Eigerwand.
Yesterday at KCLS/RB I decided to Google
"Larry Parr" and see what my old UW college
buddy was doing. It came back that two months
ago Larry had died. The shock has still not
worn off a day later. Larry Parr was one of
the first people I met in my first freshman
year at the University of Washington.
We were in Honors English together
in Balmer Hall just across the yard from
Denny Hall. Professor Elinor Yaggy had
us reading "A Passage to India" by
E. M. Forster. Before class Larry and I
had many a conversation in the sky-
bridge over to Mackenzie Hall. I had
very boring weekends, and I would marvel
at Larry's stories of his wild weekends.
Three years later, during the
Larry took me to a brand new coffee shop
autochthonously called "The Last Exit" on
Brooklyn Avenue. There Larry told me all
about Ayn Rand and the Objectivist
philosophy and "Atlas Shrugged" and
Governor Reagan of California. Larry was
young and he had the world by the tail
and he would go on to great things that
would make me brag about Larry Parr
to my chessbum father.
Fast forward about ten years and I was
down in the bowels of the U.W. Suzallo
Library, using old microfilms of the
Seattle Times newspaper. For some
reason, Larry Parr was down there
looking at maps. We had both been
in the U.S. Army, and Larry told me
how he had served as a U.S. Army
spook in Germany listening to
Russian soldiers asking "Tam li?
Tam li?" over the radio.
Years later I ran into Larry Parr at
the Last Exit and he told me he had
written a book about local Seattle
chess players. I asked Larry if the
book included my father, who was
once tied for chess champion of
Washington state. Larry assured me
that he had mentioned my father in
the book, but a the U Book Store I
could not find any mention of my
father in Larry's book.
Another ten years later I was walking
around Green Lake in Seattle when
Larry accosted me and harangued me
about those "retromingent" evil-doers
he was always complaining about.
Larry told me that the authorities
had deported him from Malaysia
because of something he wrote as
a journalist. He was waiting for things
to cool down so that he could return to
Malaysia and be re-united with his wife.
I often repeat to other people Larry's
favorite Bobby Fischer story. According
to Larry Parr, Bobby Fischer was playing
in a major chess tournament in the
Caribbean and the news media commentators
were reporting live that the world chess
champion Bobby Fischer had lost his edge
and had begun making a series of blunders
in the game going on. The commentators
were heaping derisive scorn on the has-been
Bobby Fischer whose series of moves looked
to the chess experts like utter folly.
Dis aliter visum.