Surreal chess and checker sets

You know it. I know it. We all know it. That most heinous of holidays is on its way. The day the fat man in a red suit commits breaking and entering in every house all over the world, but you still have to wonder "what's the perfect gift for my boring aunt from Buffalo who likes to play cribbage," or "what should I get my stockbroker uncle who's a chess expert and lives on a 40-acre ranch?"

See also...
... by Thomas S. Roche
... in the Scope section
... from November 17, 1999

Here's what: How about dropping $59.99 on Apple Checkers from the Sturbridge Yankee Workshop? Hey, how can you resist buying something from a company with such a weird-ass name, anyway? I know it seems like you'd have to be on ketamine for a game of apple checkers to really be any fun, but old people love this stuff, trust me. "Boldly painted Granny Smith and McIntosh apples" dance frenetically on a hardwood board. The best part, though, is that you can stick the apples on top of each other -- just like a Barrel of Monkeys! Sturbridge informs us that this checkers set is not recommended for small children -- or your cousin from L.A. who's on a crash diet.

And for that stockbroker uncle who lives on a 40-acre ranch, how do you send the message that "Unc, you have too much fucking space in your back yard?" Simple. You buy the well-heeled sonofabitch a life-sized chess set from Nomi Klein Design, Inc. That's right, it's a life-sized chess kit, the perfect tool with which to create the most surreal drug experience ever. Just never you mind that the very idea of a chess set being "life-sized" is a little dubious, given that these are all abstract game pieces to begin with. The board is 16 feet square, and the pieces are 33 to 43 inches tall. The complete set is $9,700 -- enough for a new Hyundai, but hey, if you prefer a life-sized chess set, be my guest. Nomi will also sell you individual life-sized chess pieces, which she says are "extremely popular as art pieces." "Extremely popular?" I guess that explains why I see so many people lugging three-foot-tall bishops around on the bus lately ... so order yours before there's a post-Y2K global shortage!

Thomas Roche longs to devour Granny Smith while humping a 43-inch-tall black queen.