Canada's Premier Hub For Faith In Common Life
Merry ChristmasMerry Christmas

Merry Christmas

Peter Stockland on the human need for humour as a form of daring humility.

1 minute read
Merry Christmas December 22, 2014  |  By Peter Stockland
Like Convivium? , our free weekly email newsletter.

A friend clued me in recently to some surprisingly unreported mayhem at one of Ottawa’s toniest hotels. Apparently there was a near riot in the lobby when the manager confronted a delegation of—get this—international chess grandmasters.

They had been given private space in which to play but insisted on hogging all the chairs and tables in the public areas. Worse, the winners of each game would showboat aggressively around, shouting at length about how great they were.

Fed up after several hours, and apparently fearful his guests would also grow annoyed and begin to check out, the manager ordered the grandmasters to stop. This so infuriated the chess players that they became physically confrontational. Rumour has it that a handful of them threatened to take to the streets and ransack local pawnshops. Police were called, overturned tables restored.

My friend swears that after the hubbub ended, he asked the manager directly why he’d intervened instead of just letting the games play out.

“I’m running a quality place here,” the manager purportedly replied. “I can’t have chess nuts boasting in an open foyer.”

Read more:


Convivium means living together. Unlike many digital magazines, we haven’t put up a digital paywall. We want to keep the conversation regarding faith in our common and public life as open as possible.

Like Convivium?

, our free weekly email newsletter.