As a kid, life was my only teacher
I didn't play video games, I played chess with the Grim Reaper
R.A. seemed to be surrounded by death growing up, and “playing chess with the Grim Reaper” refers to Death taking chess pieces (people) off his chess board (out of his life). He didn’t have the childhood that every child wants.
This might also be a reference to the iconic 1957 movie The Seventh Seal by Ingmar Bergman. The movie is about a knight returning home from a crusade. He encounters Death and challenges him to a game of chess. As long as he hasn’t lost the game, the knight is allowed to live.
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