Monday, 27 July 2009
DR. JOHN'S CASE NOTES One of the most appalling afflictions, a sad minority of bridge players can fall victim to, is a disorder, which I have labelled TANTRUMUS HISTRIONICA. This particular personality disorder was first diagnosed in the late 70's when John McEnroe was referred to an associate of mine, following his infamous "you can't be serious" spat with the umpire. Sadly, this affliction has spread into all sporting arenas .........including the world of bridge. Indeed, most clubs have within their membership a few players, who for whatever reasons feel compelled to play the game on the edge, treating each successive hand as being more important than the last. An extreme manifestation of this disorder occurs when two acute sufferers meet on opposite sides of the table, whereupon the outcome of this ill-fated encounter becomes a matter of life and death. Any mistakes by their respective partners, or any transgressions by their opponents, result in over-the-top outbursts which even go beyond the boundaries of outrageous theatrical flamboyance. These utterly gross over-reactions can sometimes involve threatening and aggressive gestures to complement ear-splitting shrieks of abuse.........all of which externalise their inner despair, frustration and anger. The condition can become so severe that radical electro-convulsive therapy is now back in vogue as the only treatment likely to subdue their highly volatile emotional states.