Friday, 26 February 2010

As a young psycho-analyst I often wondered why so many club players treat bridge as their religion, and the club house as their temple. But now I know the answer : they are all victims of a disorder known as the Jerusalem Syndrome.
Jerusalem is said to be the only city in the world with its own psychiatric condition. People who come to this city suddenly start to believe in the idea they must go forward in life as prophets, or incarnations of biblical figures. Proclaiming themselves to be the new generation of God's agents, and disciples of the Lord, they start to spout a whole load of nonsense about disturbing revelations and visions of the future, and how Christian values can lead to a better life. Indeed, the city gets more than its fair share of religious fanatics, who rant on and on about the second coming of Christ, or Armageddon. The fact that only sane people succumb to this syndrome seems baffling, in that completely mad people don't. Their transformation into religious zealots causes many of them to wander around the old city ruins, and the biblical wilderness outside, dressed in white sheets......claiming to be the chosen ones and the new Messiahs of the 21st century.
Yet, it is my contention that a variant of the Jerusalem Syndrome has reared its head inside bridge clubs, all over the world. Visitors turn up at these clubs to learn the game, but without realising what is happening, they treat bridge as their new found religion. Their willingness to devote their whole lives to this new calling is frightening. Nothing else at all now matters to them......bridge has become the God of Light........who has enabled them to see their true selves, and their new missions in life. Firstly, they must spread the word of the Wonder of Bridge, persuading others to come to the temples and be converted. Secondly, they must teach the non-believers in the club, the ways the Bridge Gods want the game to be played. In no time at all, bridge clubs are swarming with these bridge preaching zealots, who see themselves as the new bridge gurus....the fountains of all knowledge and wisdom. They preach the gospels of the Acol Bible, and the Rules of the Sacred Orange Book. Nothing stops them in their quest to convert others into following suit. Nothing stops them in spouting out endless loads of patronising, sanctimonious clap-trap. I have tried, believe you me, dozens of theraputic treatments on these poor souls, but all to Noah Veil.

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