In this landmark case, which had serious implications for all bridge players worldwide, Bigot-Johnson had to establish that just because he played bridge that this alone was insufficient evidence to label him as insane. Having already been sectioned under the Mental Health Act, he had taken his final appeal to the High Court to secure his release from detention. A transcript of the trial appears below, with Bigot of course conducting his own defence.
Counsel ( For MH Authority ) : I put it to you your honour that this man.....Howard Bigot-Johnson.....is insane. His behaviour at the bridge table is far outside the norms of sane, rational and responsible behaviour. Therefore, only one conclusion can be drawn....he's completely " off his head ".....a term which is not uncommon when it comes to describing bridge players in general.
B-J : I refute that accusation.....Of course, bridge is a game that drives me mad.....but I am not insane. And if any Tom, Dick or Harry accuses me of such, I have an army of potato people who will coming knocking on their door at night...... to seek revenge on my behalf.
Counsel : Please....can we get down to the facts of this case. You Bigot have been sectioned because three independent psychiatric doctors believed the game had completely altered your mind.
B-J : Hold on a minute.....insanity is a relative thing........why I bet you eat from the same hand you use for wiping your bottom. How insane is that ? And what about all those people who believe that because they vote in politicians, they therefore live in a democracy. That's not ignorance.... that's insanity !
Counsel : I will ignore those remarks with the contempt they deserve.....you, Bigot, have all the classic symptoms of an insane person. So please allow me to outline them in detail for the your benefit...and the court's.
1. Outside bridge you cannot cope or function in the real world. You have lost all interest and awareness of your surroundings. You have become totally incapable of performing the simplest routine tasks, because your mind is so full of bridge-related thoughts. Indeed, it is only when you hear the noise of cards being shuffled that to come back to life as a functioning human being.
2. You spend all your active hours in club houses, which are full of people similar to yourself. Such places, with all the screaming and yelling that goes on, the antics, the pantomime, the histrionics and Alice-in-Wonderland carry-ons, are nothing more than unregistered mad houses or lunatic asylums. Indeed, from my prospective, they come across as holding centres for society's misfits, and people with acute mental disorders, not to mention a large body of elderly people suffering from all kinds of dementia. You Bigot , once inside these places, behave in such an animated way, you perceive yourself to be a predatory beast .....one of your more extreme and disturbing delusions. Moreover, when things go wrong at the table, you completely " lose it "......and by that..... we mean your mind and, of course, your sanity.
3. You have on countless occasions screamed hysterically at partners, opponents and TDs alike, often frothing at the mouth and gesticulating in a random and odd-ball way. Your paranoia causes you to rant on like someone cursed with acute persecution complexes, claiming dark forces are working against you.....and that you are the repeated victim of wicked and evil conspiracies.
4. You have without doubt completely lost your sense of self, along with your true identity. Is not the case that you believe yourself to be a top class bridge player, an unrecognised genius, the creator of a blog that people like....possibly want to read ? How misguided is that ! You dress up like an ancient french mariner sporting that ludicrous moustache... yet you claim to be sane.....heavens above, your mind is as scrambled as the eggs I have for breakfast each morning. And oh yes...that annoying intermittent twitch of yours really says it all.
5. Moreover, in the company of others outside these clubs, your conversation only involves reciting endless monologues in a language that barely resembles English.....meaningless, convoluted, technical analysis stuff that is riddled with bridge gobbledigook.
So, I put it to Bigot that the evidence is both overwhelming and irrefutable. You are insane, and so are all the others who have allowed bridge to take over their lives and destroy their minds....... Do you not agree that view, your Honour.
Judge : Indeed, I do......Bigot-Johnson, your appeal has failed. Clearly, you are in need of some urgent and extreme treatment, before we can consider any subsequent appeal to let you back into society. Now, is there anything you now wish to say ?
B-J : Bugger.....