Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Currently visiting ( incognito of course) all the major bridge venues and clubs in USA and Canada is Dr. Ophelia Bhoem, who is using her sabbatical year from Boston University to undertake a major investigation into what bridge does to players' minds. Olivia ( as she now prefers to be called ) is particularly interested in the psychotic effects of playing social mind games, and why bridge players in particular seem to suffer the worse. Initially horrified by what she first casually observed , she felt a far greater understanding of players' psychological disorders could be gained by learning the game, and being there at the table. This way she could study her " subjects " at close quarters. Her current ranking incidentally is advanced master.
Born in Filzmoos, Austria she migrated to the USA in 1977, after a scandal involving a leading politician, kinky sex, gimps, and instruments of torture. Very soon she became more and more fascinated by the insidious habits of competitive bridge players, especially when such behaviour provided evidence of warped and twisted minds. She has written for many years about the way bridge players have willingly allowed themselves to fall victim to psychosis and paranoia, in the relentless pursuit of victory. Sponsored by the WBF in conjunction with leading USA Health Authorities in an unprecedented move to promote the welfare and interests of ordinary players, Olivia is well on track to meet her publishing deadline. The world waits with bated breath on her forthcoming, ground breaking research paper : a qualitative study provisionally entitled " Are you really the person that you imagine yourself to be ? "
Not surprisingly, she has perceived Dr. John's articles as a valuable data base and source of inspiration. She vehemently objects to any suggestions that this caring and dedicated professional is simply having a good laugh by poking fun at the various stereo-types that frequent the bridge club scene in Britain. Olivia originally anticipated being on tour for just three months, but this has now been extended to one year, because of the alarming number of "disturbing and unique qualities "( her words ) that so many bridge players seem to possess.
Happy to have Dr. John on hand for advice, she is hoping that this research might lead to ways of altering players' mind-sets. This could be done by pumping into the air an hypnotic-inducing drug which makes all players in the room completely and utterly " suggestible to instructions ". These will appear as calm reassuring messages displayed upon every club door and wall, not to mention being repeatedly whispered over the intercom. Olivia is almost ready to implement this revolutionary mind control technique ( MCS ) on unsuspecting club members in Vegas........although she is acutely aware that her critics will claim that such practices fly in the face of medical ethics..
However one person she observed convinced her completely that some drastic form of " mass conditioning " was necessary. For when she attended one of matches involving the USA team taking on Bigot-Johnson's All Conquering Heroes, she thought it would be a good idea to interview the man himself, given his reputation of being a " raving psychotic ". She gave very generously of her time , only to conclude that the label fitted him to a tee, and that he was indeed " a most fascinating and complex individual " .....but one who let bridge affect his mind to such an extent, he was now incurably insane.
( By the end of the year Olivia hopes to get all her work published in The Lancet, but for copies of her monthly progress reports and findings e-mail her on imalumbarquack @ bupd.usa.com. )

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