There's no escaping this unpalatable truth.....bridge players are ODD. All my research has shown that, in the main, male bridge players are simply children but of a larger growth. Playing games even in adulthood is the pastime that still gives them the most pleasure. Yet strangely, the pleasure doesn't come from the sublime and abstract beauty that one associates with bridge, but from the opportunities that the game gives them to behave like a child.
This retarded development is often the result of an Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Usually associated with children, especially those in the " terrible twos " and the " early teens ", victims become hell bent on defying authority at every turn. Sadly, for many bridge players this odd and disturbing behaviour has never gone away. Bridge simply inspires such behaviour to resurface...... but with a vengeance. Indeed, the adult form of ODD is so serious and so damaging, some sufferers have been compelled by the courts to attend anger management courses.
So what are the classic symptoms of ODD ? Well, from weeks of observational study I can reveal the following aspects of their childish, petulant and uncooperative behaviour :
- throwing repeated temper tantrums
- refusing to play to an agreed system card or listen to partner's pleas
- flouting all the club's rules regarding best behaviour and acceptable codes of dress
- telling TDs what part of their anatomy they can stick their rulings up
- excessive arguing ( especially with those who possess superior knowledge and/or status )
- ignoring all requests made by opponents for bidding information and adherence to table etiquette
Quite a list, wouldn't you say. But as for the causes of this odd behaviour, I tend to support that school of thought which believes that it is all down to the defects and injuries to certain parts of the brain, often present at birth through the genetic inherited genes from family members, with a history of mental illnesses. These illnesses often involve severe mood swings, extreme anxiety and personality disorders, exacerbated of course by social and environmental factors such as the dysfunctional family, and a lawless neighbourhood.
My theory as to why so many bridge players display odd behaviour stems from the fact that bridge clubs are nothing more than theatres of the absurd. Places where every one is participating in a play, which without a script or competent director inevitably transcends into an unreal, totally dysfunctional lunacy. Therefore such conditions are absolutely conducive to bringing out man's inner rebellious child, to enjoy once again the pleasure from behaving like a brat, or an unrestrained and untamed beast. Indeed, within the theatres of the absurd, anyone can choose to play whatever demon part they like.
Bigot-Johnson ( a visionary in my eyes ) describes the world of bridge as bizarre, where players behave in strange and mysterious ways. Bridge for him is like living in the realm of the unreal, where most of the inhabitants suffer from oppositional defiant disorders. A group in which he clearly includes himself, yet in doing so he is acting quite out of character......given the fact that most sufferers hide behind the dark protective cloaks of self-denial.