Bridge Some notable quotations, and goodbye from the road
Here are a few notable quotables on the pros and cons of bridge. The first three are from several decades ago by Fleur Tamon of The Houston Post, a writer who must have had a really bad day at the bridge table:
“There is a delicious but painful form of masochism that has never been recorded in books about abnormal psychology. It is known as duplicate bridge. It is euphemistically called a ‘game,’ but it is about as playful as skydiving or shooting the Colorado rapids in a leaky canoe. This is a competition where the normal elements of generosity, gracious manners and genteel sportsmanship are all laid aside. All that counts is how you score.
“One of the popular gathering places for this ritual bloodbath is the (local bridge studio). The open daily membership games draw an average of 80-100 people. The players’ ages range from 19-90, and together they comprise a veritable human zoo of two-legged loonies.
“Want to learn bridge or take on the pros? Or does deflating your ego, suffering humiliation and making yourself out as one of the more brainless living things let loose on this Earth sound like a good time? All is possible (at the bridge table).”
Now let’s look at a less cynical view from one of the game’s classic writers, Victor Mollo, a quote that so beautifully encapulates the scope and grandeur of the game: “But then bridge is much more than a game. An intellectual exercise and at the same time an outlet for the emotions, it mirrors life itself, allowing every player on every deal to express his personality, to be victor and vanquished, plotter and planner, by turns, without ever knowing as he picks up his cards which role he will be called upon to play or how his adventures will end.”
Still, one should keep in mind, especially given one of the Tamon quotes, that Mollo first made his reputation in 1965 with “Bridge in the Menagerie,” featuring a wide variety of animals intended to represent all the foibles, idiosyncrasies and annoying traits of reallife bridge players.
More Mollo: Thanks to a newly discovered long lost manuscript, a brand new Dr. Seuss book, “What Pet Should We Get?,” came out last year, 25 years after his previous book. Dr. Seuss died in 1991 at the age of 87.
Now, the bridge version. Like Dr. Seuss, Mollo dealt with strange creatures, but his populated the bridge world, including the Hideous Hog, the Rueful Rabbit, and Charlie the Chimp. Mollo died in 1987 at 78.
There have been several posthumous volumes with “Last Call in the Menagerie” (Master Point Press, Toronto) the final installment. Technically, the stories aren’t previously unpublished since they originally appeared in various bridge magazines around the world. Collected for the first time in book form and thus brand new to most bridge players, “Last Call” continues the adventures of Mollo’s quirky, cranky and quarrelsome cast of characters in the setting of clever bridge hands. And speaking of last calls. ... End of an Era: This is the last Sunday Denver Post bridge column. I’d like to thank The Denver Post for the opportunity to write for almost 40 years on the world’s greatest card game.
And I thank all the longstanding and valued friendships in the bridge world over the years. It’s been a great pleasure.
I’ve been on extended hiatus from actual play, which will continue because of travel. There are still so many gritty Third World countries I haven’t been to yet. At least I made it to fun places like Syria, Algeria, Nigeria, Mali and Yemen before they got even dicier.
See you at the table (even if only as a kibitzer.)
SUDOKU ANSWER JUMBLE ANSWER COWARD IMPEDE HAMPER ABRUPT CAMPUS
ADVICE When her grandfather gave them each a valuable painting, it was — MUCH APPRECIATED