How Anthropomorphizing One’s Dice Leads to the Loony Bin
by Jana Bohrer
Anthropomorphization – “To attribute human personality to things not human.” Webster
Backgammon players are masters of the art of breathing life into inanimate cubes – specifically dice. Players have been known to name their dice and imbue them with personalities.
Certainly they name the rolls – “The Boys” for 6-6 and “The Girls” for 5-5, etc.
But, some go too far and complete a process of psychological transference. They become their dice.
This can have serious repercussions. The process of transference that allows players to merge with, or “become one” with the dice creates a new, symbiotic entity in the player’s mind. The dice and the player are now a single brain with a common goal – WINNING! Or so the player believes.
This is fine when things are going well and the dice are responsive to every command. They hit, they cover, they prime, they leap and they never, EVER dance.
Studies have shown that at this stage, the player is rarely even aware that he and the dice have merged. In fact, he attributes all of his wins to skill! He is totally oblivious to the part the dice are playing in his string of victories!
But what happens when things stop going so well?
What happens when the dice turn to the dark side?
Psychologists have yet to grant the disease a name, so I have taken the liberty of creating one –
Dice Abandonment Disorder (DAD).
The condition is rampant among backgammon players and is also very prevalent within the craps community. Studies show that 1 in every 2 players is suffering, or has suffered from, DAD.
The exact causation of DAD remains a mystery. But at least one prominent Austrian researcher has found some correlation between:
It seems the dice begin to feel taken for granted and thus, move out.
The disease progresses rapidly.
Phase I – Denial The player feels the onset of symptoms but continually insists that nothing is wrong. He frequently gives in to an uncontrollable urge to dance on a 1 or 2-point board. He is unable to roll 6-6 unless his opponent has rolled an opening 6-1. His 5-5 may feel blocked. But at this stage the player refuses to accept that the dice have left him. He carries on as usual, believing his superior brain will overcome any temporary lack of luck.
Phase II – Anger The player now has full-blown DAD. Rage ensues as he realizes that the dice have packed their bags and moved out. He turns on them. The dice are now the scapegoat for all misfortunes. 1/3 of patients in this Phase commit dice abuse. The player may throw the dice into a wall or other hard object. In severe cases, paranoia sets in. The player’s mind turns increasingly to conspiracy theories in which the dice are the enemy and are planning an assassination. Victims are heard to say, “My dice are killing me.” (Some sufferers have gone so far as to claim that JFK won big in a floating crap game in Ft. Worth on the evening of November 21, 1963, and that the dice were lying in wait on the grassy knoll to get their revenge.)
Phase III – Bargaining The player now realizes the error of his ways. If only he had blown on them more, perhaps the dice would not have left. If he had just taken a minute to cuddle them, and tell them how much they meant to him, maybe they would still be together. He promises to buy more comfortable dice cups if they will just come home. He tells them he will move up to a bigger board in a better neighborhood. All in vain.
Phase IV – Depression It becomes clear that the dice have chosen another. His dice are now cozying up to his opponent! Frequently the sufferer says that he will quit backgammon forever and leaves notes to that effect on his score sheets. Though he rarely follows-through with this threat, it should be taken seriously as a cry for help.
Phase V – Acceptance The victim has reached the end of the road. It’s all over. He tells friends and colleagues that while he will always love backgammon, he’s ready to start playing other games, perhaps cribbage or dominoes. Maybe he will be able to play some BG every other weekend, but he no longer expects to score.
DAD is almost always irreversible. In rare cases, with expert tutelage and intensive primal scream therapy, the player recovers his dice. But, alas, even in those cases where a cure seems within reach, 99.786 % of players experience a relapse after once again taking the dice for granted and the DAD cycle repeats itself.
DAD is the most vicious dice disease, but there are others. These include, but are not limited to:
Dice Bewilderment Disorder (DBD) – Continually misreading the dice in a manner favorable only to one’s own position.
Dice Compulsion Disorder (DCD) – An obsessive need to count all doubles rolled by anyone in the world at any time to make sure they are fairly distributed.
Dice Deification Disorder (DDD) – Symptoms include praying to dice, and/or setting up a shrine to dice in the dining room after sacrificing a chicken.
Dice Exhibitionist Disorder (DED) – Compulsion to roll with a tic, jerk or “flair” that opponents find annoying.
And so it goes…
It is clear that the road to the Loony Bin is paved with dice. If you have seen yourself in this article, remember that the first step to getting well is recognizing that you have a problem. SEEK TREATMENT NOW! Operators are standing by. Call 1-800-BIG-FISH and set yourself free from DAD forever.
(Side effects of treatment may include: the inability to stop screaming primally, gibbering idiocy, inability to assume any position other than fetal, loss of rolling skills and poverty.)