I believe that the game of Bridge is an allegory for the struggle of life.
And in anything complex & worthy, Bridge has more standards to live by than a teenager who has just gotten his driver’s permit.
In order to play Bridge, you must be able to count to 40, arrange your hand in like-suits, sit still for at least an hour, & work collectively with your partner. You need to follow certain guidelines. For example, to “open” or start, you need to have 5 cards of the same suit and a total of at least 13 points in your hand. Your partner will, most certainly, reprimand you after the game, if you violate these established principles. That is, of course, unless you’ve played the game for more than 30 years, you’re bigger than he is, or you’re totally clueless. Ultimately, your choices could end tragically, and become immortalized on your tombstone e.g. “RIP. I bid 3 no-trump, when I should have passed. “. This game isn’t for sissies,
It’s ironic, humorous, and understandable, too, that your partner is sometimes called “The Dummy”.
As a beginner at Bridge & a practitioner of finding my way along life’s path, I sit, observe, & have tried to abide by the established ingrained traditions of the game. When I think I have obtained “the tricks” with their many finesses, something always surprises me, like an ace or a trump, to take the wind out of my sails and place the game on a whole new playing field. Life is like that too.
To be a “Master”, you must be familiar with the nuances of the game such as “eight ever, nine never”; “cover an honor with an honor”; “second one plays low, third one plays high”; & remember which cards have been played already. That’s pretty difficult for someone, like me, who doesn’t always remember where I parked my car.
When a rule doesn’t seem to make sense or be reasonable, and when you inquire about its logic (for after all, you want to become a better player), you are politely informed, “…because they say so. It just works”.
In life, too, it’s true that you should look both ways before crossing the street; taste the soup before adding more salt; don’t put the cat in the dryer; & remember to honor your spouse’s birthday & anniversary.
It always gets so very complicated.
Study, teamwork, attitude, courage, and luck are all elements of Championship Bridge & a successful life.
Remember, too, that just because you win more tricks in Bridge, doesn’t guarantee that you will win the game.
That’s true in life, as well, i.e. just because you have less money or a smaller home than someone else doesn’t mean that you are any less successful or less happy.
Now, please pass me that beautiful bowl of cherries.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.