Friday, 28 November 2008

Roll of the Dice

Some years ago in England, I used to ride a bicycle to get to my college every day. One day though, when classes were over and I went to the bike shed, my bicycle wasn’t there any more. Someone had stolen it.

Anyway, a few weeks later I was outside keeping a close eye on the sparkling new bicycle that I had just bought, and which was now leaning – unlocked - against the college brick wall. A 12 speed Raleigh racer. I was about 20 meters away.

Then it happened. A young man dressed in an Adidas tracksuit jumped onto the bike and started to peddle away frantically.

“Oi! Come back!”, I screeched.

But he didn’t come back of course, and peddled away as fast as he possibly could, the bicycle shuddering from side to side like you see on TV as the racers approach the finish line at a stage in the Tour De France.

The T-junction wasn’t far away. He would have tried to use the brakes of course. And then he would have realized that something was seriously amiss: I had removed the brake pads on both the front and real wheels!

He tried to use his feet to stop the bicycle. But it was no good. He had built up such a head of steam that it would have taken much more than his trainers to stop him. Something like a Ford Transit Van.

He screamed a final farewell, and then the gut-wrenching sound of flesh and bones smashing against thick sheet metal wielded together at Ford’s plant in Dagenham South East London. It seemed to happen in slow motion, and after what seemed an eternity, he finally lay motionless at the side of the road.

Needless to say I didn’t bother to get the bike back, and instead headed off in the opposite direction and into the town center to check out the latest releases at my favourite record store, Beggars Banquet.

The reason I tell you this story is that it was the first time I have ever used dice in the decision making process.

I had recently finished reading Luke Rhinehart’s classic novel The Dice Man, in which the story’s protagonist uses a dice to help him make decisions. It fascinated me no end that the mere roll of a dice could determine future outcomes. And having my bicycle stolen gave me the perfect opportunity to put into practice what I had learnt in the book. My six choices had been:

1 buy a new bicycle
2 use the bus to go to college
3 walk to college
4 seek ultimate revenge
5 report the theft of my old bicycle to the police
6 borrow my cousin’s bike

The dice rolled 4 of course. And the rest is history…

What’s your lucky number?

1 comments:

Wizard said...

Good stuff. You were probably just an istrument of fate dice or no dice. To steal a bicycle is sick. It's part of one's soul and body not just another thing. Well done.