Friday, 21 August 2009

The Dice Man

I don't know how many of you have heard of this book, but I'm re-reading The Dice Man by Luke Rhinehart. It's about a man (a psychiatrist actually) who decides to change his life by writing down a list of six things on a piece of paper and letting a dice roll decide which choice to follow.
Now this all sounds very dull, boring etc. but these choices he writes down aren't just things like what to have for lunch, or which book to read. Oh no. How about "Be Jesus for a day" or "go downstairs and rape a neighbour"? Or, because he is a psychiatrist, deciding on how to treat his patients based on a dice roll?
The premise of the book is that he follows the dice without question. To change the way he is, his life, how people see him, react to him etc. He starts off doing it as a new form of analysis on himself, but it turns into... well, I won't spoil it. I'll let you discover it.
Anyway, this got me thinking - could I do something like this? And I found the thought of even leaving minor choices up to chance quite daunting, especially if leaving something 'risky' on the list. For example:

Roll a 1 - Convince a stranger you are in love with them
Roll a 2 - Make drinks for the whole office
Roll a 3 - Take of your shoes for the rest of the day
Roll a 4 - Behave normally all day
Roll a 5 - Only use the ladies bathroom all day
Roll a 6 - Talk in whispers all day

Now one of the above is fine. Two of them are manageable. Two would earn you a lot of funny looks and comments. And one is just a bit scary. The thought of actually allowing fate to make the choice for me is quite a thing, isn't it? But I think that's the point of the book. It would really make a massive change to your life, if you give yourself up to the dice completely.
The above choices aren't too bad, but if you had this list:

Roll a 1 - Attack a stranger in the street
Roll a 2 - Find a cat or dog and kill it
Roll a 3 - Defecate in the street
Roll a 4 - Walk into the office naked
Roll a 5 - Make a pass at a friends female partner
Roll a 6 - Make a pass at a friends male partner

Could you even pick up the dice?? But these are the sorts of things the Dice Man would put on his list. Scary stuff.

Anyway... I highly recommend the book, so if you can, get hold of a copy and read it. (If anyone who knows me wants to borrow my copy when I'm done let me know!)


Charlie Naseweis said...

I'm halfway through it... Haven't picked it up in a while though - classic book

Shauna said...

As it happens I'm off to the library in a bit - hope they have it!

Phil Dawson said...

Yep send it over mate :P