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It's a popular novel, written perhaps in the late 60's or early 70's,
the most famous bit in it is where the 'hero' says that if he throws a one
then he'll "go downstairs and rape Arlene", which he does.
I would never throw that dice.
I remember once sitting on a bridge saying that if I threw a six I'd jump off, otherwise I'd throw the dice off, I don't remember if I threw, it was a warm day and I could swim -
I started playing dice as a student, letting it decide what I ate from the canteen, what I drank in the pub, which lectures I went to.
I remember walking into a random University Building - I think it was Modern Languages - I'd never been there before, and throwing dice for which room... It was an hour talk about Montaigne, it was so interesting that I went back the next week.
My method was to write five things down on paper, with numbers 1 to 5, then throw the dice. If I threw a Six then I'd write down another five things and throw again, etcetera. The first five were usually the normal things that I'd have done, watch telly, got to the pub, do coursework, smoke, climb on the roof; - but having to think of another five I'd have to stretch my alleged brain and I;d end up doing something really different, the possibilities were infinite.
But I'd never throw dice for rape, murder, theft, something very immoral. As the dice rolled often I'd realise which of the alternatives I really wanted to do, then I'd have to decide whether to disobey the dice. If you do that more than once in a blue moon then the dice game loses it's power, it's a way of divining what you really want to do, what is important and what isn't, seemingly important things like "If I throw a six I'll get my money out of the bank and fly to America for a month" are diceable, because on the moral level it doesn't matter where one is, but rape is not diceable.
After many months of this I stopped using a physical dice, I knew more about what was important and what wasn't, I'd learnt how to trap fleeting urges and examine them, to follow unusual paths in life,
A few months ago someone came visiting, said something like "get in the car with us and come to X" I wasn't going to, I had things planned that day, but I could have, and there'd be Y and Z there, I said "If I throw a six I'll come", threw the dice and didn't - the point is that morally it didn't matter either way.. so I threw.
A pedant would tell me that "dice" is the plural of "die", but I talk kids' English, not Oxford English, I try and use short words rather than long, it's a dice, ask any kid, and sometimes I don't use a six-sided dice, I could toss three coins and say "If I get three heads" to give an unusual action a one-eighth chance, or "if the number of windows in that building is odd than I'll do X"..]
another use for dice is dividing up cake: say if three of us have put fifteen quid together to buy a cake or something and we want to divide it into three, or into two, or into five, what I do is divide it up as well as we can by eye, into 3 piles we judge to be roughly equal, then instead of letting you choose (and have to decide whether to take what looks biggest to them, or not), throw a dice - if it's a one or a two I'll have that bit, if it's a 3 or a 4 I'll have that bit.. fair!
I used to practice rolling sixes, roll the dice along the 1 3 6 4 6 direction, even on a log rule if you're careful the chance of a 2 or 5 will be low, because of that spinning momentum intertia physical effect that happens when wheels spin, whatever it's called. And if you roll it so that it rolls three and a half times, like judging a golf putt, then you can aim for any number!
"Our delinquents, of whom society complains so bitterly and so complacently,
are the failed heroes - the ones who tried and couldn't find the right channel.
Better rob a train than be a nobody.
Better prove one's prowess in a gang war than remain an anonymous fool
This hero impulse in man needs to be better understood, if we are not to make serious mistakes."
I get weary of people who use pessimism to avoid being responsible
for all the problems in our culture.
A man who says "we're on the road to disaster" is seldom trying to wrench the wheel away from the driver.
I prefer the trouble maker.
He tells them he doesnt like the way they are running the show and taht he thinks he could do better.
The fact is, he's going to try!
In "Rooted" booklet he writes:
"Not all my heroes got it right, not all were consistent with each other or even with themselves. The one theing they all have in common is the understanding that we must try to understand and enjoy the world, and leave is a better place for having been here. and this quest never stops."
Now I'm reading East of Eden, but Kathy is not real, she's like Frankenstein's Monster, I don't believe in a real woman could exist as she's described with no heart, I've met some low junky women thieves, but not like her.. no, no, basically the book's got inside my head and I haven't a hundredth of the talent of John Steinbeck, ow.
they are books of conscience, wisdom, compassion, vitality, fun...
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