Life As We Know It: April 8, 2013

         I confess that when it comes to the card game of bridge, I know nothing. I had no idea, for example, that when your partner makes a dumb move, homicide is an acceptable remedy.

          I don’t usually read the bridge column in The Blade but I sat right up and took notice when a recent column began with this: “J. Bennett was shot to death in 1931 after failing to make four spades.”

         The next paragraph explained Mr. Bennett’s strategic blunders in technical terms I could not comprehend, but I gather he messed up pretty badly. He may have “ruffed” his trump or trumped his ruff. I’m not sure.

          Obviously distraught, Mrs. Bennett killed him. Geez, you think you know somebody.

         No mention was made of the weapon, but after a little research, I learned that she shot the poor guy. It’s possible the Bennetts had other problems leading up to the ill-fated encounter at the card table. Maybe Mrs. Bennett had been pining for a diamond and Mr. Bennett had confessed that he had given his heart to a woman he’d met at the club. Just calling a spade a spade, okay?

          If, however, her only motivation was her husband’s ineptness at bridge, then I have gained a new appreciation for bridge players and the courage it must take to sit down and tempt fate with one poorly handled bid.

          Here’s the best part: Mrs. Bennett was ultimately acquitted.

         A jury of her peers disregarded the physical evidence, especially the four shots she fired at her husband, two of which found their mark and did him in. Plus, before the bullets flew, there had been a violent argument over his dunderhead play. Things escalated from there into a deadly confrontation – all of which was witnessed by the couple they had been playing against.

         Lest you think I’m making all this up, I went to snopes.com and Snopes says the story is true. It happened in Kansas City in 1929, not 1931, but the report adds that Mrs. Bennett, after her acquittal, even collected $30,000 from her husband’s life insurance policy, a nifty sum of money during the Depression. Heck, that’s a nifty sum today.

          Of course, bridge was never the same for Mrs. Bennett after she dispatched the mister. Imagine the challenge of finding another partner. And you thought rugby was tough.

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         The creation several years ago of the European Union established a common identity and a common currency, the Euro, while member countries retained their sovereignty and individuality.

          The move gave rise to an analysis of what would comprise European Heaven and Hell.

          European Heaven, it is said, is a place where you will find British police, German mechanics, French chefs, Italian lovers, and Swiss government.

         Conversely, European Hell is a place where you will find British chefs, German police, French mechanics, Swiss lovers, and Italian government. 

         I think I would add Greece to the mix. European Heaven would include Greek philosophers, and European Hell would include Greek economists.

         Even through Italy is already mentioned, I would add one more to European Hell: Italian cruise ship captains.

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