Neighborhood Tyrants – Bridge Nazis!

I’m not a Seinfeld fan and managed to miss every episode, a situation for which I am totally unrepentant. So, when I heard about the legendary soup place owner whose compulsive regimentation of his customers earned him the nickname “Soup Nazi” I thought, “Hah! What an unlikely situation. That’s something only a New Yorker would dream up!”

A few nights ago we were visiting the neighbors and a hilarious discussion broke out on the subject of “Bridge Nazis!”

Seems that one of the area bridge groups catering mostly to retirees is hell-bent on enforcing punctuality. If a couple shows up a minute after the starting time, they are turned away with no appeal. Furthermore, they are subjected to such a scolding for being late, that it sounded like the Seinfeld episode titled the Soup Nazi.

Ir it weren’t so amusing, it would be a subject of concern. Here in this charming, rural development there is a group that is so obsessed with order and obedience they have turned a weekly social gathering into a comic version of the Nth Reich. I am not sure what keeps the faithful coming to these Monday morning obedience sessions. Maybe they serve Schnapps to the retirees with perfect attendance. Bridge is a harmless pastime and it boggles the mind that it is being used as a tool for enforcing discipline.

Years ago, my wife of that decade and I used to play Bridge on a weekly basis. It was strictly a means to get out at night with a bunch of friends without spending a lot of money. It was a great way to pass time. Once I joined the next startup, card games dropped off the radar completely.

The retirees who regaled us with this story suffered no lasting effects from their rebuff at the hands of the “Bridge Nazis.” Being from New Jersey, they are made of sterner stuff than that. They left without looking back and immediately joined another, more congenial, bridge group.

The moral that might be drawn from this is to cut your losses when you run into a petty tyrant on his home ground. There is no percentage in trying to achieve justice when the majority sees nothing wrong in such tyranny.

Find another game to play and go on with life. At least you will have an amusing story to share and the worst thing that could happen to such a tyrant is to have their activities exposed to ridicule.

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