30 December 2012

Not So Funny

Old Woody Allen joke:-

A guy walks into a psychiatrist's office and says, 'Hey doc, my brother's crazy! He thinks he's a chicken.' Then the doc says, 'Why don't you turn him in?' Then the guy says, 'I would but I need the eggs!'

Not so old Bobby Fischer story:-

At the Marshall Chess Club [late 1950s], no one doubted the teenager's talent. But his prickly behavior was alienating some of the wealthy sponsors whose support he would need to rise to the top.

"Some of what he did was so outrageous it was decided maybe he had emotional problems," says [Allen] Kaufman, who attended the meeting. What to do? Board members talked about finding a psychiatrist. They considered Reuben Fine, himself one of the giants of the game. Then someone raised a question: What if therapy worked? What if treatment sapped Fischer's drive to win, depriving the United States of its first homegrown world champ?

Meeting adjourned. No one, Kaufman recalls, wanted to tamper with that finely tuned brain.

[Fischer story from Joseph G. Ponterotto's 'A Psychobiography of Bobby Fischer' (first noted on this blog a few days ago in The Broken Bridge), quoting 'Life is not a board game' by Peter Nicholas and Clea Benson, Philadelphia Inquirer, February 2003.]

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