A Finite Series of Errors

‘You’re dreaming. There are no Utopias. There can be no perfect man. Each of our lives is a finite series of errors which tend to become rigid and repetitious and necessary. Every man’s personal proverb about himself is: “Whatever is, is right, in the best of all possible people.” The whole tendency is . . . the whole tendency of the human personality is to solidify into the corpse. You don’t change corpses. Corpses aren’t bubbling with enthusiasm. You spruce them up a bit and make them fit to be looked at.’

The Dice Man (Luke Rhinehart)

A Sincere Response

The effect of two crawling, begging, drunken women wiggling their way toward me was that I got an erection, not professionally or maritally the most helpful response, but sincere. Somehow I felt that more was expected of a sage.

The Dice Man (Luke Rhinehart)

Quiet Desperation

Why is it that I can lead my life of quiet and desperation with complete poise, dignity and grace, while most women I know insist on leading lives of quiet desperation which are noisy? I was giving the question serious thought when I noticed Lil and Arlene crawling toward me on their knees, their hands clasped in supplication.

The Dice Man (Luke Rhinehart)

The ‘p’ Phenomenon

After she left, I mused for a few seconds on what is called in the medical profession the ‘p’ phenomenon: the tendency of starched nurses’ uniforms to make it seem as if all nurses were bountifully blessed in the bosom and thus shaped like the letter ‘p’. It meant that doctors surveying the field could never be sure that a nurse they were flirting with was proportioned like two grapefruit on a stick or two peas on an ironing board. Some claimed it was the very essence of the mystery and allure of the medical profession.

The Dice Man (Luke Rhinehart)


I dragged myself to it with the enthusiasm of a man with diarrhea moving toward the toilet: I had a compulsive need to get it out but had some months earlier come to the conclusion that all I was producing was shit.

The Dice Man (Luke Rhinehart)

To Avoid Arguments

My initiation into the mysteries of Zen Buddhism had taught me many things, but the most important was not to argue with my wife. ‘Go with the flow,’ the great sage Oboko said, and I’d been doing it for five months now. Lil had been getting madder and madder.

After about twenty seconds of silence (relatively speaking: Larry leapt up to put in toast for himself; Evie tried a brief burst of monologue on dinosaurs which was smothered with a stare), I (theoretically the way to avoid arguments is to surrender before the attack has been fully launched) said quietly, ‘I’m sorry, Lil.’

The Dice Man (Luke Rhinehart)

Ego-less Polymorphous Perversity

I awoke a little before seven, cuddled up to my wife Lillian, who was accordioned up into a Z in the bed beside me, and began pleasantly caressing her breasts, thighs and buttocks with my big gentle paws. I liked to begin the day this way: it set a standard by which to measure the gradual deterioration that succeeded from then on. After about four of five minutes we rolled over and began caressing me with her hands, and then with her lips, tongue and mouth.

‘Nnn morning, sweetheart,’ one of us would eventually say.

‘Nnnn,’ would say the other.

From that point on the day’s dialogue would all be downhill, but with warm, languid hands and lips floating over the body’s most sensitive surfaces, the world was as near perfection as it ever gets. Freud called it a state of ego-less polymorphous perversity and frowned upon it, but I have little doubt that he never had Lil’s hands gliding over him. Or his own wife’s for that matter. Freud was a very great man, but I never get the impression that anyone ever effectively stroked his penis.

The Dice Man (Luke Rhinehart)

A Typical Successful Married Man

My life before D-Day was routine, humdrum, repititious, trivial, compulsive, disordered, irritable – the life of a typical successful married man.

The Dice Man (Luke Rhinehart)

Happy Boredom

Unfortunately, life seemed to get more boring. Admittedly I was cheerfully, even gaily bored, where before I had been depressedly bored, but life remained essentially uninterested. My mood of happy boredom was theoretically preferable to my desire to rape and kill, but personally speaking, not much.

The Dice Man (Luke Rhinehart)

The Shore of Zen

My colleagues, and even myself, mumbling coyly by our couches, all asserted that my problem was absolutely normal: I hated myself and the world because I had failed to face and accept the limitations of my self and of life. In literature this refusal is called romanticism; in psychology, neurosis. The assumption is that a limited and bored self is the unavoidable, all-embracing norm. And I was beginning to agree until, after a few months of wallowing in depression (I furtively purchased a .38 revolver and nine cartridges), I came washing up on the shore of Zen.

The Dice Man (Luke Rhinehart)

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