But we tend to forget that knowledge does not require centuries to be lost. In fact, it can sometimes disappear within decades. Philip Roth novels, for example, often successfully re-create these 'lost worlds' that were occupied by our parents and our grandparents, yet contain elements almost wholly foreign to us today (....this may need a separate post....). Take, for instance, Nemesis (2010), which tells of the fear that takes over a community during the 1940s when there is a polio outbreak. Most of us are fortunate to live in a time when polio is nothing more than a distant memory, with only the occasional vestige to remind us that it even existed. Yet polio was a common fear not that long ago.
Let me shift from polio to the game of craps. Craps is a dice game that you can now play if you visit your local neighborhood casino (or the larger gaming venues at Las Vegas or Atlantic City). The principles are relatively simple:
However, craps is also a popular choice for American stage productions when they need a dice game. For example, in Porgy and Bess, the dice game that the men are playing is craps. Also, a craps game is a major plot elements in Guys and Dolls, a musical based on the writings of Damon Runyon:
Why craps? Was that really what everyone was playing? Was this the illegal dice game of choice? Is this the illegal dice of choice and I just don't know about it? Are there more examples? Please feel free to discuss in the comments!