Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Game of Bob and Alice

They're conventions used by game theorists
And behavioral economists
Of English-language varieties

When trying to explain their arcane
Disciplines to undergraduates
Unaccustomed to talking in maths.

Consider the counterfactuals:
"It is because of what would happen
If they were reached that they are not reached!"

E.g., "Why does Alice murder Bob
In Kidnap? Because she believes that
He would tell on her if she didn't."

Half-schooled as I am in the argot
Of games meant to model decisions,
I know that "Kidnap" is one such game.

Still, half-mired in story's telling lies,
It's easier to think of Kidnap
As a ghost town not far from nowhere

Where Alice, who is gaunt, brown, and tall,
And quite possibly that rare creature,
The full-blown female sociopath,

Has chosen to kill her lover, Bob,
Or perhaps the undertaker, Bob,
Or perhaps a perfect stranger, Bob.

Why Alice murders Bob in Kidnap
Has nothing to do with strategy
And everything to do with boredom.

Kidnap is such a dusty hell pit
Between hardpan and cactus deserts
And no one who lives there lives at all.

Alice just dragged out her revolver
From under her dirty gingham skirts
And shot Bob because she felt like it.

There's your game theory, there's your justice,
Planet Earth style, death because things die,
And death is your due, tough luck for you.

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