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The Rolling Story of Fuzzy Dice

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Ever wonder why fuzzy dice hanging from the rearview mirror was a thing?

Well, fuzzy dice being a thing may have started way back in World War II. According to writer Terri Lynn Coop, before embarking on a “sortie” (dictionary definition: an attack made by troops coming out from a position of defense) superstitious pilots would put a pair of dice with “seven pips showing” on their instrument panel as a sign of good luck. Another interpretation according to Coop is that the dice were representative that each combat flight was a risky “roll of the dice.”

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After World War II, veterans returned home to discover that many young people now had spending money and freedom; they funneled both into the purchase of automobiles which gave way to the beginning of the hot rod and the fury of illegal street racing, said Coop.

“Nobody knows which street racer hung the first pair of plastic dice over his rearview mirror, invoking the old pilots’ superstition and cynicism. However, before long, plastic dice became part of a look that identified the alternative culture, as much as was rolling a pack of Lucky Strikes up in a t-shirt sleeve,” Coop writes.

According to Coop, “displaying the dice meant the driver was ready and willing to be ‘dicing with death’ in the dangerous and unregulated world of street racing.”

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Plastic dice that disintegrated in the sun soon gave way to longer-lasting and melt-proof fuzzy dice, according to Coop. As time went on and racing become a legal, organized sport, drivers still opted to hang the fuzzy dice in their cars until most states outlawed the practice of hanging items from rearview mirrors, and today, fuzzy dice hanging from a rearview mirror are more a nod to the past than a representation of danger, superstition, or wildness, according to Coop.

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