Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tales from the Pool Hall

I showed up at pool night on Monday night and nearly had a Maalox moment when I saw one of the guys that plays league with us sitting at the far end of the hall with a baby in his lap.

First of all, I never thought he was old enough to have a baby. However, I've learned during my stint in pool that nearly anyone you meet in a pool hall, no matter how young, probably has a baby (or two). Apparently, playing pool dramatically improves your virility. And it won't do you any good to assume that the baby's mama is the guy's wife. It's another common misconception that these guys marry the women to birth their children. ~Sigh.~

Anyway, this sweet little guy was 10 months old, and he had the cutest little feet! I went over to coo at him.

A pool hall is a smoky place (and really no place AT ALL for a baby, though I am trying reallyreally hard not to judge here). While I was standing over there, the little feller coughed, and his pacifier popped out of his mouth and fell on the grungy, nasty, carpeted pool hall floor.

I froze for just a second. The guy was reaching down to the floor to get the pacifier, and I swear to God he planned to put it right back in that sweet little baby's mouth! Luckily, years of hard living slowed him down, and I was able to grab the pacifier before he got to it. The baby's mom was standing over at the bar, and I took the pacifier to her so she could have it cleaned. I tried to avoid eye contact with all of them for the rest of the night, because my frazzled nerves couldn't take much more.

I hope one day, someone tells that baby the story of how an anonymous woman saved him from swine flu, gangrene of the toungue, and maybe even stomach cancer one hot night in September.

Sheesh.

****

A few weeks ago, coach was playing a girl from another team in a league game. Now, I don't need to tell you that coach likes to win. (And, incidentally, he usually does.) Everyone agrees - winning is a heckuva lot more fun than losing. I stink, and even I can admit that.

Anyway, the match finally boiled down to this - if the girl won one more game, she took the match. Coach was shooting at one of the last balls on the table before the nine ball (the winning shot), and he missed. He missed a shot that he apparently thought he should have made, and the girl would have had ball in hand (meaning she could put the cue ball anywhere she wanted on the table), thus practically guaranteeing her the win. All she'd have to do is hit one ball in, then pocket the nine.

So coach got frustrated and knocked the cue ball with his cue again, in his pissed-offness. Even though he didn't hit any of the other balls with it (leaving the table unchanged), she called him on a foul and claimed the match. Claimed the match WITHOUT hitting in the last two balls, which, let's face it, should have been pretty easy for her to do.

Oh, dear Lord. First of all, it was a sorry call. If it were me, I would have just taken the ball in hand and finished the game. At least then I would have known I won it fair and square. I think that's the difference between playing for fun, when that kind of stuff is no big deal, and playing in a money league, where some of these folks seem to be counting on that cash coming in. (Sad, no?)

Well, coach got all worked up about it, packed up his cue, was getting all ready to storm out of there bubbling with rage, etc.

The next week, guess who he was matched up against for the SECOND time? I just stopped playing at my practice table a while for that match, because I knew that if he lost to her again, we'd never hear the end of it.

She had won one game, and I think he had won one or two (?) when I asked him if I should put the Lebanese curse on her. Now, the Lebanese curse is very powerful, precisely because I don't overuse it. But I am telling you, there is virtually no defense against it. I've used it a couple of times before in pool league, and it's worked every time. It's easy to cast and easy to remove. The friends of mine who have seen me do it think it's hilarious, but no one can argue with the results. (I've also used it very occasionally in life, though I nearly gave it up after a particularly snobby cheerleader was almost hit by a bus once.)

Coach was all, "I don't believe in that stuff," blah blah blah.

All I'm saying is this. I put the curse on her, and she didn't win another game. Coach turned around and beat her 5-6 times in a row. She never knew what hit her.

I fully acknowledge that it could have just been coach's superior playing (and desire to completely decimate her after what she'd done the week prior) that won the match. But just a little piece of me believes that the curse had something to do with it.

Don't piss me off. I'm just sayin'.

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