Friday, May 26, 2017

Ecuador Slim

Grab this related post Widget!
When Tom challenged me to a game of pool I told him it had been years----.

"No problem," he said. "You break."

"You sure?"

"Yep. Go for it."

"OK-----."

In high school I did well in geometry. But there's quite a difference between solving an equation and determining the angle and speed of your shot. Applying "English" to the ball is perhaps the only time when my Spanish skills are superior.

As I struck the cue ball I discovered a similarity between my pool and golf games--the nagging tendency to take my eye off the ball and raise my head at the moment of impact. This causes you to "top" the ball instead of hitting it dead center.

The result of my vicious thrust of the cue stick was a slow motion curve ball that missed the triangular mass of balls completely and wandered into the right corner pocket.

We both laughed as Tom fished out the errant white "weapon of miss destruction" and told me to do it again.

I steadied myself, zipped the cue stick forward and achieved the exact same result, only this time with impressive velocity.

Now we were both doubled over and howling with laughter. Who knew pool could be this entertaining?

A third time I literally gave it a shot and---success!

Sort of.

My cue ball indeed made contact, but so lightly that the triangular formation of balls appeared to merely exhale. One who was watching this display of ineptitude and knew nothing about the game would have assumed the term "break" had some perversely opposite meaning. Because the object was obviously to treat the other balls as if they were eggs, and one should either miss them entirely or exhibit the superior skill of touching them very gently so that they don't in fact "break."

At this point tears were flowing and our jaws ached from laughing so hard. At least the game was finally underway.

I knew that to make a ball go to the right, for example, I needed to strike it left of center. But how far to the left? And at what speed? I kept guessing wrong, and in short order Tom had only a few balls left while most of mine were still littering the table.

This "strategy" would later work to my advantage, but right now I faced an additional challenge beyond the fact that I couldn't seem to get my balls to go into the holes. My "easiest" shot was right up against the edge of the table, forcing me to stand awkwardly with the back of a sofa right behind me.

I'll admit that alcohol was part of the evening, but the quantity of consumption wasn't sufficient for what happened next. Which was that after my shot (which also didn't go in) I lost my balance and did a back somersault, cue stick in hand, over the couch.

In relating this episode I just stopped to look up synonyms for "laughter," and there simply aren't words to describe the level of intensity our merriment had reached. The hooting and hollering as I lay there sprawled on the floor still holding that damn cue stick were simply epic.

To no one's surprise Tom polished off the game and perhaps out of pity offered to play another (with him breaking this time). I inadvertently unveiled my version of Muhammad Ali's Rope-a-Dope ploy by failing to sink hardly any balls, then by accident leaving the cue ball in a position at the end where he had no shot on the eight ball.

He missed and said, "Well, you won."

My celebratory comment was a confused, "Huh?"

At this point we opted to call the evening a friendly tie and go to bed.

All these antics earned me the nickname Ecuador Slim for the remainder of our visit. It's a moniker I'll treasure along with the lifelong memory of two grown men laughing at a silly game like little kids.

1 comment:

Arnold Reynolds said...

Sounds like you need to stay away from pool and the frisbee!