Two balls on a pool table talking to each other from the Bun Karyudo humor blog.

Missing My Cue

I had a good time. It was awful, but I had a good time. The it in question was my performance at pool. I knew roughly how the game was supposed to be played. I had to use the stick thing to push a white ball toward one of the many other balls scattered around the table. When hit, this second ball would then obligingly fall into one of six holes, leading my opponent to cheer and clap wildly and insist I go again.

 

Unfortunately, this is not how things actually turned out. The problem was, we rented a table that had a set of badly defective balls, not to mention pockets that were far too small. That’s why, no matter how energetically I used the wooden pole to whack the white ball in the direction of the stripy or spotty ones, I could never get any of them to disappear down the holes.

 

The sad result of being forced to use such substandard equipment was that at no stage did my playing partner have an opportunity to applaud my efforts, although I did at least manage to elicit a couple of sniggers from the people at the next table. How wonderful to know that I was able to bring a little joy into their lives.

 

Yet, despite being deceived into renting abominably substandard equipment, I can truthfully say that I still had an enjoyable time. This was because the person I was playing against was a) an old friend back in town for a brief visit, and b) of a level of sporting excellence very similar to my own.

 

Things were slightly awkward at the beginning of our game, of course. We’d never played pool against each other before—indeed, I hadn’t played pool against anyone for a couple of decades—so my friend was uneasy for the first ten or fifteen minutes. He didn’t relax until it gradually became clear to him that the standard of play I was exhibiting was an accurate reflection of my true ability and not the first stage of some elaborate Paul Newman-style hustle.

 

We did our best with the skinny wooden bats we were given and waved them enthusiastically all over the place, but the balls remained stubbornly on the table throughout, although in an impressive number of different configurations. We had so little success in clearing the table, I eventually came to believe neither of us would ever be able to get anything down a pocket, even if we held a ball directly over one of them and tried hitting it through with a mallet. Eventually, we completely ran out of time to clear the balls, having only booked the table for two hours.

 

It was true our game had not been as successful as I’d hoped. In fact, by the end, it seemed to have provoked an alarming degree of amusement from nearby players. Nevertheless, daunting as it was to walk right past all those stifled guffaws, I somehow found the courage I needed. It came to me the moment I realized there were bars on the restroom windows. Since the beer had been pretty good, and also because I felt sorry for the staff, I decided not to make a scene and complain about the faulty balls and pool clubs they’d given us. Instead, I simply paid my money, threw my change toward my jacket pocket, and sprinted for the door.

 

There was some talk of continuing the sporting theme of the evening by next going bowling. But then my friend said he was pretty sure players were not allowed to throw their bowling balls with two hands. This seemed to complicate the rules unnecessarily, so we gave up and decided to go to an Irish pub instead.

 

 

© Bun Karyudo and the BunKaryudo Blog (2017)

(All Rights Reserved)

148 replies
  1. TanGental
    TanGental says:

    I think you have the necessary skill set to be an umpire. You clearly have no clue, you blame everyone and thing else yet remain calm despite ridicule. Perfect.

    Reply
  2. carine
    carine says:

    totally get the “loved it, but it was awful” line. Just back from taking my 1st water aerobics class since Nov.. My feeling was, “I couldn’t hurt worse”. thankfully, most of us are in this class b/c we all suffer from chronically painful conditions-so I was told “I wish I could move that well in your kind of pain.” LOL

    Reply
    • BunKaryudo
      BunKaryudo says:

      I’m delighted to hear that you now have the weather to be able to resume your water aerobics classes, Carine. I remember how much you were loving it late last year and how sorry you were to have to give it up for a while.

      Reply
  3. James
    James says:

    And here was I thinking that the goal was to avoid losing your balls down the pockety bits. You mean to tell me that all those ‘seven-ball’ victories I experienced in my youth were, in fact, humiliating defeats? It’s a shame that you and your friend didn’t consider darts. I doubt the onlookers would have been quite so amused by that…

    Reply
    • BunKaryudo
      BunKaryudo says:

      Funnily enough, when I tried darts some years ago, I did show rather a lot of promise. I managed to throw my darts with surprising accuracy and even managed to hit the board once or twice. The people I was with told me that although I hadn’t done quite enough to win the game, for someone of my general sporting competence, not actually maiming any spectators was a highly commendable start.

      Reply
  4. Robert Parker Teel
    Robert Parker Teel says:

    Obi Wan Karyudo – I’m glad you weren’t snookered into taking this game too seriously. We’ve noticed that most pool halls have a couple of useful gadgets called “bridges” or “rests” laying around, and when we discarded our cue sticks and just used the bridge, we cleared off the table in no time. But I don’t have to tell you this, your article was replete with technical terms and expertise.

    Reply
    • BunKaryudo
      BunKaryudo says:

      My technical mastery of pool is pretty high, I must admit. It’s even more impressive when you realize my friend and I didn’t have the benefit of a judger when we played, so just had to intuit the rules and most of the terminology for ourselves.

      Reply
  5. Ann Coleman
    Ann Coleman says:

    I love that the bars keeping you from escaping from the bathroom window gave you the courage to march right past the other players! Believe me, we take our courage where we can get it.
    If it’s any consolation, a friend and I had a similar experience once playing pool in a public bar. The game went on forever, but neither one of us ever managed to clear the table. So after a couple of hours, we just put our pool cues back and left. But we still had a wonderful time! (As for bowling: who says you can’t use both hands?)

    Reply
  6. wordsfromanneli
    wordsfromanneli says:

    Your account reminded me of myself when I tried curling. I gave up after one or two tries because the rocks were too heavy for me and the rink managers didn’t appreciate my “stars on ice” maneuvers. But don’t worry. Life goes on for the likes of us, and I’m sure we’ll find a sport that suits us better.

    Reply
  7. yvettecarol
    yvettecarol says:

    Hey, Bun, you get the prize of the day for eliciting an actual ‘laugh out loud’ from me! What a hilarious account of your “game.” I think I may have gone to that exact same pool hall and used the same substandard equipment because I’ve barely ever sunk a ball in a pocket, either. My brother, however, is the Paul Newman who can shoot balls off the sides in fancy moves that would make you sweat. Needless to say, I leave the pool hall to him! 🙂

    Reply
  8. dave ply
    dave ply says:

    “It was a table that had a set of badly defective balls, not to mention pockety bits that were far too small!”

    Clearly you have a future in politics, you have the blaming failure on something else part down to an art. 😉

    Reply
    • BunKaryudo
      BunKaryudo says:

      Well spotted, Dave! I have tried to steer clear of political controversy in my post, but the truth is, I would have played much better had ex-President Obama not ordered my pool table bugged by the CIA. It really put me off my game. It was terrible timing too since I was being watched by 1.5 million people, the biggest crowd of supporters in sporting history. Sadly, pool has long been a failing pastime controlled by sporting elites (like referees). That’s why from tomorrow, I’ll be replacing all the rules. I haven’t decided with what yet, but it’ll be something terrific.

      Reply
  9. Widdershins
    Widdershins says:

    I believe the correct method of sinking those balls is to stand on the table and swing the cue as one would a golf club. The tabletop fabric is, after all, green for a reason. 😀

    Reply
  10. YellowCable
    YellowCable says:

    Ha, you seem to have similar skill in playing pool as I am. I had a chance to play few games just about year ago. I was glad that I played with some one who helped cleaning up the table for me. Only once in a while, I got a shot that get the a ball down the whole (it was purely a fluke). My opponent kept saying, I must be hustling him (he was joking of course).

    Reply
  11. Charlotte Graham
    Charlotte Graham says:

    My grandparents had a pool table in their game room when I was a child. My grandfather would hoist me onto the ledge (which, apparently, is terrible for the table) and teach me how to play. Only problem is, he only taught me how to cheat by moving the white ball around at my own discretion. Apparently such behavior is frowned upon. Who knew!

    Reply
  12. Hira
    Hira says:

    Glad to know am not alone, at least at pool. I suck at pool, table-tennis, badminton ..driving, cooking .. anything that needs hand-eye-ear co-ordination. Am great at sleeping though .
    This is really hilarious account of very normal( at least with me) incident .. I loved it 🙂

    Reply
  13. joliesattic
    joliesattic says:

    LOL I can’t say I fall into that category, but close. I owned my own pro table at one time, so had many an opportunity to improve my game if only so slightly. The same with bowling. In my case, my first time out I did phenomenally, accidentally and everyone wanted me on their team only to be disappointed that I was unable to replicate my prowess. LOL

    Reply
    • BunKaryudo
      BunKaryudo says:

      That’s true, Suzanne. We had the laughs rolling in. It was as though Mr. Bean and his slightly less coordinated and graceful brother had decided to take up the sport.

      Reply
  14. Gabe Burkhardt
    Gabe Burkhardt says:

    Isn’t it awesome that we can pick right back up at the same level we left off, even after decades away. Playing pool is just like riding a bike, without nearly as many scars and mangled parts.

    Reply
  15. Ankur Mithal
    Ankur Mithal says:

    Choosing the right partner has always been the key in many worldly endeavours. Having chosen one with “a level of sporting excellence very similar to my own”, how wrong could you go?.Well done! You are a natural. Even the most detailed coaching manual will not cover these fine points.

    Reply
    • BunKaryudo
      BunKaryudo says:

      You’re quite right that it isn’t always easy to find someone of the same level of ability when it comes to a game of skill and precision like pool. It was only when my friend stumbled over his footing, spilled his beer and walked into the door that I was certain I had my match.

      Reply
  16. Elliesofia
    Elliesofia says:

    Very funny account of a game I confess to knowing nothing about but don’t worry, Bun – you’re clearly not alone on this one. Pool, snooker, table tennis, golf, hockey – they’ll all the same to me in that they all require a stick or a bat and a ball (one at least as far as I know) and that’s about as far as my knowledge goes. Hope you had more success at the pub.

    Reply
    • BunKaryudo
      BunKaryudo says:

      I just quickly double-checked on Wikipedia, Ellie. It turns out that strictly speaking, they are all distinct sports. Still, the differences seem trifling and hardly worth bothering about.

      Reply
  17. Samantha
    Samantha says:

    I think you DID have a successful evening, as you caught up with an old friend and it sounds like you two had a lot of fun! I tried hitting a ball once, playing pool. Well, just literally gave it one shot. As I am known to be overly blunt (aka I don’t know my own strength) I gave it just a little push… It barely even rolled. It’s definitely harder than it looks.

    And I also suck at bowling… But I can shoot things! Clay pigeon shooting – I ROCK at that! Maybe you ought to try that, too! Who knows 😉

    Reply
  18. sportsattitudes
    sportsattitudes says:

    I have not played pool very often but from those few instances I’ve formulated the opinion I’d be pretty good at it if I played more. Which doesn’t at all apply to snow skiing. Years ago I got strapped into my skis and promptly lost track of the times I fell over. I don’t think I trusted the skis and they felt much the same about me. The Irish pub seems like a logical conclusion once one becomes weary of rules…and stubborn sporting instruments that clearly have a mind of their own.

    Reply
    • BunKaryudo
      BunKaryudo says:

      I’ve never tried skiing, but I have skated before, which was fun. I discovered I had a natural talent for sliding along the ice on my backside and accidentally bumping into people. I think I’d be make a very talented curling stone.

      Reply
      • sportsattitudes
        sportsattitudes says:

        The image of a human being as a human curling stone won’t soon leave my mind. Right now, walking outside here is a sport. Spring feels very far away…the Irish pub once again seems like a logical conclusion.

        Reply
  19. Maniparna Sengupta Majumder
    Maniparna Sengupta Majumder says:

    Hahaha…this reminded me of my performance at a Golf Club 😀 We were there to attend a lunch and, somehow, the weird idea of trying my hands with the golf stick occurred to me!!! Surely, all the people there had a great time at my expense 🙁

    Reply
    • BunKaryudo
      BunKaryudo says:

      I have a feeling that if I ever played real golf, my shout of “Four!” to the bystanders would be followed by “Three… Two… One…” and then my ball would hit somebody on the head.

      Reply
  20. Binky
    Binky says:

    Pool is simply a mater of physics, geometry, and trigonometry. And lasers to set up your shots. You apparently didn’t have laser sighted pool cues, so your equipment was indeed inferior.

    Reply
    • BunKaryudo
      BunKaryudo says:

      That’s just what I said to my friend when we were playing. “This pool cue isn’t laser sighted,” I said. “How on earth can I be expected to hit one of those tiny little ball things with a substandard piece of equipment like this?”

      That was when my friend told me the cues didn’t even have GPS positioning software built in! Can you imagine?

      Reply
  21. Annika Perry
    Annika Perry says:

    Just the way to spend two glorious hours – and think of the free entertainment you provided! Unfortunately this substandard equipment problem does not seem to be restricted to your bar, rather across the country (where I’ve played/tried to play pool!). Oh, don’t even try bowling, they’re all rigged to make sure the ball runs down the ditch along the side!

    Reply
  22. Sue Slaght
    Sue Slaght says:

    Bun you are as brilliant as pool as I! While Dave can calculate angles as if he had a protractor implanted in his head I am better at bouncing the balls on the floor with great squeals of dismay following. I think we could make a wonderful team. Meet you at the bowling alley then. I’ll be the one that everyone is running from was my ball likes to go visiting other lanes.
    Laughed out loud through this one Bun.

    Reply
  23. Anne Mehrling
    Anne Mehrling says:

    As usual, I saved your post for blog dessert. There is nothing else that ever appears on my screen that is funnier than your original posts followed by other true comedians. If there had been anyone else in the house, they would have come to see what all the snickering and snorting was about. Thank you for lifting my already fine day to new heights.

    Reply
    • BunKaryudo
      BunKaryudo says:

      You’re very welcome, Anne. There’s nothing I like better than hearing that someone laughed hard at something I wrote (unless it was my written request for vacation time).

      Reply
  24. Peter Klopp
    Peter Klopp says:

    Considering your skill level at pool that you so proudly shared with us, I will give you my wholehearted approval of visiting an Irish pub, where in all likelihood you turned your attention to the more pleasant things in life. Happy weekend, Bun!

    Reply
    • BunKaryudo
      BunKaryudo says:

      What’s most annoying about the equipment companies make nowadays is that it seems to be only selectively defective. Most of the time it works fine, but somehow it seems to know when I’m about to use it.

      Reply
  25. scifihammy
    scifihammy says:

    If you’re evenly matched (even at such a poor level!) then that’s all that matters to have a good time with an old friend. 🙂 I used to play pool in my youth, with 3 guys. The only reason I ever potted anything was because my partner showed me exactly where to strike the white ball and where to aim the cue!

    Reply
  26. Midwestern Plant Girl
    Midwestern Plant Girl says:

    Too funny & I feel your pain!
    My hubby is an awesome pool hustler and I am the opposite. My strategy is to leave all my balls in the way of the holes Ha!
    I did, once in my life, drop the 9 on a break. Even had a witness & wrote a post about it. I’ve since retired my stick. I think it’s out in the garden, being used for snap peas to grow on

    Reply
    • BunKaryudo
      BunKaryudo says:

      Although I’ve never dropped the 9-ball on a break, I have dropped the cue on a break several times. Unfortunately, I don’t have the video evidence to prove it.

      Reply
  27. Hariod Brawn
    Hariod Brawn says:

    I recall the first time I attempted to play snooker on a full size table, thinking how elementary and technically undemanding a game it appeared to be. After some 15 years of playing once a week, the highest break I ever achieved was 30 something, which was 8 or 9 consecutive shots. It’s an incredibly cerebral game, and yet all the calculation has to take place at the unconscious level of cognition. It’s fascinating, watching the brain slowly learn the angles so that at it computes unconsciously, and all there is at the conscious level is an intuited sense of rightness or wrongness.

    Reply
    • BunKaryudo
      BunKaryudo says:

      I’ve only tried snooker once or twice in my life. Although I enjoyed it, I found it a much slower game to play than pool. Part of the problem was waiting for the bus to take me from one end of the table to the other.

      Reply
  28. mydangblog
    mydangblog says:

    Like I always say, “If you can’t play well, play to the crowd.” Sounds like you did a great job! Brings back memories of my misbegotten university days playing snooker in between classes.

    Reply
  29. dgkaye
    dgkaye says:

    I think the pub was the best idea, lol. Or, maybe you could try watching golf on TV – less stress and humiliation and eventually, the ball goes in a hole. 🙂

    Reply
  30. Jay
    Jay says:

    In my experience, the better you are doing at pool, the less fun you are having. And what’s the point of that? May as well be middling and enjoy it.

    Reply

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