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visitors since May 12, 2002
March 3, 2003
Several sickening thuds

Well, despite the pleasure of sharing a house with a stuffed emu in a box, it's been a terrible week.

I've had the most shameful experience of my adult life. It's taking time to recover, but I already know I won't ever really recover. The sad truth is that Amarevois, may the gods bless her graceful heart, beat me at pool. As a result, I've lost a fair chunk of the will to live.

It's worth stating at the outset that I come from a long tradition of pool excellence. For a long time, there were only two things I was good at: hitch-hiking and pool. I went to a school which had a pool table. I lived in a housing co-operative which bought, largely at my instigation, a pool table. For a time I slept on a pool table. Eventually, I slept under a pool table. Pool and I go back a long way. As a result, pool is one area where I show very strong tendencies to not lose.

So when I suggested a game to Amarevois, it was all I could do to not wager, say, several high denomination coins on the outcome.

Initially I cast a wary eye on her playing style, and duly noted that it was built around the twin towers of power and optimism. She'd cast the briefest of glances at the table, immediately line up a shot, and blast away. At first this approach failed, to the utter delight of her opponent. By the time I won the game, she'd potted a mere one ball. I needed all the self-control I had not to snicker and mock. I had, as they say, "whumped the 'Vois."

But as I racked up the balls again I was visited by the dread spectre of over-confidence. "I've whumped her once," I thought. "I'm a-gonna keep on whumping. And not only that: I'm going to whump her in style."

There was a time when I was proud of that style. It was a time that stretched back a quarter of a century, and ended with savage abruptness today. I am, or was, the kind of pool player who coaxes the balls around the table. I gently rustle them across the velvety surface. I inveigle, I wheedle, I vex. Pool, for me, is all about showcasing my knowledge of exotic verbs.

And in this, as in so many other things, Amarevois does it differently. She approaches pool from a background in archery. Pool, for her, is archery in reverse. Instead of drawing an arrow back with power, and letting fly with a relaxed motion, she draws the cue back with an easy motion, and lets fly with concentrated force. It's a style built on power and precision. If her aim is good there's a sickening thud as the ball rams into the pocket.

The second game started with several sickening thuds, and then there were several sickening thuds more. It all seemed curiously unreal. Even when the black made a sickening thud it still seemed like I had nothing to worry about. Hubris had set in, and I hadn't even noticed the danger.

So we kept playing, and I kept losing. As soon as the 'Vois got her aim in, the whumping changed direction. By the end of the evening, I'd been thoroughly vanquished. I'd love to say that I've emerged from this experience a stronger and a wiser person, but I can't. All my vexing and wheedling had counted for naught, and it seems that now I must learn the thud.

Either that or I find some other game to showcase my exotic verbs.

     Posted by Sean Hegarty at 09:29 PM in the Amarevois category | Comments (0)
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