Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Picking & Choosing

The tournament waters here on the west coast of Florida have always been muddy. Now, they’re getting muddier.

With summer comes the increasing need of fat people to be served with air conditioning. I don’t know the dynamics, but fat people can’t tolerate the heat. This means that in a couple of the smoky dens of inequity that host bar tournaments opening doors to let out the smoke has ceased to be an option. Of course, if these establishments had invested in a couple smoke-eaters there would be no need to open the doors, but because of the cost of those appliances that is not an option. Consequently, I’ve stopped attending my usual Friday night tour stop. I quit smoking in 1990 and though I still have a better than average chance of succumbing to lung cancer, I'm trying not to tease the tiger. The fact that I will no longer have to play one very annoying woman who cheats like a grammar school bully only slightly mollifies the great sense of loss I am feeling.

Our regular Tuesday night stop at the bowling alley has been suffering lately from a dwindling number of participants. On top of that, a good friend of mine who I had introduced to the tournament recently got into a scuffle with one of the regular obnoxious drunks who hang out there and has been banned from returning though the drunk still drops in from time to time. I’ve stopped going there, at least temporarily.

But, hark, a new tournament with a guaranteed $250 added has sprung up down the line. First prize has been $200, second $100, third $60 and 4th $60 for the first two weeks it has been played. Unfortunately, there are rules problems. The first week with $200 at stake, incidences of “dirty pool” were rampant. So, second week, the owner decided to use BCA eight ball rules. Problem was he didn’t know them and when they were explained to him he didn’t like them. How can somebody who doesn’t know what constitutes a legal hit run a pool tournament? I may return there in a few weeks after they work things out, but, since it is officially the highest paying tournament in the area, including the three closest weekly nine-ball tournaments for A-players, there’s no telling what kind of players it’s going to attract.

Speaking of the “A” tournaments, there are guys who play every week who don’t have a prayer of getting into the money, yet they play because they think there’s some kind of honor in rubbing elbows with the better players. For me, there’s no honor in getting your ass kicked, so I’ve avoided playing in them. But, it’s getting to the point where they are starting to look good to me. If I could only elevate my game a couple notches… Crap!

Anyway, that’s how things are looking. I’ll let you know if things change.


Saturday, June 11, 2005

Howl. Lay. Loo. Yuh.

Yesterday, Friday, started off in the doctor’s office – a fun way to start any day. This time my numbers were good – PSA, H A1c, cholesterol, liver enzymes. “A superb example of the male species,” the doctor was thinking… or, something to that effect. I told him that one of my health advisors at Blue Cross Blue Shield had suggested I get a pneumonia shot and he agreed it was a good idea. “Well, give me one,” I said. “You’ll have to make an appointment,” he replied. Once upon a time, way back when, a doctor might have said, “Hold on, I’ll have the nurse give you the injection.” But now they’re too busy. You have to come back another day and, probably, pay for another visit. Anyway, that’s how the day started.

With the mail came our new auto insurance policy from Hartford/AARP - up another $100 from last year. Guess us safe drivers have to pay for all the stupid mistakes made by the demented silver horde who can hardly operate a car door let alone the other intricacies of automobile operation. This increase comes on top of a three fold increase in our mobile home insurance – THREE FOLD!!! Can you imagine? We have to pay the poor insurance companies for all of last year’s hurricane payouts. I didn’t collect anything. And, all of a sudden, the mobile home we paid $19,000 for in 2000 has a replacement value of $44,000. I feel so blessed.

Around 7 PM I got the idea of asking our neighbors to tape a show that was airing on TNT at 8. They had just switched from cable to satellite and told me they were not sure their VCR was hooked up. I went over and farted around for almost an hour trying to figure out how to record and wound up losing the satellite altogether which made my neighbor a little anxious. Thankfully, the satellite manual gave clear directions for turning the system on and, though I never figured out how to record, I did manage to leave with everything working as it had been. When I got home, it was five minutes to eight.

I usually leave for the Friday night bar tourney at 7:30 and the tournament usually starts at 8. I was late. I scrambled through the business pages of the phone book and finally found the bar’s listing. I called and was eventually connected to the tournament director and had her sign me up.

I arrived just in time for my first match and, as luck would have it, I was to play one of the better players. He’s a regular at one of the local pool halls who drops by figuring someone who can play on the big tables won’t have any trouble stealing the $100 first prize. He broke, made nothing, and I ran out. Next, I played a fellow who apparently had been drinking for several hours. Realizing that the only way I could lose was to accidentally sink the 8, I took my time and, after a sloppy 5 or 6 innings, emerged victorious. Next, I barely beat a gal who plays pretty decent. By and by, I beat a decent player for the winner’s side and eventually played him again for the tournament. I won. It was my first win since my operation in May of 2004. As Fast Eddie says at the end of The Color of Money, “I’m Back!”