Monday, August 17, 2009

Elbows, Assholes and False Accusations

Let me start off by explaining that one of my pool league teammates has been pestering me for a couple years to go out golfing with him. I continue to decline his invitation on the grounds, and I’m dead serious about this, that I’m afraid I might hurt myself. Hey, at my age it doesn’t take much to throw you out of whack. It’s for pretty much the same reason that I don’t go around looking for fights. That was before Lizard came along.

Lizard plays for another team in our Monday night bar league. For most of the year, he and I have been battling for top individual honors and, though I’m ahead by about 20 points, my team has a bye-week coming up which should give him a chance to narrow the gap.

Anyway, I ran into a couple friends of mine who are on a different team on Monday nights and they told me that last time out they had played Lizard’s team. Now, I must interject here that before the current session I had never seen nor heard of this reptile. Yet, my friends tell me that Lizard swears that he has known me for years. He even relayed to them this story about how, once upon a time, we had had a heated argument over a pool game and that I had wound up sucker punching him. He subsequently, according to his tale, kicked the shit out of me. Later, I had supposedly called him and apologized and to seal the deal we had an Obamaesque confab where I bought him a few beers. Some story! Unfortunately, it’s pure, unadulterated bullshit.

There are enough true stories out there painting me in a negative light that I’ve pretty much given up on the notion of achieving sainthood. Still, the idea of someone fabricating a drama about me that includes me hitting someone with a sucker punch and then getting the shit kicked out of me, just rubbed me the wrong way.

I started telling friends about it and, as luck would have it, one of them, Big Gene we call him, remembered the incident, only it wasn’t me who sucker punched Lizard, he said, it was a guy named Abe. Now, honestly, this threw me because I couldn’t fathom someone confusing me with someone else just because our names, Ace and Abe, were somewhat alike. But, based on the info I was able to gather, that seemed to be the case.

Of course, when we had our home match with his team last week, Lizard denied there was a mix-up. It was me, he swore, who had suckered him at some little hole-in-the-wall bar that I’d never heard of.

“You’re wrong, I’m tellin’ ya,” I said to him. “I never seen your f___’in ass before we played you last time.”

“You damn sure did,” he sneered. “And I gave you what’s for.”

Exasperated, I said, “You dumb ass, no wonder you’re always getting suckered. You’re one dumb-assed motha f___ka.”

Now, Lizard didn’t especially like that characterization of his reptilian self, so, as I turned away, he jumped off his stool and came up behind me.

As I intimated earlier, I’m really careful with my body. I wouldn’t want to do something that would make playing pool difficult for me or even painful. Hitting someone with my fists would fall into the general category of activities to be avoided. My hands – I’m afraid I might break my fingers.

So, as I finished putting my cue in its case, I felt his hand on my shoulder. “Hey, mother…” he began, but got no further. I pivoted and caught the side of his jaw with my elbow and upper arm slamming him back against the wall. Then, I gave him a solid shot in the nuts. He was still doubled over when I walked past him on the way to the door. “Hey,” I taunted, “now, you’ve got a real story to tell people.”

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Pool & Politics

So, I’m sitting at the bar, last night, waiting for the tournament to start when this woman and her boyfriend, both in their forties if I had to guess, take position a couple stools to my right (to my left if I had been facing the bar, but I was swiveled around facing the pool tables). Without so much as an introduction, she asks me how old I am. I say “62” and she immediately hands me a well-worn sheet of 8 1/2 x 11 paper. I explained that I didn’t have my reading glasses on, so she told me to fold the paper up and put it in my pocket which I did.

Well, within a few minutes I had occasion to extract from my cue case a pair of reading glasses I keep there for pool related business and while I had them out I decided to peruse the aforementioned sheet of paper. A quick scan revealed it to be a litany of anti-Obama-health-care rhetoric of the same kind I’ve been getting in email from acquaintances still groaning about the election.

Frankly, I didn’t vote for Barack Obama for my own reasons, but he won, he’s the president, now, and I wish him well. I’m not going to dedicate my life to badmouthing him like so many others are prone to do. Hell, I’ve got friends in New Jersey who still, 9 years after he left office, forward anti Bill Clinton garbage to me. Some people.

Anyway, I hand the paper back to the woman and mumble an insincere word of thanks hoping that would be the end of it. It wasn’t.

“Did you read it all?” she asked skeptically.

“I read enough of it,” I replied.

“What do you think?” she continued.

“I think whoever wrote that doesn’t like Obama very much.”

Then she jumped up on her high horse telling me that all of the 99 or so listed items had been taken directly from Obama’s health plan, blah blah blah. I told her “It’s a bunch of crap.”

It soon became apparent that her interest in the health care issue had nothing to do with her love for her fellow man because she called me a “mother f___er” and verbalized that she couldn’t wait till I expire. I tried to ignore her, but she directed one too many “f” bombs in my direction. “Listen, mother f___er,” I say to her, “you’re the one who approached me, asking me how old I was and giving me this sheet of paper. It’s a bunch of crap and I’m not f___ing interested.”

By now, her boyfriend, realizing this was not going to turn into a sixties-style love fest, decided they might find a more sympathetic audience at the opposite end of the bar and coaxed her into moving. Thank God.

I had been within a hair of leaving the Hay Loft and skipping the tournament just to get away from that idiot, but I decided not to since I actually look forward to the Friday night get-together with my friends. As it turned out, we didn’t have enough players for the tournament anyway and the evening ended early. Guess we can blame that on Obama.

P.S. To keep track of the misinformation about Obama's health care program, check out the Truth-O-Meter at