Cue ball: (n) the ball a player strikes with the cue, as distinguished from the other balls on the table.
I insisted it was not fair.
Every time I played pool with my friends—Eight Ball—I did a great job clearing the balls on the table.
That is, until I got down to the cue ball and the eight ball.
Then it was time to put the eight ball away, naming the pocket where I planned to place it, thus closing the game with a slam-dunk.
Here was my problem.
Every time I got to that stage, I either hit the eight ball and it would go into a pocket I did not name, or more often, the cue ball followed the eight ball into the pocket, thus making me a loser.
After all, I completed 90% of the task of winning the game. How could I lose the 90% over a 10% mistake?
It was unrighteous.
It was a plot.
It was un-American.
My friends didn’t care. “The rules say…”
That’s how they began every discussion, declaring me a loser.
I got to the point that I hated the cue ball. I feared it. Once I began fearing it, I was afraid to strike it with my stick.
Of course, if you can’t strike the cue ball with your stick, you won’t have a very good break at the beginning of the game. So I stopped wanting to have the first break—which certainly robbed me of an advantage. So I sat around, hoping someone would miss a shot since I had passed on breaking the balls.
All at once, a game I had been very efficient at playing I now despised.
All because of the cue ball.
That damned cue ball that followed the eight ball into the pocket.
Or the eight ball which refused to go to where I declared its home to be.
At no time did it occur to me that I could practice and become better. Why would you want to practice something that was unfair?
So I pouted.
After a while, when I went with my friends to play pool, I just sat and watched.
Soon I wouldn’t go along if they were going to play pool.
They, on the other hand, could never guarantee that pool wouldn’t crop up in the evening’s activities. So I started staying home.
I soon became a recluse. Nobody wanted to be around me.
Since I wasn’t going to be around people, I stopped bathing, didn’t shave and only occasionally brushed my teeth. My breath was repugnant, even to my own mouth.
Pretty soon people were praying for me instead of visiting me.
I went into a mental hospital and was diagnosed with a personality disorder.
I had to stay in my room, though, because the recreational area had a pool table and it sent me into a fit of rage.
I tried to overdose on aspirin but failed miserably.
You see? This is what can happen when you are viciously attacked by a cue ball.
By the way, everything I shared after the word “un-American” was completely made up—seeking your sympathy.