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Looking Out: Never bet against someone who can tilt things to their advantage – The Daily Telegram

Mar 23rd, 2020

Not there! says my pal Turk Mudge, as I line up a shot on a pool table.

I stand up straight, holding the cue vertically.

Hit it right here, he says, pointing to a spot on the 7-ball.

I bend over again and draw a bead, pull back the cue and let loose. The 7-ball slices off at an angle and drops neatly in the side pocket.

Nice shot, says Turk kindly, knowing that I am challenged when aiming at anything.

Thanks, I say, as I take another shot, this time at the 3-ball, which hammers around the table uselessly while the cue ball drops in a corner pocket as a scratch.

Dummy, says Turk, who then proceeds to clear the table of the even-numbered balls, the last being the 8-ball, which gives him his 4th straight win.

Lets go bowling, I say. Maybe Ill have more luck."

Were 17 years old, which means we fancy ourselves the smartest two guys who ever lived. It also means that were too old to obey our parents rules about hanging out in the local pool hall.

Youll need more than luck! hollers one of the farmers playing poker in the corner. He spits a wad of tobacco 10 feet, where it pings into the old brass spittoon as punctuation for his statement.

Whippersnappers, says another of the farmers, slapping his cards down on the table to claim the pot.

Be better off bailin hay than playin pool or bowlin, says a third farmer. Young punks.

Lighten up on them city kids, says the fourth farmer. They caint help it if they dont know nothin.

Tell you what, I say to the table. Turk here will whip any one of you at a game of 8-ball. Ill lay 50 cents on that!

Youre on! says one of the farmers. Fred herell play for us.

The balls are racked and the game is on. It is no contest. Fred the Farmer beats Turk the City Kid, hands down.

Note, by the way, that we city kids live in a town of 2,000 people where the tallest structure in town is a church steeple just two blocks from the only traffic light that is there only for practice for kids taking drivers education.

Fred the Farmers win is not due to his superb skills. It is due to the fact that there are three other farmers standing at the northeast corner of the pool table every time Fred takes a shot, while there is only one of me standing there when Turk takes a shot.

Every guy in and around town knows that the floor at that corner is a little bouncy, probably due to a broken floor joist. Put the weight of two or three men there, and its nearly impossible to miss a shot into that corner pocket.

That fact has brought many victories to the locals when playing against the occasional visitor. Since our little town of Morenci is Michigans southernmost town, butting up to the Ohio border, it means most pool-playing visitors are foreigners. Buckeyes. Late-teen guys from Fayette or Lyons coming to our town to poach our girlfriends, whenever we are across the border trying to poach their girlfriends.

But this time, the loss is ours. City boy Turk versus Fred the Farmer and his three OshKosh clad buddies.

Thats OK. I like farmers. And furthermore, Im now out of money, losing my last 50 cents.

That means I dont have to be humiliated in a bowling match with Turk.

Jim Whitehouse lives in Albion.

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Looking Out: Never bet against someone who can tilt things to their advantage - The Daily Telegram

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