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Carlo's Table

If women had been consulted

they would have picked

mauve, chartreuse, and puce  ...

 I was watching a pool game with a semi-part-time-casual-novice pool player. 

You know, the kind who remembers his game at a level that it never achieved. 

The kind who explains shots he made decades ago that, unless the laws of physics have been recently rewritten, are flat-out impossible.  The kind who claims to have run 4 racks but has not yet picked up that the angle a ball goes into a rail does not automatically equal the exit angle, like light off a mirror.

But I like him.  He buys me beer and laughs at my jokes.  That makes him more valuable than most of my pool-savvy friends.

 So the table we are watching is a total mess.  The kind where it is better just to unbolt the table, box it up and send it back to the factory rather than try to figure out how to win the game. 

Running the rack is thrice impossible even given three ball-in-hand starters and a couple of well placed shirt rubs to move some balls.  A sewer.  A "Hey, I'm gonna go take a nap.  Call me at home when something happens" type of rack.

A brilliant idea strikes me.  (Pool is always easier when rail-sitting.)  I boldly state to my buddy, "If he banks the 5 into the cluster, it could slide off and split those 2, and the 4 just might fall.  The clusters are mostly open and if it falls, he could be out!  If it stands up, then two or three pockets are plugged and he holds the upper hand in the game!  Problem solved."

 "Which one is the 5?" says my friend-only-cause-he-buys-beer.

 "Huh?"  I do not comprehend the question.

 "Which one is the 5?"  I'm dumbfounded.

I look around to see if any pool players that know me have heard this remark.  If so, I'd have to murderlate my friend, leave town, change to darts and wear a dress.

Whew, nobody heard.  I calm down and cancel plans to leave town.  Besides, a friend who buys beer is more valuable than most of my friends.  (Repeated in case any of my friends read this article.)  And I'd look terrible in a dress.

"The orange one is the 5.  It is always orange.  The damn things are colored coded because 30% of pool players can't even read numbers.  Well, it's always orange except in snooker, or on kids toy tables, or quiet ... I'm thinking."

A decade ealier I played in a Huebler Cup tournament.  They had brought in 40 bar boxes for 9-ball-on-a-bar-box tournament.  I am ready to start my 5th match and I join my opponent at the table where he has been warming up for a while. 

He's ready.  I'm ready.  Let's start.  Coin flip.  I break, run a couple of balls and pocket the 3 clean as CaCa. 




What?  Etcetera for a couple of dozen Foul-What exchanges at ever increasing decibels.

"You shot the 5-ball and should have shot the 3-ball."  I inspected more closely.  Sure as poop.  I shot the 5-ball instead of the 3-ball.  Why, you are undoubtedly asking?  Certainly Carlo would not brain-fart and shoot the wrong ball.  Uhh, sadly, it has been known to happen but this time had a different reason.

The @#$%&* 3-ball was orange and the *&%$#@ 5-ball was red! 

I grabbed the 3 and the 5 and headed for the tournament director's table. 

I held the balls so that the director could not see the numbers on the balls.  "Hey, illustrious and omnipotent tournament potentate!"  Not my exact words, but my PC would burst into flames if I tried to type them.

"Guess which is the 3 and which is the 5, O Swami?"

He nonchalantly said "Huh.  I wondered where they went.  I knew they were out there somewhere." then took them from me, dumped them in the trash and assigned us to a different table.  I won that match so I had no basis for protesting or a fistfight.  Darn.

I spout " ..... or if you get screwed up colors because somebody bought el-cheapo pool balls." 

My beer-buddy, whose mind had wandered off, came back with an all-knowing "HUH?" remark.  Gotta love him.

Then I proceeded to ice his cake with "Do you know that the colors take the same sequence after the 8-ball as before the 8-ball?"  Now remember, this guy didn't even know they were color-coded so of course this would be a revelation. 

"Wow, somebody was really thinking!"  Yeah, right.  Half the pool players of the World don't know this so obviously it hasn't made a big impression.

Then I remember the swirl colored balls that the women pros are using.  Gag. 

Then I think of a complete set of zig-zag balls I have acquired.  I got the set, but it was missing the 2-ball.  Now the zig-zag balls were made by Brunswick many decades ago, but the visual clutter made them unpopular with players so now they are just oddities or antiques.

So for a few years I looked for a number 2, zig-zag ball on the internet.  I'll be silly, I found a guy who bought a few zig-zags balls to work towards completing his set and he had a pair of zig-zag 2-balls. 

This world is not right.  First, to have some pool-ball-psycho that even knows what a zig-zag ball is, has all but the 2-ball, and wastes electricity trying to find it.  Second, to have a matched pool-ball-psycho who has an extra zig-zag 2-ball! 

So Carlo's mind wanders to how these colors came to be.  Now there is a wonderful pool historian out there, and quite a bit of chronicling of the sport, but that takes work and research.  So instead of doing any laborious homework, I simply developed ..

Carlo's Theory of Pool Ball Colors

The first thing you do in the morning is what?  Think hard.  I mean it.  Think hard.

The first thing you do in the morning is pee.  You wonder what you consumed to create that battery acid iridescent YELLOW color and wonder how the porcelain resists being dissolved.

Second, you blow your nose until you are BLUE in the face.

Third, you look into your RED eyes and promise to switch to your Mother's motto of "Everything in moderation" from your motto which declares "If it's worth doing at all then it's worth doing to excess" which translates to "AGAIN!"

Fourth, PURPLE things get added to your throne's bowl.  Your revulsion is overwhelmed by your curiosity about the intestinal chemical reactions that resulted in such a color.  I'm thinking of calling it the poople ball.

Fifth, in an attempt to regain some semblance of balance in your body chemistry you swill a pint of ORANGE juice. 

Sixth, Then you use toothpaste, #20 grit, and elbow grease to clean your GREEN teeth. 

Seventh, you hear Bugs Bunny repeating "What a MAROON!" incessantly in your head like a silly jingle from a TV ad. It's really a Burgundy ball but that is too high-falootin for most pool players to remember.

Eigth,  you look like you have BLACK eyes.  I don't know how to say this, but you do.  Especially after doing whatever caused you to do a major yellowing and purpling.

Pee, blue face, red eyes, purple prizes, orange juice, green teeth, what-a-moron, black eyes.  There you have it.  The sequence of colors of pool balls!  Colors by Carlo!

1-pee, 2-blow nose, 3-red eyes, 4-poople, 5-orange juice, 6-green teeth, 7-moron, 8-blackeyes.  Finish the rack by starting over with stripes by adding 8. 

If you ask where the black 16-ball went, I strongly recommend foosball.

At a national sales conference I watched 4 fellow employees from our Japanese office play bar-box rotation.  None could hold the cue much less stop their rock.  Jazz it around the table?  No ray.  But as you might expect, eventually one would get left a duck and be able to pocket a ball.

Now all four were toasted on Sake or Louisiana Panther-piss, for this was in New Orleans.  2 of the 3 light bulbs over their table were out but they did not notice or care. 

Then lightening would strike the 4 Japanese men and one would pot a duck.  Instantly, all four would STORM the table, bend over the table like feeding chickens, and their noses would zoom around only inches above the balls while all four were shouting, yelling and pointing.  I expected knives at any moment.  One hundred syllables per second.  Each.

 Nope.  No fight.  They were just looking for the next ball, and as they did not know the color scheme, and the lights were dim, and they were dim, they used a communal search pattern to find the next official victim.  I 1-balled in my pants.

 After a while, players ignore the printed number and only go by color.  At a recent 8-ball tournament, a top player was calling out his next shot, a nasty shot out of the middle of a mess.  He called the 7.  Then he called the 5.  Neither ball could be made and we just glanced around.  Then he called "That damned green thing" and off he went, running out.

 I bought a T-shirt that had all the balls on it and it was labeled "Pool Ball Identification Chart."  To be useful, it should have been printed upside down so the wearer could read it more easily.  Maybe I'll do that.

 I couldn't help but think, if women chose pool ball colors the darn things might be paisley or earth tones.  Or worse.

 My buddy turned to me and asked if I'm ready for another beer.  All I could say was sure, but first I had to go Purple.  The look on his face was priceless.



Nobody paid me any money to put these links here, I just thought they deserved it.  Tell them Carlo sent you, maybe they'll buy me a beer.

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