Sharking Yourself

A Legend in his Own Mind
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Physician, heal thyself.


‘Sharked’ yourself lately?

 All pool players, and I mean ALL pool players have crabbed about being sharked.  Carlo hasn’t, but then again, I am the exception.  For as the banner above states, I am a Legend in my own Mind.  That comes with a lot of flexibility and little responsibility which is perfect for a pool player!

Nevertheless, none of us like being sharked.  The act of being sharked must, by definition result in a miss (or at least a devastating leave) after being distracted by some sound, sight or situation.

When business or social acquaintances learn of my association with billiard sports they ask with a big smile “Oh, are you a pool shark?”

This is said as if to say that “I know the phrase ‘Pool-Shark’ from B-movies and wish to show my vast knowledge of the game by speaking the only pool phrase I know (albeit incorrect) and thereby compliment you on your game and become your respected friend for life.”

Little do they know that they have insulted me to the core.  The phrase Pool-Shark is akin to thief, con-man, baby-beater, and liar rolled into one.  The Pool-Shark is a player commonly well possessed of the skills of pool whose sole purpose of play is to move money from your pocket to theirs, regardless of how the balls roll. 


If you happen to be a better player than them, then they must resort to various subterfuges such as bet changing, rule changing, distraction and downright thievery to avoid paying you and preferably flipping it around where you pay them!  You win -and- pay them!  Nice work if you can get it.

“Just as I fired at the 9-ball, he lit his cigarette with this flame-thrower of a lighter and Sharked me!” 

Of course it caused a  miss, followed by the loss of game, money, pride, car, house, job, family, respect, 401K, and the sweet passions of the young honey at the corner of the bar.

I was Sharked when …


The waitress dropped the bill.


She bent over to pick it up.


The door opened.


The door closed.


I thought the door was going to open.


That noise distracted me.


The silence distracted me.


That crummy song started/ended/paused.


That great song started/ended/paused.


Any song started/ended/paused.


The dog barked.


I saw a dog.


She saw me.


He moved his cue.


He moved his chair.


He moved his head.


He moved his eyes.


He breathed deeply.


He held his breath.


He was behind me.


He was in front of me.


He was in the building.


Etc, etc, etc. ad nauseum.

 Of course I take the time to tell them that calling me a Pool-Shark is an insult.  Pool Player or Pool Enthusiast or Cueist would better suit my involvement with the game.  I then explain about Pool-Sharks and why Pool-Sharks were low-life bottom-feeders unlike real sharks, which just simply ate anything reasonable in their path.  Or each other. 

 Some have responded with an “Have you ever played pool poorly until the wager got bigger?”  This is said as if it was an incredibly clever, never-before-thought-of strategy. 

 I thought back to the prior week.  I chanced into a game that did not even warrant going to the car to get a decent cue.  The square tipped house cue was good enough for me to play for a brew or two.  Besides, the place has posts, tables, and a jukebox positioned to obstruct shots.  The only advantage I had was a good piece of chalk I had brought and reasonable knowledge of the game that my opponent sorely lacked.

 I watched as two players took 35 innings to get through a game of 8-ball.  At no time was any ball locked up.  As luck would have it one player resigned and the victorious player started mouthing off to everyone in the place that he was invincible.  The bartender knew me and after letting this guy dig his grave of words, said for him to challenge “that fella there” pointing at the Carlo.  Five steps and he was in my face.  “Play for a beer?”  OK.

 Three beers later, my favor, he wants to raise the bet to a 5-spot.  (Beer is $3, so it was not a quantum leap of wagering.)  I donated one of my beers back to him and we began to play.  The break – and my balls are a mess – his are hangers.   He shoots three balls in, helping me immensely, and rocket-fires at a shot.  He misses and breaks out my two lock-tight clusters and puts the cue ball perfectly on my only tough shape ball.

 I step to the table.  Through the door walks a common acquaintance.  Howdy, Carlo!  Howdy, Bubba!  (My opponent’s name changed to Bubba to protect the innocent and the hostile.) 

Boom, I’m out, running 7 balls and the 8.  Bubba tosses me the $5, takes a drain on the beer I donated back to him, and proclaims “I’ve been taken by a Pool-Shark!” and goes into battle posture. 

Dang, I might have a fist fight on my hands!  Sheesh, two beers (remember, I gave one back) and five bucks and I face Bubba knuckles. 

 At the outset of the game Bubba owned me lock-stock-and-barrel, but he kindly cleared my obstacles, broke my clusters, and put me on my last trouble ball.  Then he calls ME a Shark.  What an idiot.

 “Hey Bubba, you fixed my messes!  I couldn’t have done it without you!”  He fired back, “Well, I’ve never run a rack and you just did so you are a Shark.”

 According to the exact question posed earlier, I had played poorly (I took more than one inning) until the wager got larger ($3 to $5) and then I turned it on, running 8 balls, and by definition was a Shark.  Gag, not me, not a Pool-Shark!?

 I thought to myself, the only people or persons I Shark is myself.  I spend more time Sharking myself than all of the other 6 Billion people on this planet. 

I just might be Carlo’s worst Pool-Sharker.  I am a simultaneous Sharker-Sharkee.  This makes me Bi-Sharksual.  Or should I be considered A-Sharksual?  I am the earthworm of the Sharking species.

I started thinking about the times I have Sharked myself.  One technique of Sharking is to doctor up your opponent’s cue stick.  I do that to myself by scuffing my tip and shooting without re-chalking.  Not often, but it has occurred.

I have thousands of ways of Sharking myself.  It is also known as lack-of-concentration, but I think Self-Sharking is a more appropriate word for pool players to use.

Ok, let’s be real.  Few of us play the game consistently year round.  We slow down in the summer when golf, water, work or house takes more of our lives.  Or we slow down in winter when skiing, ice, or work takes more of our time. 

I happen to slow down in the summer time not being fond of falling prey to the Sun-Shark that blasts through the window, off of a car windshield, and right into my delicate eyes.

 So here I am, a little rusty, and back into town rolls one of my old (he’s actually young) nemeses (plural, I have many) opponents.  So we get to playing.  Turns out to be a 10-hour match. 

Hey, this is summer, I’m in short pants, golf shirt, and living in a smoky pool hall.  But, man I still smell good!  My clothes smell just like they came out of the drier!  They must have fixed the exhaust gizmo.

 All sets of race-to-5 9-ball have been split for the night.  We are even.  We are playing our last set before they throw us out on the street. 

It is a close match.  I’m down on a shot and all I can think about is how good my clothes smell after 10 hours immersed in smoke!


 I’m lined up on a match winner, and my vision is distracted to the edge of my forward sleeve.  Peeking out is what looks like a tissue.  (Stroke, stroke, stroke.)  What the hell is that?  (Stroke, stroke, stroke.)  Did I stuff a tissue up there?  (Stroke, stroke, stroke.)  Fire and a miss.

 Well, dummy, when distracted, stand up, reconnoiter, regroup, rethink, and retry.  But NOOOOOOOOO, not you, Carlo.  Obviously this is the first game of your life!

 Oh well, may as well find out what you have up your sleeve.  I’ll be danged, it is a sheet of Bounce!  Yeah, yeah, that silly thing you throw into the drier with your clothes so they come out all fruu-fruu poo-poo good smelly.

 I went to the Bounce web site and they had a list of what they call “Wacky” uses for Bounce although few were truly Wacky.  It included such things as

 Eliminate static cling from pantyhose.
Rub a damp, used sheet of Bounce over pantyhose.

(For some honeys I’ll provide this service for free!  Try the wrong ones and lose some teeth.)

 Prevent musty suitcases.
Place a sheet inside luggage before storing.

(Pretty wacky, huh?  Mad magazine, lookout!)

 Freshen the air in your car.
Place a sheet of Bounce under the front seat.

(After removing old cheeseburgers, it might work.)

 Collect cat hair.
Rubbing with a sheet will magnetically attract loose hairs onto the sheet of Bounce.

(The cat is NOT going to like it.  Expect 18-inch claw marks on both arms.  I wonder if Bounce is good at stopping bleeding?)

 To which I add:

Shark the ever-loving doodoo out of yourself in a hill/hill games and feel like a complete looooooser!
Place a sheet of Bounce up your sleeve and discover in mid-stroke.  Don’t stand up, but pull the trigger while looking at the tip of the Bounce sheet and trying to figure out what in blazes it is and how it got there.  Remove Bounce, curse, and pay opponent.  Bounce head on table.  Now that one is Wacky.

 If you don’t believe me, try their wacky site at:  Pretty lame.

 Note:  No financial compensation was made by Proctor & Gamble, (did they say Gamble?) the owner of Bounce and its trademarks, to Carlo International Enterprises for encouraging pool players/sharks to stuff Bounce into their clothing or body orifices.



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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