Having a “Life”

I had Red Pill brain freeze and had to get away for a bit.  Other blogs were starting to blur together in my head, I lost track of what I’m trying to say, so I figured I’d shut up for a bit.

So I’ve been exploring stuff that has nothing to do with this:  Clint Eastwood westerns, books on World War II.  But for better or for worse, I’ve found that what we explore here in the manosphere can’t be avoided.

One of my mental escapes is shooting pool.  I’m no expert, but I am good.  I can be excessively cerebral, so it can feel almost cleansing to shut out the entire world as I hit the white ball with the stick and make the other balls go in the holes.  It’s a bit like shooting firearms in that it requires precision and grace under pressure (albeit far less pressure than during an ambush I readily concede).  Obviously, being a good shot doesn’t necessarily mean you’re good at anything else that actually matters, but it does replicate some of the skills that show you might have some of what it takes to do well.

And I’ve found that it’s earned me respect among some types with whom I’ve very little in common.

I’ve been shooting at a dive bar very close to where I live.  I’ve been to crappy bars in more countries than most Americans can name, but I think this one takes the cake.  At any given moment the jukebox might be playing anything from Rihanna to Dio.  The room off to the side features live performances, so you might walk into a country bar, hip hop hell, or headbanger’s paradise.  It’s got the old guys who go there just to have a place to drink that’s not home, female bartenders with way too much drama in their lives, fights in the parking lot, but the regulars who shoot pool are just a little bit better than I am, which is exactly the type of person I most like to play.

Among my more frequent opponents is a guy named Luke.  Luke is balding and has a big beer gut.  His girlfriend is a stripper single mother who’s just about to hit the wall.

I suspect because I so easily circumvent his gamesmanship (Game for athletics and other contests), Luke respects me.  He buys me drinks (or at least tries to on the nights I’m drinking).  He tries to enlighten me on the intricacies of his quasi-Kantian New Age philosophy.  I let him ramble for a while until I can’t take it any more, at which point I ask a few questions that confuse him and he changes the subject.

Luke wants to hook me up with Wendy, a girl who shows up there every so often.  I suspect that much of what Luke says is completely full of it, but when he says that Wendy was one of Playboy magazine’s “Women of the SEC” a few years back, I find it plausible, for despite her stringy hair and the large bags under her eyes she’s still pretty physically attractive.

Apparently, Wendy is a math whiz with a degree in finance.  Wendy is also absolutely batshit insane.  In the not-too-distant past, Wendy (who was too messed up to remember any of this) asked some orbiter (who was too messed up to drive) for a ride.  He hit a wall or something at a disturbingly high speed, and she had to crawl out of the wreckage before the car blew up.

After loads of physical therapy Wendy recovered, and I admire how she overcame some profound difficulties in order to do so.  Nevertheless, when she says “I learned my lesson.  On nights I’m doing coke I won’t drink anything stronger than beer” I suspect that she may have more lessons yet to learn.

Luke thinks I would be good for her, which is undoubtedly true.  But would Wendy be good for Martel?  No.  Wendy is the type of girl who shows up at your work needing to borrow $150 NOW, whose ex-boyfriends somehow find out where you live and bang on your door some Tuesday morning at 2:30 threatening to kill both of you “if she doesn’t get her ass out here right this second.”

Luke thinks Wendy needs a guy who doesn’t want to “use her”, but what other kind of guy would ever want a girl like Wendy?  I’m not “using” women at the moment, which means no Wendy for Martel.  I wish her well, but no.

Luke’s partner in crime (literally, as I later found out) is Barry.  Barry is about 5’5″, scrawny as hell, covered in tattoos, drives a smelly old minivan, and looks like he lives in a sewer.  Barry also has a soft harem of five women, at least two of whom are quite attractive.

Barry loves fighting, so much so that the next time he lands before a judge he’ll get twenty years (or so he says, but I believe him).  His specialty is the hammer punch.  Fortunately, Barry’s got my back.  When I was aiming up for a shot of pool once, some guy plowed through me on his way to the door.  I barely noticed, but as I was lining up for my next shot, the guy came back, shaking, begging my forgiveness.

Nobody give Barry’s friends any shit.

Barry said that at first he didn’t trust me, that Luke had to persuade him to accept me.  I had no idea any of this was going on, and at the time Barry’s opinion of me meant absolutely nothing.  However, somehow I earned his respect.  Even though I’m the type of guy who rarely gets in fights, if I get in a fight and Barry’s around, I’m golden.

(Last weekend, one of Barry’s harem got pretty flirty with me.   I have more than one reason not to go there.)

Luke seems to be a middle class kid who went south at some point, Barry is the quintessential redneck.  I can tell that they both have some serious problems, but I can also tell that they both understand loyalty in ways you don’t find much in the corporate world.  Neither exemplifies a traditional Christian morality in dozens of ways, but they understand sticking by their friends more profoundly that lots of folks filling the pews on Sundays.

I don’t plan to be here much longer, so I doubt that much will come from my new connections.  Nevertheless, it feels good to know that I’ve earned respect among those whose worlds have so little in common with mine.

I didn’t go there with anything to prove, I’ve never bragged or tried to make myself seem “harder” than I actually am.  They’re the ones who could crush me like a grape, but I get the sense that they’re trying to prove themselves to me.

I’m sure that says something, although I have no idea what.

[My most profound thanks go out to Margery for the redesign of this site.  She put up with my weird instructions most serenely and stands as proof positive that women can actually be quite useful. 🙂 ]


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11 Responses to Having a “Life”

  1. Outlaw says:

    Welcome Back, Brother Martel! You and your insights were dearly missed. I like the new look of your blog; hope things are going well.

  2. deti says:

    Hell of a good post.

  3. Acksiom says:

    Yeah, it says they can sense you’re still so desperate for approval that they can get some resources from you for less than other guys with their lives comparably together.

    • Martel says:

      Which might make sense except for the fact that they’ve gotten no resources from me whatsoever but give me stuff instead.

  4. sunshinemary says:

    I love these kinds of real-life story posts. I’m glad you are writing again, Martel. And Margery did a fab job on the site redesign.

    • Martel says:

      Much kudos to Margery, I agree.

      But nobody seems to want me to go for Wendy. Go figure.

      Anyhow, I can’t tell you on your own site, but the captions for the pictures on your latest post (especially the Polish one) made me laugh out loud. Great observations.

  5. Jeff says:

    bros before … and all that. I’ve noticed the same thing – as guys move into the corporate world the simple values like sticking out for one another seem to go right out the window. I think it’s behavior from work warping their mind but perhaps they were already predisposed to it.

  6. Sean says:

    What would be your advice to those of us who are marginal players who have trouble sinking more than one ball in sequence? Play more often either solo or with someone else to just get “seat time” or are there other ways of improving stick skills?

    Although I’ve never commented on your site, I do enjoy your writing and comments elsewhere.

    • Martel says:

      Hopefully I’m not replying too late for you to actually notice I’m doing this.

      First, I recommend thinking about the table as a whole, whether you’re playing against others or just shooting around yourself. After the break, note which parts of the table you “like”, meaning places on the table where you’ve got shots. Also notice where your opponent doesn’t want the ball to go, where he’ll have a hard time getting in a shot. Whether or not you’re able to actually put the cue where you want it, you’ve got to understand where that is.

      Think through potential sequences of shots you might go for, even if before you get to shoot the entire table changes. The biggest part of being able to set up shot sequences is merely seeing what those sequences are or might be.

      Also, I don’t hit my shots with nearly as much consistency as a lot of guys I beat, largely because I play to my strengths. If I know that I’m going to have a hard time making a shot, I may plan to give my opponent a crappy leave more than to give myself a good leave. I’ve won lots of times being down 4-5 balls because the other guy never gets a shot after his initial run after the break.

      Before shooting, just think through where you think the cue’s going to go after your shot. What’s likely to happen if you hit it hard? Hit it super soft? Priority is always on making the shot, but if you’ve got two shots, where the ball’s likely to go next should determine which shot you take, especially if you’re not able to direct the cue too well yet.

      Personally, I like ducks (balls sitting right in front of a corner pocket). Generally, the easier the shot, the easier it is to place the cue after making it. Ducks are easy shots, and I try to save them for when it looks like it’s going to be hard to place the cue at some rough spot in the game, especially if they’re blocking the other guy.

      When just shooting on your own, practice making shots you hate having to make. At first, simply note where the cue goes after you make the shot. Once you get a feel for predicting what’s likely to happen, then focus on determining what happens. Also, when watching other people shoot, try to predict what’s going to happen to the cue. When your predictions are wrong (and they usually will be), determine why you were wrong. Did you misjudge the angle? Did he hit it harder than expected? Softer? Use English?

      I could go on forever (and it’s surprisingly hard to make something like this coherent), but the biggest key to cue placement is just being aware of it at all times. Know where you want it, where your opponent doesn’t want it. Once you’ve got the goal in mind and you’re thinking about that as your making your shots, you’ll be better able to make that happen.

      • Sean says:

        Yup, I read it. Got the reply via email notification.

        I try to think this way when approaching the game but sometimes the math mind thinks too much compared to the strategy mind. Generally, the ducks are all that I’ve got to sink or ones within a few inches of the pocket. But then sometimes there’s the lucky shot and …. miracles happen.

        Appreciate the advice and will try to apply it sooner rather than later. Thanks.

  7. Wald says:

    I like the redesign.

    Well done.

    Glad to see you’re writing again.


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