Fribble Ye Olde Pool Parlour

By Roy Smith (Swordpen)
September 20, 2000

As I get deeper into Fooldom, I see a correlation to my many happy hours in some old pool palaces. I started there as a fool wanting to become Foolish. But the "Wise" looked down their noses at my crude stroke, missed shots, and general lack of knowledge of their kingdom. They offered to teach -- for a fee -- the nuances and secrets of the elusive controlled draw and magic effect of English applied just so.

I would watch the resident princes of the game perform the sweet, delicate art of perfect position play. I would engage those that would wage small sums with a lowly fool so as to experience at least the aura of the match, knowing I would lose but win knowledge.

Slowly it dawned on me that these Wise were not the best in the realm but rather the best of the palace. And as I improved, they did not gain a higher level of skill. I noticed they did not study the best of the game, so when I happened upon exhibitions of the best of the best -- such as Mosconi, Buteras, and Hoppe -- I realized there was a level of achievement that broke all the rules I'd seen.

I researched and studied all I could find on the rule makers of the time. Even though there was little in print at that time, a few of those rule makers had been able to write and illustrate their secrets so a Foolish student could learn the ways to beat the kingdom of the Wise with perseverance, determination, and patience.

I eventually did break some rules -- and even made a few. I remember those sweet moments in life past and present when the click of the cue ball meets its object with a magical precision and result. Some of the best moments were when the Wise would pull up a chair to watch a match I was in. I guess I beat the market then and compare it to being a Fool in another era now.