butter, bread, & knowing better | 3


butter, bread, & knowing better | 3

Last time, I gave up #5 so I could go to #10. I bombed at #6. I did passably well at #7. I went against my own misgivings in order to keep a promise and ground myself back under the heel of the Universe in #8.

My life could be summed up in the following:

Yet, I plowed forward, determined to jump again. Even if I looked like an idiot doing so. There was still another third of the Pilgrimage to Insanity left.

9. Open 10-Ball
10. Open 10-Ball • or • Women’s 9-Ball
11. Women’s 8-Ball, bar tables
12. Women’s 8-Ball, bar tables, teams


9. Open 10-Ball

Due to substandard performances in all previous events, I had to pass up this event. I could see the writing on the wall for #10. I was going to need a lot of money.

In addition, someone had suggested I play on a BCAPL team this year. It fell to me to organize things so that meant paying membership fees, team tournament entry, room reservation, and the cost of team shirts in advance. I like to get sh#t done in advance, if I can. And if I am going to organize a team, then I will make it as easy as possible for everyone. I have a job and I am grateful for it. I do not mind paying everything for my teammates first and then (ideally) getting paid back later. If I run a team, really, all you have to do is GET TO THE TOURNAMENT. I will handle everything else and if you can’t afford everything at the time, no biggie, pay me back later.

So, that took a chunk out of my wallet. In order to fund all of this, I not only had to drop this 10-ball event from the schedule, I also had to drop #11 — my own aspirations for individual glory at the BCAPL National 8-Ball Championships. The good of the many take precedence over the good of the few, I suppose.



10. Open 10-Ball • or • Women’s 9-Ball

So, here we are — at the last chance for individual gold on my Tour of Insanity. I had originally planned to split a room with RP4, but now I knew that would be A TERRIBLE IDEA. However, since I knew her plans may have been dependent on the fact that we would share costs, I had to find a way to be fair.

I had trouble booking rooms at the host hotel (when I called they said they did not recognize the group code I gave them) and the deadline was looming. When the deadline passed and I was unable to get a room there with the discount (the area is EXPENSIVE), I used Hotwire to book a room at another hotel close by at the same price. Reservations through Hotwire are non-refundable.


I told RP4 that room was hers. She could stay there, by herself, for free. I would book myself another room.


Later on, I was able to book a room at the host hotel for myself. So, yes. I booked two separate rooms for this tournament and would be paying for both, although I would only be using one. This was the best solution for all, I believed. RP4 would not be paying an unexpected cost because I backed out of sharing a room (which would be unfair to her) and I would have my own room and hopefully some peace of mind.

When I arrived, I took the public transit system from the airport to the hotel. This was a smart idea, in retrospect, because I had NO IDEA the table time at the pool room was $15 per hour. OUCH. Good grief. My wallet was stretched thin enough that you could read newsprint through it at this time and if I had not taken the bus (a shuttle ride was $19) which had only cost $2.50, I would not have been able to justify my one hour of practice.

The next day, I played terrible. I could not adjust to the unfamiliar equipment and the short races did not help. I lost my first match, got really f#cking pissed about it, and then drank perhaps a gallon’s worth of White Russians.


Mmm, yes.

Not my finest moment.

But if this blog was only about my finest moments, then it would be like most of the other pool blogs out there, wouldn’t it?


I blundered through three more matches. I stopped trying to play a finesse game — which generally only works well with cue balls, rails, and tables you’re familiar with — and just fired away at whatever shot I could see. It was all I had left. It was enough to get me to the second day.

It was then that RP4 asked if she could stay in my room.

Apparently, she had decided not to use the FREE room ($300!) I had booked at the other hotel, because it was a mile away and she would have to take a taxi. She had a bad experience with taking a taxi from the airport to the hotel and did not want to deal with taxis anymore. Fine. She already had roommates in the new hotel, but she wanted to stay out late and I guess they were not the kind to stay out late.


You already know what happens here, right?


If this were a horror film, it’d be where I go upstairs after the electricity goes out and the phone lines are cut to investigate a creepy noise. You’d all be yelling at the screen, “DON’T DO IT!” And I, oblivious to the obvious, would simply continue up the stairs where I would meet a gory end, a gory end that I can only blame myself for, because I am a goddam freaking moron.

RP4 had a free room that I had paid for and decided not to use. She had roommates at her new hotel. Yet she wanted to stay in my room. WHAT THE EVER-LOVING FUCK IS GOING ON?

And yet, I said, “Okay.”

I wanted to be good about it all and I thought I could handle it. I spent $600+ on two hotel rooms so I could stay alone and then I agreed to a roommate. Somebody shoot my dumb ass.


I bombed the next day. Losing didn’t piss me off (all that much). At one point, RP4 complained to me about the cost of the trip. That pissed me off but I fixed that with a sh#t-ton of alcohol.

What really, really broke my heart was that I left a small pile of things in my room after I checked out. I go down a mental list before I check out of a hotel. I have things arranged in particular manner. However, when there is someone else in the room and I have to expend braincells concerning them, whether it is conversation or their comfort, I lose track of sh#t.

I lost my greatest possession, which is Emerson, the pocket knife I have carried for many, many, many long years. He is the best friend I have ever had. He doesn’t have quirks, doesn’t care about the thermostat, isn’t vegan, doesn’t whine about relationships, and I don’t worry about him paying me back. He’s been with me through every crazy pool trip and trust me, he’s been through some crazy people as well. I lost the one friend I could always depend on because I put myself in a bad spot — willingly.


That was that.

That was the end of it all.



I have finally learned.

If I cannot afford to travel to an event by myself, I am not going. If that means I may never leave the state, so be it. If it means I may never leave my city, that’s all right, too. If it means I may never leave my room, that’s cool — I’ve got a sh#t-ton of chores (and a backlog of crafts) to do.

My RPs on these ill-fated trips are not bad people. They’re wonderful people all incandescently lovely in their own ways. I love drinking with them. I love bullsh#tting with them. I love watching pool with them. I’d have their back in a fight. But I CANNOT travel with them. Being sh#tty road partners doesn’t mean you can’t be friends.

I do best traveling alone. My entire focus is on competition and I have no additional resources to process anything else. If too many things require my attention, I become butter scraped over too much bread. That is why I need to excuse myself from the rest of the human race when I want to win. Until I am out of the running for glory, I am nobody’s friend, I am nobody’s confidant, and I will take nobody’s side in arguments that do not concern me. Hell, I will not take sides in arguments that do concern me. All I care about is bulldozing the competition and for f#ck’s sake, if I do, will I make enough to break even? During a tournament, I am not human. I am a piece of iron.

I give up a fair amount for this game. I’ve given up food, sleep, and money, I’ve sold off material objects, some of which I have occasional pangs of regret over. I pass up good times with friends. I give blood on a regular basis in exchange for time off to play.
I will not waste these efforts any more because I was unable to say, “(F#CK) NO”, even when my own well-being (and I’m not talking about pool performance here) was at stake.
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. Yes, Brook, Angry OMG is back.

Less quantity, more quality. That goes for people as well as tournaments. That’s how I’m going to operate from here on forward. If you do not understand and your feelings get hurt, I shall have to consider you a gangrenous limb and then, see below:



All that is left now of the Tour of Insanity is

12. Women’s 8-Ball, bar tables, teams

I had plans and strategies written down for my team but after that last tournament, I burned those plans in the flames of a fragrant candle. I now have no expectations for my team and this trip is a vacation for me. It is useless to look back on what is done and gone. All I can do now is move forward with what I have left (even if that is very little). I have learned my lesson about Road Partners. If I have not, you will hear about my death due to a stroke brought on by frustration and stupidity.

See you all in Vegas.