Column #90 Gobsmacked!
June 1, 2000
I think Steve Brown’s got it in for me. I don’t know why.
Once, I suggested that he could run faster than a snake. I’ve since spoken to him about this and he’s assured me he took no offense. In fact, he claims he read this comment as complimentary. Apparently Steve once raced a snake and lost. I plan to confirm this someday with Janet Reno.
Another time, I compared him to an idiot savant I knew in junior high school. The guy I knew used to walk the back streets of Flint, Michigan talking to his duffel bag. I’ve since discussed this with Steve also.
Again, he’s assured me he’s fine with the comparison. Apparently Steve once raced a snake and lost. Did I already mention that?
Still, despite Steve’s assurances, I’m certain he was gunning for me…
A few weeks ago I paid five dollars to shoot against him during an exhibition. Two out of three. 501.
I started off fine. So did Steve. But he finished even better with a 170 game shot.
I placed my shot for cork in the green as we readied to face off for game two. Steve ambled to the line. He stopped. Looked my way. Winked. And then got down on HIS KNEES and stuck the double bull.
I held my own though, while Steve seemed to struggle, and was in good position to even the match up. I didn’t exactly have a low out shot but I HAD an out shot and Steve was looking down the barrel of a double three.
I felt confident I had six darts to close.
Steve ambled back to the line. Stopped. Looked my way again. Winked again…
He took off his flights.
He UNSCREWED HIS SHAFTS!
And then, with nothing but a piece of a dart left, he set. He stroked.
He released his little barrel and point contraption. It wiggled it’s way into the air. It wobbled toward the top of it’s arc. It somersaulted.
And BAM… it found its destination SMACK in the middle of the double three crescent.
“Good game mate,” Steve offered as he turned and held out his hand to shake my own.
I myself was speechless. ‘Gobsmacked’, as the British say. And speechless is not something that I often am. Steve had just stomped me senseless.
Besides, as one who’s toddled about England a pretty fair bit, I was pretty sure he had spoken to me in that secret, very gentlemanly sounding, British code.
You have to know the British. The never insult you directly. They are far too polite to stoop to such standards. When a Brit sets you straight you barely know it’s so. The real meaning is skillfully veiled, buried deep inside an entirely proper sounding, seemingly benign, comment. To the inexperienced the true message is seldom immediately clear.
Yep, I was certain Steve’s kind “good game mate” really meant: call me a snake one more time and I’ll wack you with my willy.
So, as one who has absolutely no desire what-so-ever to see Steve’s willy, I responded in-kind, in a polite American way. I congratulated him and wished him a nice July 4th.
And on his birthday I’m going to send him a duffel bag.
From the Field,
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