Many people have habits or personal traits that are annoying. The degree of irritation suffered is dependent on the observer. Such irritants are frustrating enough in the normal world of work and family. But in the pool hall, their effective is enhanced by the environment. Nonetheless, these all affect how well you can concentrate on winning.
An experienced hustler, using this tactic has to quickly identify the most effective annoyances. As each "social grace" is presented, your reaction is closely monitored. Sometimes he gets lucky and finds two or even three annoyances that bother you. Once discovered, he utilizes them at important or critical situations when their performance causes the greatest impact on your state of mind.
Any of these tactics, when use by an amateur, are simply bad habits. Here is a short list that has been observed in pool halls:
- Talks on a cell phone - loudly and with great enthusiasm.
- Shares everything about his personal life.
- Greets or waves at everyone that comes close to him.
- Slurps on the straw of an empty cup of soda - multiple times.
- Doesn't cover mouth when coughing.
- Flips coins while waiting for you to finish your turn.
- Wears too much cologne or perfume.
- Throws trash on the floor, then uses his foot to push under a chair.
- Eats sunflower seeds and tries to throw the shells in a trash container six feet away.
- Chews food with mouth open, occasionally letting some fall out.
- Clips and cleans fingernails with meticulous attention.
- Always starts sentences with "You know." and "What?"
- Blows nose with noisy intent.
- Doesn't use deodorant, but performs the "wave" at every success.
- Forgets your name - and hems and haws as he then remembers the wrong name.
- Stares at you fixedly, never taking his eyes off of you (or some body part).
- Farts loudly, and pretends it was someone else.
- Picks nose and inspects the captured contents.
- Sniffles his way through a cold.
- Harrumphs with intent, and then spits on the floor.
- Clicks a retractable pen, in a race to see how many he can click in one minute.
- Wears sunglasses and a backwards baseball cap.
- Picks his teeth and checks to see if a tidbit came out to become a snack.
- Never makes eye contact.
- Chews on a pencil or pen, sideways.
- Shakes hands with a limp wrist and while leaning slightly away.
- Shakes with his left hand, saying his right was touched by an angel.
- Speaks in a terrible accent, that changes minute to minute.
- Acts like he is drunk - but only orders sodas.
- Pretends to be slightly deaf, and speaks too loud too.
- Cracks his knuckles in time to music.
- Speaks so quietly you have to ask for a repeat.
- Calls you "Kid" or "Son" if you are younger.
- Calls you "Old Man" if you are older.
- Calls you “chief” or “buddy” or something other than your name.
An amateur with any of these bad habits cannot easily be stopped. It's not as if you could simply walk up to him and slap him silly. Loudly complaining that he is using such and such a shark to distract you gets some attention - usually strange looks and inquiries about your mental health.
However, you can tease him about any of his displays. Here are a few possible responses:
- Knuckle cracker - "Can you do that to send messages in Morse code?"
- Limp handshake - "A little gay today?"
- Chews on pen/pencil - "Does that come in other flavors?"
- Slightly deaf - walk up closely and speak very loudly and slowly into their ear. "Hooowwww arrrrre yyyoooouuu?"
- Sunglass wearing – “Lights are too bright for you?”
If it irritates you, you need to be pro-active. Teasing and “friendly” insults can help you overcome your frustrations. Applying a moderate sense of humor makes your mind less affected.
Do keep in mind - such responses that you use are for entertainment only. You don’t need to add to your list of deadly enemies. There are many idiots out there, some of whom have infiltrated the pool room. You need a minimum level of tolerance, just to ensure that you are not driven crazy.