Pétanque psychology

I play pétanque about once a week. Friendly little games on the local field.
Everybody meets on the court, teams are formed and we go at it.

Some players are known as “shooters” and some as “pointers”.
There are also some bi-players (it’s not what you think) who can point but also shoot if the designated shooter runs out of ammo.

Shooters come in all shapes and sizes. Some are tall, some are short, some are skinny and some are chubby. They all can shoot of course, but what differentiates them from one another is their approach, their conception of the game.

Some shooters do not hesitate to fire their balls while some dither, preferring to take a “wait and see” attitude.
This is not my cup of “pastis”.

To me, a shooter has to be proactive. He should shoot without any hesitation if the situation calls for it. Procrastination is the antithesis of success.
If right at the beginning of a game, an enemy ball is hugging the cochonnet, it has to go. And sooner than later.
Waiting to shoot can become problematic, especially when enemy boules begin to mass in front of the target.

IMG_6407 - Version 2At the same time, a shooter shouldn’t target a ball just because it is in the close proximity of the cochonnet. He has to weigh the pros and the cons of his action and be in agreement with the pointer.
If they constantly differ about what to do (it happens), disharmony will sink the ship.

A true shooter is somebody who can shoot “au fer” (to the iron) and who can send his balls flying over enemy lines.
If you are shooting “ a la rafle” or “a la rasbaille” (your ball hitting the ground before hitting the target) your options are more limited. The minute a ball blocks a direct path to the intended target, your shooting is impeded.

Useless to say that if you are a “rasbailleur” you are not considered a true shooter and are often looked down by “real” shooters.
A “rasbailleur” nevertheless can be successful, but he is definitely not as effective and glamorous as a “tireur au fer”.

In pétanque games both sides have artillery, but big guns need to be used judiciously. A gunner has only a limited number of shots in his quiver and the strategy of a weaker team is to quickly defang the opposite shooter.
That’s the job of the pointer; to place exquisitely accurate shots and force the opposing shooter to spend his ammunition.

But games are not won by shooters alone. Pointers deserve a large part of the credit.
They are the foot soldiers of pétanque wars and without them victory can prove elusive.

To sum it up, a game is won by the skills of both, pointers and shooters, but ultimately by the cooperation and the decisive strategy adopted by the team.




Unresolved problem

I happen to live with a woman afflicted with a strange condition.
She is unable to keep anything closed or locked up. Doors, closets, drawers, jars, bottles… everything is left hazardously open or half open, which makes matters even worse.
A jar cap might find its way back on top of the jar but in such a loose and unsecured fashion that it literally begs for an accident to happen.
I am pretty sure that there is a medical term for this disorder, but I don’t know what it is and I would be extremely grateful to anybody for setting me straight.
And if there is no such a term, there is a pressing need to identify and name this condition.

Strangely enough, even though nobody talks about it, it seems that a large number of people (mainly of the female persuasion) is afflicted with this disorder.

Bride of Frankenstein 4

I know that some folks are working night and day to find cures for cancer and some other terrible diseases, but they ought (for the greater good of humanity) to also spend some time researching and eventually curing this pathological quirk.

No amount of begging or threatening seems to work. Closets and jars remain obstinately unsecured.
This illness probably stems from a deep sense of persecution that these individuals must have experienced in their youth.
They must have been abused to such an extent that no matter what, they cannot resolve to keep a door or a jar closed.
A little bit like an ex-POW unable to sleep in a closed room.

For people who don’t have to live in close proximity of those individuals, this aberration might sound a little inconsequential.
But they don’t understand the mental anguish experienced by persons having to survive in such a booby-trapped environment.
Just like an Improvised Explosive Device, a half-closed jar can go off anytime and inflict horrific mental wounds upon the recipient.

I am contemplating wearing a bulletproof jacket or, sending her to a re-education camp.
If this proves unable to remedy her condition, I might have to resort to electroshocks.

It worked for the bride of Frankenstein, I don’t see why it wouldn’t work for this poor soul.



Street philosophy

  • « Only Satan can grant man the faculty of expelling smoke through his mouth »
  • It is not children on the back seats who create accidents, but accidents on the back seats that create children.
  • You should not be afraid of horses under the hood, but of asses behind the wheel.
  • “Having sex is like playing bridge. If you don’t have a good partner, you’d better have a good hand.” Woody Allen
  • Cash flow: the movement your money makes as it disappears down the toilet.
  • If you think nobody cares if you’re alive, try missing a couple of car payments.
  • Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes.
    That way, when you criticize them, you’re a mile away and you have their shoes.
  • If at first you don’t succeed, skydiving is not for you.
  • A closed mouth gathers no foot.
  • Generally speaking, you aren’t learning much when your lips are moving.
  • Atheism is a non‑prophet organization.
  • Attorney: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
    Witness: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.
  • Sign in a Japanese hotel: You are invited to take advantage of the women who are employed to clean the rooms.
    Hello DSK!