Odd Thoughts: Turning tide might be in or out

“There is a tide in the affairs of men which taken at the flood leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries.” – Julius Caesar, Act IV, Scene iii (by William Shakespeare).

Shakespeare was a clever fellow – or his script writer was. His works are filled with philosophies of which lesser men knew nought enough to dream.

But his tidal advice ebbed before it hit the beach.

Fine, if you’ve got a tide chart handy, but the “affairs of men” are more like the stock market than a moon-directed fact of nature.

In life, it’s not always easy to recognize the incoming tide, and even harder to buy low, and sell high before the tide goes out and leaves you stranded.

And if those metaphors aren’t mixed enough for you, ego gets in the way, and even when you know you’ve reached the summit, it can be difficult to admit that the only way forward is all downhill.

Consequently, instead of picking yourself up by your bootstraps, you end up yanking the rug out from under yourself.

Okay. Now that I’ve worn out practically every metaphorical cliché that I can let the cat drag in, let me offer a case in point. My university days are now dim memories. But I shan’t ever forget the greatest pool game I ever saw.

A handful of us headed out for what we believed would be a hilariously lewd evening of laughing at the “dirty” movies in Blaine. Such films were not accessible on our cleaner Canadian soil, and the internet had not yet been invented.

We thought they had been banned here because they were pornographic, but it turned out they were just boring. After about 10 minutes of Linda Lovelace, most of us had already seen more than we had bargained for, and decided a cold beer and a game of pool in a nearby tavern would be a far more constructive use of our time.

The first tavern we walked in on had an empty pool table, so two of us grabbed cues and racked up a game… and that’s when it happened: our pool tide was at its flood.

We garnered some attention as we shot for break. The first ball careened off the far bank and crawled back to within an inch of our edge. A few people in the tavern noticed and nodded approval. When I sent my ball down the table, it came back to less than a quarter inch, and a few spectators gathered around us, impressed. I sank two balls on the break – both low. And then I called and dropped shots, one after the other, that Chicago Fats could only dream of.

After double-banks, combinations, and hooks, I left myself bad for the 8-ball… but my partner continued where I left off, dunking even more impossible shots.

People were coming in off the street to watch The Game. One soft shot, and I was left with the 8-ball for an easy finish.

If we had finished our beer and left, they’d still be talking about us today. But we didn’t. We racked up another game – just another game. Nothing went down on the break… or for the next two shots each. Our tide – and our audience – subsided in guffaws and laughter.

Now the question is, are all the Conservatives who are leaving Stephen Harper stranded in Ottawa getting out at the flood tide?

Or are they, like the BC Liberals who deserted Christy Clark before the last provincial election, selling low?

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