This ain't no joke, ladies and gentlemen. This is the Real Thing you've all been waiting for. What's life all about if not mindless diversion? There's a hand back there at the back of the room... Yeah, you, no... not you. Well? I don't hear anything...

So let me sum up: The game of Monkey Pool can be likened to an Art Form, to a Religious Practice, to Life Itself, if you think about it enough, or not enough, or just the right amount I suppose. What can't be likened to Life Itself anyway, since that's what this all is, eh? And to say that Life is similar to itSelf is not really saying all that much, is it? For instance, the Game starts out full of hope and optimism and innocence. "This time it will only take an hour... under an hour!" Though we can feel in our bones that this time will be just like the last time, we can't help but try and climb into this sow's purse we've made out of a pig's unmentionable, or bought at a 99c store or out of the back of some guy's van. Play wears on. Hats change. Balls are pocketed or simply caroom wildly about the table. Heisenberg would be proud of us. Perhaps beers are quaffed, popcorn popped, amusing anecdotes of the day's simple pleasures counted and recounted. Bleary eyes claw at images of clocks that don't seem to function correctly. The more you focus on some simple task to accomplish, righting an Elephant for instance, the easier it is to claim a victory, no matter how insignificant or fleeting in the grand scheme of the Game. But once the focus becomes Winning, well, pal, you'd better hope you've got more than a casual interest in anything at that point.

And at some point in every Game ever played, someone invariably will reach the point of total surrender. Not only do you hear, "Let's never play this Game again!" The player must break through this to the realization that they must continue, they will continue, for No Apparent Reason.

It is said that between the flash of optimism at the Beginning and the ashes of regret at the End lies the Heart of the Game. Here are the double Doubling Rounds, the Monkeys hurtling from the table, Cue Balls impacting jawbones and molars across the room, the fleeting moments of glory and shame. Points are racked and deracked, added and subtracted, but the points belong to the Cue Ball, not to the Player. Eventually, there must be cooperation between the Players if the Game is to Finish. The sooner everyone gives up their tenuous grip on their understanding of whose Hat is whose, that much quicker is the Game over.

To begin all over again...