of a

P O O L    S H O O T E R

The Adventures of FastMikie
in search of Truth and Beauty in the art of pocket billiards.

Monday, October 29, 2007

What's in a name?

Where does the name "Fast Mikie" come from?

What a fascinating question,
and I'm glad you asked,
so we can clear up the issue once and for all.

It happened in 1963.
Wow, that's almost half a century ago!
Amazing how time just slips away...

It was my senior year in college.
There was a pool hall on campus,
and I spent a lot of time there.

It took me a couple of years of losing
before I started to catch on to the game,
and then the summer before my last year
I practiced a lot, and got pretty good.

In the first couple of weeks of my senior year,
I won a lot of money at the game,
as I systematically released my new 'speed'
just enough to get the money,
until ultimately I was giving them the spots
that they used to give me, and more.

During one particularly profitable round at the tables
I was cleaning out a couple of old foes,
and there was a considerable gallery of sweaters attending,
and when a passer-by innocently asked what's all the commotion,
one of the kids was overheard to say:
"Fast Mikie is cleaning up!"

It was pretty evident that he was making a reference
to Paul Newman's character "Fast Eddie"
in the movie "The Hustler",
released just a couple of years prior.

It was really an appropriate name
for more than the obvious reason.

Another reason which resonated so strongly
was my firmly established reputation for driving fast.
Very fast. All the time. Everywhere.
My internal clock was just turned up.

And, I ran track and cross-country.
Loved to run.

Nowadays, my running is less fast,
and so is my driving,
and I sure don't hustle pool any more,
so maybe I should give up the name?

Not so fast!
(if you'll excuse the pun)

There's a lot more to "fast"
than you might think, at first.

What does it mean to be "fast"?

What a fascinating question,
and I'm so glad you asked,
so I looked up the word in the dictionary,
and here's what I found,
slightly edited so it wouldn't be too long.



1 moving or capable of moving at high speed : a fast and powerful car. • performed or taking place at high speed; taking only a short time : • performing or able to perform a particular type of action quickly : a fast reader. • (of a person or lifestyle) engaging in or involving exciting or shocking activities :

2 (of a clock or watch) showing a time ahead of the correct time :

3 firmly fixed or attached : he made a rope fast to each corner.
(of friends) close and loyal.

4 Photography (of a lens) having a large aperture and therefore allowing short exposure times.

1. at high speed : he was driving too fast. •
within a short time : they think they're going to get rich fast.

2. so as to be hard to move; firmly or securely : the ship was held fast by the anchor chain. PHRASES pull a fast one informal try to gain an unfair advantage


1 a fast pace speedy, quick, swift, rapid; fast-moving, fast-paced, high-speed, turbo, sporty; accelerated, express, blistering, breakneck, pell-mell; hasty, hurried; literary fleet.

2 he held the door fast secure, fastened, tight, firm, closed, shut; immovable, unbudgeable. antonym loose.

3 a fast color indelible, lasting, permanent, stable. antonym temporary.

4 fast friends loyal, devoted, faithful, firm, steadfast, staunch, true, inseparable; constant, enduring, unswerving.

5 wanton; informal easy; dated loose.


1 he drove fast quickly, rapidly, swiftly, speedily, briskly, at speed, at full tilt; hastily, hurriedly, in a hurry, posthaste, pell-mell; like a shot, like a flash, on the double, at the speed of light; informal lickety-split, PDQ (pretty damn quick), nippily, like (greased) lightning, hell-bent for leather, like mad, like the wind, like a bat out of hell; literary apace. antonym slowly.

2 his wheels were stuck fast securely, firmly, immovably, fixedly.

3 he's fast asleep deeply, sound, completely.

4 he lived fast and dangerously wildly, recklessly, self-indulgently, extravagantly

Yep, that's me,
Fast Mikie.
So there were all these other reasons
why the name Fast Mikie stayed with me,
even though I stopped playing pool after graduation from college
when I took a job, started workin' for the Man,
got married, had kids, moved around, changed jobs,
then went into business on my own,
got lucky, retired, got into Ferraris and airplanes
(more of the "fast" stuff again)...
all the while, all 40 years of what came after college,
these were The Dark Ages of No Pool.

It's just amazing how time slips away...

That brings us up to four years ago,
when I picked up my old cue,
and started shooting pool again.

Fast Mikie is back!

(to be continued...)

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