Posted by Bob on July 12, 2006
In Reply to: "behind the eight ball" posted by Smokey Stover on July 12, 2006
: : Why "behind the eight ball" when facing adversity, especially when some place eight balls on things like "hot box suicide shifters" for good luck?
: There are many varieties of pocket billiards, or "pool," which is probably the most common type of billiards played in the U.S. In a very popular variety of pool sometimes call eight-ball, the eight ball is not allowed to be sent into a pocket until all the other balls have been pocketed. If you find the eight ball between the cue ball and the ball you are trying to hit--that is, you are behind the eight ball--it will be pretty hard to hit the next ball into a pocket without hitting the eight ball (which is not allowed). Obviously being behind the eight ball is an undesirable position to play from (until all other balls have been dispatched). Need more be said?
As to the other part of your question, the people who put eight-ball knobs on shifters (or skulls, or other symbols of menace) they are defying fate, laughing at danger, daring the gods to bring it on, and so forth. It also means they are teenage boys, a little immature and a little in need of bravado.
Many people have discovered that when they use a good luck symbol, or wish, or pray, or promise to give up evil thoughts, then flip a coin 100 times, predicting heads or tails, they'll be wrong 50 times! But if they use a bad luck symbol to defy the gods, they'll be right 50 times! And there you have it.