Sunday, February 3, 2008

In Search of the One-Armed Man

As a thought exercise, let's pick a one-shot background character and see how much information we can squeeze out of him. While surfing through the Daria Character Database, I noticed the "One-armed Pool Player" and clicked on the link, only to discover this was one of the few entries that had no character description. Luckily I remembered the one-armed pool player from "Aunt Nauseam" (the one who was playing against Jake) and got his picture for this blog. After reviewing his four-second appearance on Daria, I came up with the following notes.

First, the physical description. The one-armed guy is golden-blond man of indeterminate age, with a droopy handlebar mustache, a long ponytail, long sideburns, and narrow eyes. His most obvious characteristic is that he is missing his right arm at the shoulder. He wears teal pants, a black belt with a rectangular silver plate buckle, and a red long-sleeve button-up shirt (unbuttoned halfway down) with a white t-shirt underneath. A thick dark band is wrapped around his left wrist (a wide leather-strap watch?). Note that his left sleeve is rolled up: who did that for him? Did he do it before putting the shirt on? The shirt's right sleeve is pinned up. Over the shirt is an open, sleeveless black vest. Finally, he wears what appears to be an Army or Marine Corps dress cap with a silver emblem on the front. (Is he balding?) He shoots pool with his left arm, probably resting the stick on the pool table rim. The only line he has is spoken in a rough, deep voice to Jake, a reminder that "You're up!"

Questions immediately surface. When, where, and how did he lose his right arm? Does he suffer from phantom limb problems? Is he ex-military? Was he in a recent war, like the Persian Gulf conflict in the early 1990s, or is he an older Vietnam vet? What is his normal occupation? Lawndale obviously has pool halls. Does Jake go to them now and then? Does Jake know this one-armed guy from somewhere, or just as a pool player? The one-armed guy has a biker look about him, but he probably could not control a cycle with one arm. He could drive a properly outfitted car, however.

Can you shoot pool well with one arm? This YouTube video should answer that question.

What else can you surmise about this guy? How could he be used in fanfiction? The ball's your court. Put your answers in the comments box, and let's see what we get.

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