Poolshark

Lyin’ in my plastic bed
thinkin’ how things weren’t so cool to me
my baby likes to shoot pool
I like lyin’ naked in my bedroom
tying on the dinosaur tonight
it used to be so cool to…

But now i’ve got the needle
and i can shake but i can’t breathe
i take it away
but i want more, and more
one day i’m gonna lose the war

Lyin’ in my plastic bed
thinkin’ how things weren’t so cool to me
my baby like to shoot pool
like lyin’ naked in my bedroom
tying on the dinosaur tonight
it used to be so cool

now i got the needle
and i can shake but i can’t breath
i take it away
but i want more, and more
one day i’m gonna lose the war
.

Analysis by  Sean from Knoxville, TN:

One of the saddest songs ever written in retrospect.

It showed that not only did Brad realized how serious his addiction was, he knew that it would kill him one day if he didn’t give it up.

As any Sublime fan is well aware, any reference having to do with other drugs like marijuana or alcohol, and even cocaine and meth (“tweaking” as Brad calls it) were taken light-heartedly, however Brad always took his heroin addiction extremely seriously (see “Badfish”, “Poolshark”, etc.).

As a former heroin addict myself, I have a greater emotional attachment to this song than any other ever written. Just to show you how fucked up that world is, I would literally put this song on every time I would shoot-up.

 Everyone thats an addict, including Brad, knows they don’t want to be in that world, so even if you get your fix, deep down you know its killing you. This song isn’t a “suicide note”, because Brad was trying desperately to be free. He went to rehab over a dozen times, but quickly relapsed afterwards every time. This song was simply Brad’s way of explaining that he understood what would happen to him if he keep using heroin, which as we all know it did only two years later.

The lyrics are fairly straight forward – “plastic bed” definitely refers to the beds withdrawaling addicts sleep in. The beds are covered in plastic because of the endless amount of sweat that would otherwise soak into it while the addict lies awake in bed and thinks about “how things aren’t so cool to me”, because trust me, you don’t sleep and things definitely aren’t cool.

One lyric that oddly hasn’t been discussed at all is the very title of the song. “My baby likes to shoot pool”, more than likely is not a reference to another person, but rather to himself or his needle (which would be his “baby”). “Shooting pool” is slang for injecting something (i.e. “I was in the bathroom shooting pool.”) I used to use to term a lot, even before I’d heard the song.

 “Tyin’ off that dinosaur” unquestionably means putting on a tourniquet. “Tying off” is the action of putting it on, and “dinosaur” is slang for the tourniquet itself. “Used to be so cool”, any addict will tell you, no one uses heroin looking to get addicted, but with this line Brad shows that he knows that its not fun and games anymore, its a serious problem.

“I can shake, but I can’t breathe”, obviously a reference to intense withdrawals. “The shakes” are a very common symptom for heroin withdrawals. “I can’t breathe” is probably just a methaphor for how unbearable heroin withdrawals really are.

“One day I’m gonna loose the war”, definitely Brad’s understanding of the ways his addiction will end, either quit or die. However, this didn’t mean that he had stopped fighting and was writing his “suicide note”, he was in rehab only a few months before his death.

RIP Brad Nowell – the greatest waste of potential in the history of rock and roll. Say NO to needles, they kill!

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