Friday, April 17, 2009
I love Superballs.
This might be the greatest understatement of all time. I think it's fair to say that I have an obsession with them. I cannot pass buy a vending machine that carries them without donating a quarter. I buy them at the supermarket. I sneak them into my pockets on the way out of the Diner. I hoard them at rest stops. My wife thinks it's childish and my friends think I'm weird. But I can't help it. I don't know what it is that makes me go nuts for them. Maybe it's the bright, rainbow like assortment of colors to choose from. Maybe it's the unpredictability of the ricochet across the room when you throw one. Or maybe there is more psychological substance behind my passion. Is it possible that there is some deep seeded motivation behind my rubbery fixation? To be honest, I think there is.
Before I get into it, let me be clear. I have a lot of Superballs. As a matter of fact, it would be fair to say that I have a plethora of Superballs. I would consider myself a collector of sorts. I can't even put a number on the amount. It's certainly in the hundreds. I know that doesn't sound like a tremendous amount but we're not talking Baseball cards or pennies here. We're talking about fucking Superballs. Bought one at a time. All different shapes and sizes. A huge array of colors and patterns. It's uncanny but it's a very pertinent part of my existence. If you have been to my home you would know that Superballs are usually found laying around in every room of the house. Yes I have the bulk of my collection on display in clear glass vases but for the most part, if you were to walk through my home, you would eventually trip on one. I'm constantly finding them in jacket pockets, underneath the bed and buried between the couch cushions. I have friends that literally bring me Superballs when they visit. My wife never comes home empty handed. When I run on the treadmill and I have to keep my kids occupied, they play with what else? Superballs. I keep my collection upstairs in a room that isn't frequently trafficked. At least once a day, my little one pleads, "Daddy, can we go upstairs and play with the Ballies?"
I was talking with my wife today and I asked her if I was collecting Superballs when we met. I honestly couldn't remember. She said that I started collecting them after we had gotten engaged. Hmmmm. I didn't remember that. Then I asked her if it ever seemed like it was an obsession or if I just grabbed one when I happened to see it. She said she never remembered my fascination to be anything thing more than a passive hobby at first but that it seemed to get more intense after the birth of our first daughter. Okay. Seems like there might be an escalating pattern developing.
Now I'm no Dr. Freud and I'm certainly not a psychologist by any means but perhaps my affinity with Superballs and the coinciding occupation of my home with members of the opposite sex are not incidentally intertwined. I've always been a reluctant believer in the slow and involuntary emasculation that occurs to a male after he gets married. You can slice it any way you like but in the end a man tends to lose his um... shall we say, "Balls" after years of cohabitation with his female companion. This isn't necessarily a bad thing and certainly not anything to be ashamed of. It's more of a rite of passage per say. A woman possesses a certain power over a male that resonates from her um... "Vajay-Jay". It is the first thing that draws a man towards a woman and the main thing that keeps him there. It's kind of an extraterrestrial vaginal tractor beam of sorts. There's nothing a man can do to prevent it from taking it's eventual hold on him. There is something that he can do to compensate for his figurative ballectomy though. Something to fill the void that otherwise can't be filled. He can replace his manhood piece by piece. Ball by ball. Until he feels like he is whole again. Even if it takes a life time. Even if the balls are prosthetic. A man needs to feel like a man, when he is surrounded by women day in and day out.
In 1965 a California chemist named Norman Stingley invented the Superball by compressing a synthetic rubber material under 3,500 pounds of pressure per square inch. Maybe there was a profound motivation that inspired the creation of his pop culture phenomenon? Perhaps he too was married with daughters of his own? I can only speculate and perhaps it doesn't really matter. For I have a wife and two daughters now and almost a thousand rubbery balls that lay scattered across the estrogenal landscape that was once inhabited by my manhood. Ball by ball I try and make myself whole again. Although I fear that I may forever be... Out-Numbered.