On February 3, 2021

Having a ball

By Dom Cioffi

I saw an individual driving on the interstate the other day with a certain representation of the male anatomy hanging from the ball mount on their truck. As is the case in these moments, my curiosity got the best of me, so I sped up to get a look at the driver.

You never see these anatomically correct “decorations” hanging off a Lexus sedan or Mercedes SUV. They’re always on monster truck knockoffs or muscle cars that have seen better days.

This vehicle was exactly what you would expect: huge tires, jacked up suspension, and a ton of decals on the back window. There was also an inch-and-a-half of mud on the body with a loosely attached bumper held in place via nylon rope.

When I came up alongside the vehicle, I nonchalantly glanced over to size up the driver. I imagined he’d be everything I expected or nothing I would have ever guessed. In other words, this was either going to be a twenty-something redneck kid or a 70-year-old grandmother.

Ironically, I was wrong on both counts. The driver was a guy in his late 40’s who likely hadn’t taken the best care of himself judging from the visual I caught. He had on the prerequisite tattered and dirty baseball hat and a scruffy beard that spoke of laziness rather than style.

I tried to imagine what someone would have to be thinking to decide to attach plastic genitalia to their one mode of transportation. I guess any number of things could lead to that decision, but I’m confident none of them involve intelligence.

I did a little a research on these items just to see what a pair of rubber testicles would cost someone inclined to buy them. It turns out there’s a small industry built around them. In fact, one guy online has created a small novelty empire around this one gift. The prices range from $10 for the keychain version to over $70 for the specially lighted versions made for trailers.

If you’re interested, you can also get this lovely accoutrement in a variety of colors from bright pink to camouflage, and in a multitude of different sizes from 2 inches up to the 16-inch monster version.

A little more research revealed that having these attached to your car or truck can draw attention from the police. Several states have tried to adopt obscenity laws to make them illegal, but all have failed. But that doesn’t mean you’re not going to get harassed by the authorities.

Personally, I find these items unsightly, but I’m of the belief that poor taste is a right. I don’t need the government to adjudicate issues like this. The public has a way of weeding out bad ideas, and as we all know, sometimes making a big deal out of something just makes it a bigger deal.

Another comical edge to this story is that the two biggest players in the online genitalia novelty game are dire enemies. Each has laid claim to inventing the underground phenomenon and viciously attacked the other for stealing the idea. Their conflict escalated into a major public relations battle on social media, in blogs, and on review sites. Eventually, their war of words even led to multiple cease and desist orders.

The bottom line is that I personally will never attach a pair of these to my truck. I can’t bring myself to put any sticker or magnet on my vehicle. I put an Apple Computer logo on my car back in the 90’s and always regretted it – not because I became jaded with Apple (I love the company), but because I have a personal aversion to being defined by imagery.

I love the Grateful Dead, but there’s no way I’m sticking the dancing bears on my back window. The same goes for the New England Patriots. I’m a longtime fan, but I’m not willing to have that silver helmet logo on my bumper.

I guess it’s just who I am. But then again, I’m smart enough to realize that “who I am” can change tomorrow. I don’t want to be permanently defined by anything because my attitudes, opinions, and tastes are always evolving. I’m a mystery to myself and others – and I like it that way.

This week’s feature, “Derek DelGaudio’s In & Of Itself,” is also a mystery. In fact, this is one of the most mysterious films I’ve watched in years.

Originally an off-Broadway play, this unique performance — part lyrical poem, part magic act, part philosophical treatise — is the most fun I’ve had watching a movie in a long time, probably because it was so different.

Anything this distinctive will have people taking sides, but if you like to be challenged by film and led into unique and intellectually stimulating places, definitely give this one a try. In the end, it will have you questioning who you really are.

A magical “A” for “Derek DelGaudio’s In & Of Itself,” available for streaming on Hulu.

Got a question or comment for Dom? You can email him at moviediary@att.net.

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