Balls and Nuts

It’s happened. My 7-year-old has discovered — with the help of some other boys on the school playground, probably — some of the alternative vernacular for the male anatomy.

Yup. From this moment onward, he will never hear the words “balls” and “nuts” the same way again. Forever, when someone asks him, “Hey, do you want to grab some balls, play catch and then go home and eat some nuts?” He’ll grin and say to himself, “Ha. Balls.”

It had to happen at some point. Although, he’s a bit misinformed, I fear. He told me that “balls” are his testicles and “nuts” is his penis. Unless I’ve been misled all these years, I think the playground is a bit off. Things have changed since I was a pre-pubescent but I don’t think they’ve changed that much. At least not in terms of the male genitalia. (Ha. Genitalia.)

He finds this new information and new addition to his language buffet thrilling, like he’s been let in on a joke that precious few are aware of. It’s like he’s been invited to a private “balls” and “nuts” party. (That sounds weird.) He’s also not shy about pointing out when we practice baseball in the backyard and I mention throwing the ball around that “ball” could refer a body part that we both have. I smile knowingly and say, “That’s right, buddy.” He laughs uncontrollably.

I remember my first brush with this lingo. I was the youngest in a group of boys heading out to play in a park. I was about 7 or 8. I remember an older kid, who seemed like an adult to me but was probably all of 14, talking about playing baseball. (There’s that sport, again.) He said he liked to play baseball and that “he had two balls, a bat and bag to carry them in.” I thought, “Wow. Lucky guy. He’s really ready to play baseball. His equipment is already packed up.”

It took me a while to figure out that he was referring to a different set of equipment.

This realization is now dawning on my oldest and it’s the beginning of a long process of self-discovery and awareness for him. I’m most gratified that he’s comfortable enough to share the jokes with me and my wife. As involved parents, we’ve explained to him that while “balls” and “nuts” are funny in the context of his anatomy, they are not for usage everywhere, in front of everyone. For instance, if we’re conversing with our minister and she mentions enjoying some tasty nuts, that’s not a time to burst into laughter.

A time and a place — that’s what I’m trying to impress upon him. Even as a man in mid-40s, “balls” and “nuts” are funny. (“Ha. Balls.”) Guys are immature, primordial creatures who find stupid things hilarious.

7 has just joined the club.

(Photo by Τϊζζ¥ on / CC BY-NC-ND)


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Two boys, one wife and a ton of material. I live for family and I'm one of the most blessed people you will ever meet.

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