Teaching “Balls”

And this is the story recounted one day after picking up Charlie from his After School Science Enrichment Class…..

Cassie: How was class today? Was it scientific enough? Did anything explode? Was it to your liking?

(I inquire about whether the class is “explosive” enough because there have been some complaints from Charlie that since the class was billed as one that offers an “in-depth exploration of chemistry,” he’d like to see more beakers, more bubbling up of liquids and perhaps an explosion or two. So far, the class has not met his high expectations.)

Charlie: Huh?

Cassie: Did you like the class today?

Charlie: Yea….yea. We made balls. (He hands me a couple of round bouncy ball things.)

Cassie: You made balls? What are they made of? What’s the scientific part?

Charlie: It’s made of some stuff that you mold and then put in the microwave to cook. Mr. M (the science teacher) went over the scientific principles and the name of the secret ingredient but I forget them now. (Pause.) I made two balls. Some kids only made one because they didn’t pay enough attention to the technique of molding the ball. They were too slow….and then there was a log jam at the microwave.

Cassie: I see.

Charlie: This was a pretty funny class….the first time it’s ever been funny.

Cassie: How come?

Charlie: “Balls,” Mom.

Cassie: I don’t get it.

Charlie: Balls….like a boy’s balls? Now you get it?

Cassie: Ahhhhh. Yes.

Charlie: This one girl in the class was good at molding the balls…like me. She had two all set and waiting to go in the microwave. Then another kid came over to investigate the balls. The “good ball maker” girl said to the curious kid (because he was poking at the balls she had made), “Don’t touch my balls!” Hilarious! I rolled on the floor laughing. It was so funny — “Don’t touch my balls!” (Charlie giggles uncontrollably.) She says, “Don’t touch my balls!” She doesn’t even have balls. She’s a girl! Get it?! Bah, ha, ha, ha!

Cassie: Yes. I get it. Hilarious. You were rolling on the floor?

Charlie: Yep. But then I had to regroup because I was laughing so hard I thought I was going to puke or pee my pants!

Cassie: Hmmmm. What did the teacher think of your display of hilarity?

Charlie: He started laughing a little too. But the helper – she’s a girl teenager – she just rolled her eyes a lot. She’s a real crank.

Cassie: She didn’t see the humor in the ball talk?

Charlie: Right. But then every time Mr. M talked about what to do with the balls (Bah, ha, ha, ha) he’d say something like, “Pick up your balls….” and then he’d have to correct himself and say “Pick up your TOY balls….” Otherwise all the boys in the class would start to lose it and crack up like me. A lot of the girls didn’t get it. They didn’t understand why it was so funny. They just don’t get balls.

Cassie: Well, they don’t have testicles—”

Charlie: Balls, Mom. It’s not funny if you don’t say “balls.”

Cassie: Uh…huh. Well what a nice enrichment science class you had today.

Charlie: I’ll never forget it. I like that class a lot.

Cassie: Doesn’t seem like it was very educational, though. Where was the chemistry?

Charlie: Mom, are you kidding? It was VERY educational. The teacher learned how he has to be careful when talking about balls and the girls learned about double meanings. They needed to learn about balls and that there are consequences if you yell out something like, “Don’t touch my balls,” especially if there are a whole bunch of boys in the room. I was doing everyone a favor.

Cassie: Everyone, huh?

Charlie: Everyone except the helper. Except she probably learned that she’s not really cut out to be a teacher… if she can’t even crack a smile about balls. Balls are super funny and if she’s not going to have the right kind of humor about something like that then she’s not going to make a good teacher. (Pause.) Can you drive faster because I have to pee sooo bad after all that laughing. My balls are about to—–

Cassie: Okay, Charlie. I’m done with all the “ball talk” now myself.

Charlie: You reached the limit?

Cassie: Yes, I have.

Charlie has resorted to whispering ball phrases to himself such as “Let’s play ball!” “Pick up your balls,” and “Balls, balls, balls….” as I drive the car toward home.

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