I know the title may sound misleading and for any of you male noders or readers out there looking for a cure for their own personal case of “itchy balls” I suggest you head down to the local pharmacy and lay your hands on some Gold Bond or talcum powder to cure you of your ills. Either that or try bathing or changing your skivvies more often. I ain’t no doctor but that’s the only advice I can offer.

As for me, the term “itchy balls” has an entirely different connotation. Growing up as I did in Brooklyn, New York, many of the streets were lined with Sycamore trees and each year when it came time for them seed, they’d sprout their seeds which in a young child’s vivid imagination seemed to bear an uncanny resemblance to a pair of testicles. At least it did when you were ten or twelve years old and hadn’t hit puberty full on just yet.

Besides bearing the seeds of their ancestors, itchy balls were also one of the favorite things for us to throw at each other. This was especially true of the girl you might have had a crush on. You might grab a handful and hide behind a parked car or a tree and just wait for your unsuspecting target of opportunity to come wandering by and then launch your attack. Their spherical nature made them pretty easy to throw and they had the added benefit of bursting on contact when you made a solid hit.

Upon bursting open, their insides revealed thousands and thousand of seeds that in the humidity of the New York City summer would cling to your targets skin and cause them to scratch and itch.

Back then, it was considered a rite of passage to come home covered from head to toe in itchy ball seeds. You became “one of the guys”. In these days of politically charged correctness, you’d probably reprimanded by your parents and have to go to some kind of sensitivity training.

Shit, they’re probably not even called “itchy balls” anymore. They’re probably called “dermatological nuisance orbs” or something just as asinine.

Sometimes, I think we’ve come too far…

Another use for these odd little wonders of nature during my youth was in the construction of cheap and easy Halloween decorations.

Sycamore bugs:
  1. Take the two sycamore balls and de-seed. (If you leave the seeds in you’ll get them all over the house.)
  2. Hot glue the balls to each other. (It doesn’t matter what end you glue to which…they are balls, duh)
  3. Take the pipe cleaners and line them up evenly together.
  4. Hot glue the center of the pipe cleaners to the connection between the two balls.
  5. Glue googly eyes to the far end of one of the balls to make a face.
  6. Spread out the pipe cleaners evenly, and bend them at angles for legs.

Now, you have either a sycamore ant or spider dependant on the number of legs. For variation you could add leaves or the propeller seeds from the sycamore maple.

Then start throwing them at people. Especially annoying sisters.

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