Brass balls. Hanging from a Chrysler New Yorker in my neighborhood.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
I was walking behind an elderly couple last Friday while on the way to my car. This sweet old pair could play Funny Old Ethnic White People in any movie or TV show. Both of them were at least a foot shorter than me, their hunched posture making them even smaller. The gentleman wore a cardigan and white mesh baseball cap that may or may not have said "U.S.S. Lincoln" on the front. He walked with the assistance of a cane.
As I approached them from behind, a small moment of comedic goodness unfolded before my eyes. The three of us were walking toward the car (pictured below). It's a baby-blue job with flames on the side and other fanciful decorations. The crown jewel, so to speak, is a set of big, brass balls hanging from the rear bumper, below the license plate. I'd noted them often, chuckling to myself each time (because decorative brass balls are funny, see).
But the old gentleman wasn't quite sure what to make of these beauties. So the curious codger doddered his way into the street, slightly crouching to get a look. Still not satisfied with what he saw, he gave the balls an exploratory smack with his cane, which left the shiny testes gently swaying back and forth. He then said in his wonderfully raspy old-man voice, "Well, I don't know what these are for."
This all happened just as I was passing by. Friends and family, there are few things funnier than seeing an octogenarian whack a pair of hanging brass balls with his cane. I get the feeling the gentleman is quite used to striking things with his walking stick. (The legend in my family is that Grandpa Gaines selected his cane based on which one felt best while thumping my Uncle Jon in the leg.)
I've been in a sour, jumpy mood for the past couple weeks, but witnessing this little slice of funny gave me brief respite from my worries. These are moments to note, people. Treasure them.