Tuesday, November 15, 2016


(A classic post from 2009, reprinted now since I was randomly reading old blog posts and this one really made me laugh.  Perhaps it's relevant again since the Raiders are finally once again a good team?)

There comes a time in every man's life when he considers nothing to be more hilarious than seeing someone else kicked in the balls. This time, in general, starts from birth and lasts until death, but what I'm talking about are those isolated stretches when groin-affrontery stands out as being particularly hysterical. It becomes your default mode for comedy; other individual moments may have a higher comic peak, but when it comes down to brass tracks, the baseline for laughter is set at someone doubled over in pain, bow-legged and either groaning or cursing obscenities.

For my group of friends, this period lasted for roughly six months in 2003. It was all because of the Oakland Raiders. Our group had gathered at my pal Bryan's place to watch the Super Bowl, which that year pitted the Raiders against Bryan's beloved* Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The game was even on paper, but it quickly became apparent that the Raiders were overmatched --- the score was 20-3 for Tampa by halftime. We kept our attention through the halftime show (Sting, No Doubt, and someone else who I'm forgetting at the moment...whomever it was didn't even join in with Sting and Gwen on the set-ending duet, so clearly it was someone with a stick up their ass), but after that, our attention started to wander.

* = We were chatting about who we wanted to win the game, and we were all generally indifferent until the question was posed to Bryan. "The Bucs, of course! They're my team!" He even had a Bucs t-shirt under his sweater. Now, up until this moment, Bryan had never once mentioned that he liked the Buccaneers, so this all came out of left field. Bryan explained that since his family often vacationed near Tampa, he adopted the Bucs as his team when he was a young child. It was a perfectly plausible story...though nobody ever uses the word 'plausible' unless they're trying to hint that they don't believe it. Bryan didn't go overboard with his Bucs-love, however, so if it was bandwagon-jumping, it was at least a very low-level case. It wasn't like this one kid I went to grade school with who showed up in a brand-spanking new Montreal Canadiens coat two days after they won the Stanley Cup and claimed to have always been a huge Habs fan. In the words of the Arcade Fire, LIES, LIES.

When you get eight bored, early-twenties guys into one room, something bad is bound to happen. In this case, I seem to recall it stemming from someone mentioning a recent internet video that featured, I think, some would-be skateboarder badly nutting himself while trying to skate down a railing. Something of that ilk, anyway. This led us all to reminisce about funny groin-shot videos that we'd seen, and somebody brought up the idea that a website solely devoted to acting as a repository for groin-hurtin' videos would/could be immensely profitable. The title of Junkshots.com was quickly devised and we all began to mentally spend the money that we would be sure to generate from such a website, were any of us anything but too lazy to actually do something towards designing it.

One thing led to another, and before long, my pal Jason had punched someone in the crotch over some perceived slight. It was inevitable. If you talk about Coke for 30 minutes, someone is inevitably going to want to drink a Coke. I can't blame Jason --- though the victim sure did. Now, please excuse my faulty memory, since I don't actually recall who the victim was, but for the sake of the narrative, let's say it was my friend Matt. Matt swore vengeance, but the catch was that Matt was sitting on the opposite side of Bryan's U-shaped couch arrangement. Ergo, Matt enlisted my buddy Trev (sitting next to Jason) to deliver a revenge ballshot on his behalf. Jason scoffed and claimed that he would never be taken unawares...so of course, literally 20 seconds later, Jason is staring blankly at the TV while the rest of us are glancing around at each other having a seven-way version of Ted and Barney's silent conversation. Our eyes all met Trevor's, who promptly raised his hand and delivered a thunderous backhand to Jason's crotch.

That opened the floodgates. By the end of the Super Bowl's increasingly dull third quarter, everyone had been crotched at least once except for myself and my pal Eric. It helped that we were sitting next to each other, so we were out of the proverbial line of fire. This isn't to say that I didn't play a role in the day's events. It was all thanks to one immortal statement from my friend Andrew: "I'd like to see Mark deliver a flying headbutt to someone's groin."

Now, for readers who have never met me, I'm bald. My shaved head is akin to that of a torpedo nose, which is likely what planted the seed in Andrew's mind. I readily agreed to the idea since, really, when else would such an opportunity come up in life? The deal got even sweeter when I was paid $5 for my troubles. You see, my pal Dave (who apparently studied economics under Johnny Knoxville) immediately volunteered to be the one to take the shot as long as he was paid with the money left over in the pizza-buying pot. We had about 15 bucks left, so Dave got $10 and for some reason I was handed a fiver. Money for nothing and your cheques for free!

So we lined up in the back of the room, Dave and I about eight feet apart from each other. Now, when Andrew said 'flying headbutt,' it looks exactly as it sounds. I earlier compared my head to a torpedo and that is maybe the best description; I lined up, got a slight running start and launched myself perpendicular to the ground. (At this point I should note that everyone was clothed and only the top of my head made contact with Dave's crotch. I can't believe it took me eight paragraphs to realize the homo-erotic undertones to a post about guys hitting other guys in the junk.) It took us two attempts to get 'The Blast To The Balls' right. The first time Dave flinched and backed away, so he had someone hold him in place. The second time, he went down like a ton of a bricks. A few others also went down like a ton of bricks as they fell to the floor laughing. In hindsight, the true funniest part of the evening may have come after I got home. Dave's girlfriend at the time innocently messaged me to ask how the game went, so I went ahead and gave her a full recap of the evening. Given that they had been dating for just a few weeks, I perhaps shouldn't have been quite so forthcoming with the details. I could see her "What am I getting myself into?" thought bubble forming even over the internet.


So that, in a nutshell, started the junkshot trend. Over the next few months, there were few get-togethers between the lot of us that didn't feature at least one instance of someone getting junk-punched. We were polite about it, of course. It was always when we were just hanging around at someone's house, not out in public, and it seemed to occur only when our group numbered five or more. Maybe it was because the puncher wanted the maximum amount of laughter, or maybe it was just because if it's just two people hanging out and one groins the other, it tends to cast a social pall over the evening. My own Switzerland-esque streak of neutrality ended when I got sacked while taking a nap, which I felt was a bit unfair. I didn't even have a chance to defend myself, or, like Jason, to make an arrogant boast about defending myself and then completely falling asleep at the switch seconds later. The climax of the era probably took place when Matt filmed a video of himself, Dave and Andrew all nailing each other in the groin as part of an application for some type of student council job (which, I should note, he ended up getting). I was fortunate enough to be the camera man for that video, and thanks to my laughter, the scene was shakier than the entirety of the Jason Bourne series.


Sadly, all good things must come to an end. The era of the junkshot came to an end in the summer of 2003 when we all gathered at Bryan's (new) house for the first of our '24-fest' marathons, where we watched an entire season of 24 in one actual 24-hour span. As you might expect, the addition of sleep deprivation to the mix didn't bode well for everyone's testicles. Now, I'm not the best source on 'the incident,' since I wasn't actually there --- I missed a big chunk of the day due to work. But according to a well-placed source (whose name rhymes with 'lever'), here's what happened: there had been a few attempts at nuttings throughout the day, but perhaps as a result of osmosis from Jack Bauer, everyone was on their toes and able to block. Dave had been the most vocal about wanting to land a really quality junkshot throughout the course of the evening, so perhaps what happened was solely a case of poetic justice. As Dave was walking back to his seat, my pal Matt landed a well-placed uppercut that dropped Dave like a bag of hammers. My source said that the punch was perhaps a bit harder than usual, if not a Little Mac star-punch or anything, but what really made it effective was that it was delivered from a seated position, so the added lift just exacerbated the damage.

Anyway, after almost passing out right there on the floor, Dave gathered himself and retreated to the bathroom, where he proceeded to throw up from the pain. I couldn't get this confirmed, but apparently Dave even took a shower in order to both recover and to, er, check on things to make sure there was no permanent damage. After 30 minutes or so, Dave returned to the living room quite upset, and Matt, for his part, was apologetic at the amount of havoc that had been wreaked. Any sympathy that Dave hoped to generate, however, was erased when he spoke out against ball-shotting altogether, including the immortal line "Dave: "Sorry guys, I just don't find ballshots funny." Keep in mind that this was the same guy who voluntarily took a flying headbutt to the groin in the name of comedy, so this new statement was the equivalent of Jughead claiming to hate hamburgers. As (apparently) Andrew immediately responded, "You find them funnier than anyone!" So yeah, not even forced vomiting can spare someone from being blatantly misleading.

But still, as it says in the Bible, once someone has been punched so hard that they vomit, it's time to end the junkshots [Ecclesiastes 5:15]. That day marked the end of our group's interest in groining each other, and we happily returned to somewhat maturity. The only possible way that we may revert would be if Dave (whose thirst for vengeance would put the Count of Monte Cristo to shame) capitalizes on his long-standing pledge to pay Matt back for that testicle-crushing uppercut. The last I heard, Dave's latest plan was to somehow set up a can of paint tied to a door frame, and then swing it down into Matt's groin as he passed through the entrance. All this plan needs is for the can of paint to be from ACME Products, and for Dave and Matt to be subtitled by comical Latin names.

And we never did get that website up and running. Even with the preponderance of funny-video sites on the Net, there still isn't a page that I know of that specializes solely in punches, kicks, or foreign objects to the groin. Isn't this still a great idea? A one-stop shop for any sort of ball-related injury that one would want to watch and laugh at? Junkshots.com is still available. There's still time. That video from Matt's student council thing could be the opening entry. We could get the rights to 'Football To The Groin' from Hans Moleman. We could sign Ric Flair as our celebrity spokesman, as he won more matches via illegal low blows than anyone else in pro wrestling history.

Money to be made, gang. Money to be made.

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