A Racy Trucker Toy

So you're cruising south on I-95 toward Disney World with the family in the Honda Odyssey when little Johnny looks out the window and says, "Daddy, what are those big purple things hanging off that truck?" You look out and think quietly to yourself, "What are those things? They look like a big pair of bull ... uh ... doodads. Giant purple bull doodads! But that can't be, can it? What tha-? Did they just light up when he hit the brakes?!?"

Try to keep it between the white lines, Dad. Your eyes haven't deceived you. Tens of thousands of vehicles—or vee-hick-uls in this case—across this great land are sporting low-hanging, lifelike bull testicles in all the colors of the rainbow from their rear hitches. There are brass ones and rubber ones and chrome ones. They come in small, medium and "monster." (For you discreet drivers trying to blend in, they even come in "camo.") Some of them light up. The numerous Web sites that sell these things insist they're incredibly "lifelike." But if your family bull is lighting up down there, it might be time to bring him on in to the vet.

Why would someone hang a set of these on his F-150, you might ask. I have no idea, but I do know if you're the sort to dangle a pair of giant stones from your hitch, you're not just proudly declaring, "I'm a redneck!" You're proudly declaring, "I'm such a redneck I make other rednecks uncomfortable."

If you've read this far, you're either looking for more ammunition for your testy Letter to the Editor or you want to buy a set of your very own. Well, it's easy. Try Amazon, where you can pick up a new pair for $19.65, or even less for a used set. (Used?) Or go to Allthenutz.com, the Web site that claims to "satisfy the needs of the nutless." There, patriots can buy models that are Proudly Made in the U.S.A.

Not to be outdone, Bullsballs.com claims to be "The Foremost Truck Balls Company in the World!" That's a bold statement in the high-stakes world of synthetic bull testicle salesmen, but then, to paraphrase David Mamet, "It takes brass balls to sell brass balls." (Apologies to Alec Baldwin.) Yournutz.com even sells POW-MIA sets, on which they have "respectfully placed the black ribbon," and you can also purchase a pink breast-cancer-awareness set. Pick up a pair and they'll donate $10 for research. I could go on listing places to buy these things, but I'm trying to hang on to the last shred of dignity I have left after writing this story.

There's no shortage of entrepreneurs making money on this unsettling fad, though the definitive history of its birth hasn't been penned yet by historians. Bullsballs.com claims to have been the first on the Web in 2000. That site's founders came up with the idea after four-wheeling. Some good-natured off-color joking "triggered a vision," which of course led to one of the guys making a mold from a bull's privates, which led to a Web site. Regardless of their origin, they caught on, which raises the "why" question again. It's easy to play Freud and say these men are compensating for something, but maybe they just have a twisted sense of humor. Sometimes parts are just parts.

The real beneficiaries of this trend might just be journalists and bloggers who get to write headlines like: "Virginia Declares War on Testicles" or "Fake Private Parts Are No Joke". And it's rare that we get to use the word "dangle" the way God intended. It's enough to make a New York Post headline writer's head explode.

"Truck nuts," as they're known in the trade, have been a growing menace to vacationing families on our nation's highways for at least a decade, and some lawmakers have recently taken notice of this disturbing hillbilly trend. A Maryland state legislator tried to outlaw the obscene decorations in 2007, but his bill never made it out of committee. That didn't stop Virginia state legislator Lionell Spruill Sr., who introduced a bill in the House of Delegates in January of this year to stop this scourge of free-swinging facsimiles. (This is the same group of lawmakers that a few years ago introduced a bill to outlaw low-riding baggy pants, forever known in the Virginia press as "the great Droopy Drawers debate." It later died in the state senate, which allowed Lincoln and Douglas to stop spinning in their graves.)

Spruill's bill to amend the centuries-old Virginia Code stated: "No person shall display upon or equip any motor vehicle with any object or device that depicts, represents, or resembles human genitalia, regardless of size or scale."

"Regardless of size or scale"? Let's be honest-that last part was just gratuitous, because no one is going to bolt a pair of microscopic family jewels on his Hummer. That would be embarrassing.

Alas, Spruill's bill died a quick death in the House Transportation Committee, but Spruill did not go down without a fight—or a sense of humor: "I remind this chamber that I said, 'Why can't I find my balls bill?!?'" he declared in a speech before the legislature, a pair of giant fuzzy ones draped around his neck. Not since Patrick Henry has such soaring rhetoric been heard in Richmond.

At the end of his speech Spruill vowed to try again in 2009. Until then you might want to make sure the Odyssey's stocked up on SpongeBob videos—anything to keep Johnny's eyes off the road on that next long car trip to Grandma's house.