On Friday afternoon I swung by the elementary school to pick up Big Sis and her two cousins and take them to the park in our neighborhood where the high school cross country team was running in a meet.
We arrived in plenty of time to position ourselves at the top of the big hill, where we joined a convergence of cones marking the course. There were a bunch of cones. Cones marking the course, and then about 40 more cones off to the side, arranged in a recognizable shape.
Before I could check myself, before I could put a cork in it, I exclaimed, "Well, looky there: a penis!"
This, my friends, is exactly the word you should use to get the immediate attention of three children between the ages of six and eight.
"Penis? PENIS? WHERE??"
I'm certain that my little cheering section would have been none the wiser had I not helpfully pointed out that the Rorschach of cones resembled a certain member. Artfully rendered, I might add, as it even included...ahem...
"Hey! Is this part over here the pee?" asked my nephew, noting a little "spray" of cones "shooting" from the "tip" of the cone "rocketship."
"Yes, the pee. That's right," I agreed, laughing and shaking my head and then enlisting their support in moving the carefully-placed cones, mostly to avoid the risk of my crew announcing to any and all passersby, including the runners, that here was a big old cone penis! Right along their path!
Nephew was particularly interested in this Freudian drama and its dismantling. "Do you think it was a boy or a girl who made this, Auntie?" he asked as he kicked over cones.
I had a 50% chance of getting that one right: heads or tails. Both sound suspicious.
What is it with the phallus, anyway? I alternate between annoyance, amusement, and puzzlement over the prevalence of penis pictures in public places and what appears to be the other gender's proclivity for producing them.
I've dealt with phallus artists in the vice principal's office. Students outline them in the sand on field trips to the beach, not-so-cleverly incorporate them into class project posters, draw them on bathroom walls, form them in duct tape on windows. They sculpt them from clay and carve them out of...well, wood. On Senior Prank Day, I've grown accustomed to looking for the penis depiction, often unrelated to the central theme, but inevitably rearing its...head.
What is it, exactly, that you are trying to say to us, oh male species?
I can tell you how I interpret those Nuts for Your Truck (by the way, after googling "car testicles," I learned that these are also variously known as "bumper nuts," "bulls balls," "truck balls," "car nuts," and "hitch balls"): when I notice that you have them on the back of your ride, you suggest to me that you, driving in your truck, are basically...a big dick.
Surprise me for once, will you? Hitch those nuts to a Smart Car.
It must be archetypal, this need to make the private part public. Perhaps it's a function of the Y chromosome that rather than doodling cubes or hearts or random squiggles, the hand just absentmindedly draws the penis.
I don't know.
But I know it's not a dying art, this penis portraiture.
By the way, penis made of cones, guys? Kind of redundant.