Many years ago when I was young and impressionable and still discovering all the wonderments of late night cable, I quite accidentally came across a scene on tv of guys sitting around in a circle wearing nothing but jock straps with bulls-eyes painted on them forcibly chucking a dog bone at each others' crotches.
I have since learned that this amazing and painful display of stupidity is called Jackass, and it was a fairly successful tv show for the few years it lasted and went on to make several reasonably grossing big screen movies.
We'll be moving right past the question of how a group of guys doing incredibly stupid things on purpose with a video crew along could possibly be so successful, to the original point of this post for which that was merely a little background and context setting.
Some of my coworkers were entertaining themselves during an exceptionally slow afternoon today by chucking a baseball-sized semi-squishy bouncy ball at each others' crotches when no shoppers or management-level fellow employees were around.
Because they are male, and therefore highly amused by doing incredibly stupid things. Apparently.
However, as I contemplate this strange masculine bonding ritual of trying to hit your friends in the crotch with a projectile, I'm beginning to think that perhaps the shared experience of pain (even when inflicted in such a questionable manner) does truly serve some small purpose in deepening social relationships.
Take for example birth stories. Everyone whose done it has to chime in with theirs when it's the topic of conversation (and sometimes you even get the people who haven't personally given birth, but love regaling of their sister's/cousin's/best friend's/this-one-time-on-reality-tv when given the chance).
Similarly, from what I've seen soldiers greatly enjoying bantering stories of everything from what they did in basic training to the battlefield and everything in between.
The shared pains and hardships gone through and overcome give people a common ground of understanding what has shaped their lives, and how people dealt with the extreme physical stress shares quite a bit about their character.
Like I start cussing a lot during drug-free-not-really-by-choice child birth, and although I'm not entirely sure what exactly that's depicting of my inner being, I'm still gonna go with it's a reasonable reaction which I'm ok having. After all, childbirth is a bit on the painful side. And I'm a bit on the cranky-when-they-won't-give-me-the-wonderful-drugs-I-really-wanted side. And I tend to use the word fuck excessively when I'm cranky.
But in today's world of adrenaline-lacking Target jobs, some of those bonding experiences may need to be artificially created.
Apparently by trying to hit each other in the crotch with a large bouncy ball.
Now if only I could think of an equivalent way to manufacture some bonding time with my female coworkers....