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“I spilled my coffee laughing.”NSL, Wellington, Fl.


An Itchy Ball, first off, to use a Brooklyn-ism, isn’t what you think. In fact, in the Facebook group, the first few people who saw the title, including my wife, assumed I had lost my mind. But they, of course were not from Brooklyn.

An Itchy Ball, quite simply, is the seed pod of the American Sycamore tree. But it is not what it was but what was done with it that is important.  In fact, on the group, “I grew up in Brooklyn” someone posed this question, “Do you remember itchy balls?” Hundreds of people did. First, as the picture displays, they start out rock hard hanging in clusters from the trees.


Golf-ball size and hard, they undergo a transformation to this power-puff soft ball, now three or four times its original size, and ready at the touch or at a strong breeze to split open into thousands of tiny yellow parachutes. In their hard stage they were put in the freezer and held ‘til winter, hidden hopefully from mothers’ prying eyes.


They were packed into snowballs. Ahhhhh but those soft ones. Right down the backs of the nearest unsuspecting girl you could find. That’s an itchy ball.

I’ve been asked what this book is about. Another trait from my borough is to answer a question with a question. Why did I write this book? Simply, it is about me from earliest memory through high school, from no hormones to all hormones. I wrote it for two reasons. First, if one is honest with oneself, as we progress through these years we do an amazing number of stupid, mortifying, sophomoric things. So why not share them?


Secondly, one look at the daily paper or a cable channel and it is clear America could use a book with no plot, a minimum number of mostly easy to understand characters, and that can be put down and picked up without having to rack one’s brains about what had transpired when last your glanced at it.

"And yesterday morning, as I looked for something to lighten my spirit, I turned to The War of the Itchy Balls. And I chuckled a lot! So thank you for that."
- Rick Feldman 

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