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In which John discusses the world's largest balls--of stamps, of paint, of twine, and more. Such roadside attractions were once important in Paper Towns. Now I get to use them for this at least.


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A Bunny
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Good morning Hank, it's Tuesday, April 14th and today we're gonna talk about a subject close to my heart: the world's largest balls.

Hank you may not know this, but as it happens, I am something of an expert in the field of the world's largest balls. Because the first draft of my new book Paper Towns was originally devoted in large part to the world's largest balls. Really.

Close readers will recognize that there's still a small vestige to the world's largest balls stuff in Paper Towns, but not nearly as much as I know and today I am going to tell you everything I know about the world's largest balls. By the way Hank you will be surprised to learn that to my knowledge, all of the world's largest balls are located in the United States. It's almost like Americans are obsessed with exceptionalism.

And Balls. First, the world's largest ball of stamps. Which is located in Omaha, Nebraska at Boys Town and yes, I've seen it.

In fact Hank, the world's largest ball of stamps was the first world's largest ball I ever saw and I'll never forget my reaction when I finally got there and saw it. "Man that's a pretty big ball of stamps." So Hank, what happened with the world's largest ball of stamps is that the boys of Boys Town just started taking all the pieces of mail they got and putting the stamps together into a ball, and eventually they had more than four million stamps and a gigantic ball. Which just goes to show you hank what you can accomplish if you're bored, and orphaned. Hank, the world's largest rubber band was created by a guy named Joel Waul in Florida.

And who I'm willing to bet is not beloved by his neighbors. It consists of more than seven hundred thousand rubber bands weighing a total of more than eight thousand pounds. And it has a name- of course he named it, I mean he spent years of his life making it.

It's called Megaton. 'My name is Megaton! I am a rubber band ball!' Hank, since I know you're curious, I'd like to read you the Aristotle quote on Joel's MySpace. "First have a definite, clear practical idea, a goal, an objective. Second, have the necessary means to achieve your ends.

Third, adjust all your means to that end." Although for some reason Joel doesn't go on to quote Aristotle's fourth precept, which is of course, 'Fourth, don't make that end a rubber band ball.' Hank, the world's largest ball of paint is located in my home state of Indiana, in Alexandria. The story of the world's largest ball of paint begins in 1977 with a guy named Michael Carmichael. Did his parents not know what their own last name was when they named him Michael?

So Michael Carmichael- it's such a fun name to say! So it's 1977 and Michael Carmichael is staring at a baseball, and he thinks to himself, 'I think I'll paint this baseball.' And then he kept painting the baseball for thirty years so that it now has tens of thousands of coats. Okay Hank, just a few others: the world's largest ball of barbed wire is located in Texas, the world's largest ball of popcorn is in Sac City, Iowa, and the world's largest ball of twine is in Cawker City, Kansas.

Unless you don't consider this shape to be a ball, in which case the world's largest ball of twine is either in Branson, Missouri, Darwin, Minnesota, or Wisconsin. Hank, I don't wanna brag but I've seen all of those balls of twine and take it from me, the one in Darwin, Minnesota is the most impressively ball-like. By the way I think it's interesting how two of the major balls of twine in America have mailboxes, as if you could send them letters.

Dear Ball of twine, You say something interesting about America, but i could never figure out quite what, so I cut you out of my novel. Best Wishes, John So Hank, hopefully you now know more than you used to about the worlds largest balls. I'll see you tomorrow.