Deep in the craggy void of Craigslist's free section, hidden among the viral hoaxes and possibly-infected mattresses, the committed scroller will occasionally happen upon a rare gem. An authentic double-decker British bus, for example, or a life-size Jabba the Hut replica. For the most part, it's junk and free bricks all the way down.
And then there is this entry, promising 75,000 Ball Pit Balls, for free... though at what cost? Are you willing to take the plunge into the mysterious, tantalizing world of mass ball pit ball ownership in the midst of a once-in-a-century pandemic? Can you afford not to? (Yes, probably.)
Here's what we know: the balls are brown, recyclable, antimicrobial and germicidal. They were used briefly in a performance space by adults. If you arrive at the unnamed Tribeca location between Tuesday and Thursday this month, you can pick up, at minimum, 280 balls. Special consideration will be given to those willing to take 10,000 or more balls. There is no time to waste.
"This is your once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make it happen for free, because I need to liquidate 75,000 balls in Lower Manhattan ASAP," the seller explains. It refers here to the state of possessing many thousands of brown plastic balls, which you could use to fill your apartment and swim through like a pot of baked beans, if that's your dream.
What we don't know, for certain, is where the balls originated or why the seller is in such a rush to offload them. If we had to hazard a guess, it seems likely this has something to do with Taylor Mac's The Fre, the short-lived play staged by the Flea in Tribeca, where audience and cast members mingled in a pit filled with 125,000 custom-designed, antimicrobial balls.
Production launched on February 28th, and for obvious reasons, was forced to shut down two weeks later. Addressing the difficult decision to close, and the many misconceptions about the cleanliness of ball pit theater, Mac explained to Slate at the time:
They’re not like your childhood balls that you remember where everyone got colds. The balls that we’re using are called the GermBlock balls and they’re antimicrobial, so they resist germs and germs don’t cling to them. So you’re in the ball pit and the germs that are in the room that day are there. But the germs from yesterday are not there. We clean the balls every day. The ball pit in some ways is the cleanest place to be in the room, because the theater chairs had the germs from the last 50 performances, but the balls actually don’t. Of course, now everyone’s cleaning their chairs too. But now everything’s shut down, so it doesn’t matter.
We've reached out to Mac and the owners of the Flea for more info on this once-in-a-lifetime business opportunity. We'll update if we hear back.