Tony and I were walking this afternoon. I wasn't watching where I was going, stepped on a sweet gum ball, and almost fell flat on my face.
(In case you're lucky enough not to know what I'm talking about, a sweet gum ball is the fruit of the sweet gum tree. When the spiky little balls mature, they turn brown, drop their seeds, and fall off the tree. The balls aren't good for anything. The spikes hurt when you step on them barefoot and they don't decompose; they're still hard and firm months after they fall. In normal years there are a good number of balls under the trees in the fall and winter, but this summer we had enough moisture that the trees were able to produce prodigious amounts of fruit.)
After I steadied myself, I took a good look at the brown orbs scattered all over the sidewalk and decided to see how many sweet gum balls I could hold in my hand at one time. I stooped down and started grabbing, picking them up with my left hand and setting them in my cupped right hand.
The spines of the balls stuck together, so I was able to stack them really high. I stopped when I got to 37, but I probably could have gone higher if I'd stacked them more carefully. When I was done, I threw the balls back on the grass where I found them, and continued walking.