Ed Balls had a tough childhood. Not because he was poor, or weak, or had lots of little red pimples on his face all the time or anything. No, none of those things are true. What is true is that his last name is Balls. Knowing kids, we can imagine them having been absolutely merciless to him. Add to that his admission that he suffered from a bad stammer as a child and his formative years must have been torture.
Mr. Balls admitted as much in an interview with British “newspaper” The Daily Mirror, saying “ I was teased and bullied right through my school years about my name…That’s why my kids took my wife’s surname Cooper. I’d never dream of calling them Balls.”
A wise decision. Strangely, I dream of calling my children Balls all the time.
So who is this Ed Balls I speak of? Like many of the people featured on this blog who were bullied for their name as child, Ed Balls left all that behind and managed to climb to the top. Mr. Balls is now one of the most high-profile politicians in England, having occupied highly placed positions within the (left-wing) Labour party for the past decade or so.
This, of course, is much to the delight of newspaper headline writers, who for some reason just love to talk about Balls’s meetings with anyone named Johnson.
Wikipedia tells me Balls is currently the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer. I don’t know what that is, but it sounds like some sort of banking superhero meets school principal position, and I can roll with that. Balls was preceded in this position by Alan Johnson, leading some (me, mostly) to suspect some form of reference to one’s man-parts in your name are all the qualifications you need for the gig.
Balls is also a patron of the non-profit British Stammering Association, whose Chief Executive Norbert Lieckfeldt in 2010 praised Balls for having openly spoken of his childhood stammer. There’s a pun in there somewhere but I will leave that for our commenters to figure out.