Friday, February 22, 2013

Everything Old Is Neutered Again

Peace of mind. Admiral Karen and I have it. And it is summed up by a code phrase that we share with each other in public. We'll be at a restaurant and see two small boys setting fire to the menus and attaching M-80s the waitresses skirts, while their parents hide under the table in their booth, and we'll look at each other and say, "I have a great idea".

And that idea is to not have kids. We're not advocating anything, but for us we've designated our Freaky Tiki to be a "No-Cry Zone".

And its nothing personal. I like most kids. I just really don't like condoms.

For 40-odd years I had been waiting for the "daddy enzyme" to kick in. I didn't want kids of my own at any given time, but I always thought that I would, someday.

In the meantime all of my friends were spawning right and left. While I was having a blast with my entertaining, deadend jobs the rest of my generation was busy crankin' out the pups. But this was fine with me: I get to hold their babies, feed them, play with them, and then hand them back when they get cranky or stinky.

Then I go home to my place with the white carpeting and the breakable items and decide again that nope, don't want to be a daddy. So I wasn't ready emotionally or financially to start a family. But, as my poor, grandchildless Mother pointed out, hundreds of times: If you wait until you are ready to have kids - you're never going to have kids!

She wasn't kidding either. One of my nicknames growing up was "The missed trip to the drugstore". Or, as my Dad put it, a month later: "You're WHAT? How did THAT happen??" And that's why I will always have a soft spot for Vegas, because the next weekend that's where they were married, while they left the car running.

And that's where things stood about my potential Fatherhood until three random events harmonically converged and caused me to take some positive action. Or perhaps negative action:

  1. I turned 35 and suddenly qualified as an entirely different demographic. 
  2. I left the charming dead-end job and accidently landed one with actual benefits. Full medical coverage: hmmm. 
  3. I also got a girlfriend upgrade who was unfixed and that meant returning to wearing raincoats in the shower. Ugh.
So I decided to put my money where my mouth is, walk the talk, and remove the evolutionary setting from the family jewels.

Taking Inventory.
I called my fancy new insurance to see if vasectomy was covered. The nice lady practically hugged me through the phone lines. Was it covered? Oh yes! Yes! YES! Apparently it is exponentially cheaper to deal with procreation here at 'his' headwaters than down at 'her' delta.

The phone lady's reaction was more than just actuarial joy, however. So I informed some of my female co-workers of my spay-as-you-go plan and they all but hoisted me on their shoulders and gave me three cheers. Hmm. I hadn't considered it to be attractive that I was removing the DNA disc from sexuality’s CD carousel, but there I was, losing my manhood and being hailed as a god. Cool.

Next I called my local medical clinic. I could have called the local hospital, but it is run by the Dominicans.....and I felt much more comfortable taping down procreation's pause button in a place that was officially enthusiastic about the procedure. So around Winter Solstice I called the clinic and asked for an appointment with a doctor. They randomly assigned me Dr. Yule. So the Gods were smiling upon me.

The consultation for males in my new demographic is quite brief:
Have kids?
Want kids?
Sign here.
Later he did ask me if I was currently sober, coerced, or got the idea that morning from my toaster. Yes, no and no. Great, he said, and with a gleam in his eye like sunlight on a knifeblade he proceeds to explain, in gargantuan detail, exactly what is going to happen next week during the operation.

I listened: First the room got stuffy. Then my collar got tight. Then the room got hot. Then I couldn't catch a breath. Then the room started spinning. Then he was laying me out on the table and giving me a drink of water and noting how pale I was.

Me. Pale. Think about it.
Honest, I didn't feed their dog.

I went home with a handful of illustrated booklets (which I carefully never opened), a small sealed sterile tupperware container, one valium, and an appointment for two days after Valentines Day. Again, a smile from Above: Tired of chocolates and flowers? Have your lover neutered for Valentines: its the gift that stops giving.

To keep myself sane beforehand I tried to keep it all in perspective. Its a drive-thru, band-aid procedure: One hour from the time you walk in as a robust virile stud to the time that you hobble out as an emaciated eunuch. One hour of Uncomfortable, and then you never have to worry about contraception again. EVER.

(That's the sentence that women at parties want me to repeat when they drag me over to their husbands.)

I distracted myself with the activist arguments: There are 7 billion people on this planet now - enough folks so that there is one for every man, woman, and child. We will be a viable species for the foreseeable future - no matter who we elect to high office.

I have good genes, its true. Passing some of them along would probably create a pretty neat new person. But they're not my genes; they are pretty much Everybody’s. Remember that if all of us myriad types of humans were presented at the Westminster Kennel dog show, we'd all be one leash.

The night before the operation I stood in front of my bathroom mirror, naked, with a pan of warm, sudsy water, a hand mirror, scissors, and a razor. And shaving the luggage was so novel and weird that it actually distracted me from why I was doing it, which was a very good thing.

Next day I rode my bicycle to work, for the last time for a couple of weeks. At midday I rode home, dug out my old soccer jockstrap, changed into the loosest sweats I had, and popped the valium. Now it has been 30 years since I was last stoned, and 25 since I was even drunk. So by the time Admiral Karen guided me into the doctors office I was on the Yellow Submarine virtual reality ride. I was more than pliant: I was a pull-toy.

The nurses guided me into the same room and the same table that I had almost fainted on earlier. Dr. Yule was cheerful and efficient, but I was too busy battling blue meanies to concentrate on what he was doing down there. He kept asking if I felt something but I never did, or if I did it was so far away and distant....

He asked me once if I wanted to see, but no, that's okay, I'm playing Tetris with your melting walls.

The Admiral and the Captain General.
Afterwards, sterile and alone, I put on my old jockstrap, caaaaarefully, and walked out of the office, sloooowly. Karen, who had been cheering me on for three months now (since I announced my plans) was now doing back flips and cartwheels around the office.

She drove me home and I told her the same office story over and over and over again until the drug wore off. Then I got three days of all of the movies and take out food that I wanted.

Did it hurt? Not during the operation. The sound was the only uncomfortable thing.

How did I feel afterwards? Well I wasn't Testy, Didn't go nuts, hadn't lost my marbles, Wasn't balling my eyes out, or praying to Testiclees. I wasn't ordering up the Huevos Cajones with a side of bangers and served with Tea, bagged up by the boys in the basement wearing the crown jewels.

Nope, afterwards it was only peeing that was unpleasant. So no, the recovery was not very painful. What was painful was the only fact not mentioned in all of the paperwork, the booklets, or by the doctors, nurses or anybody: If you shave off all of your scrotum hair, it will all grow back: STUBBLE!!!!

For a week at work I couldn't lift anything heavier than a book and I walked like an elderly Texan with a puffer fish in his pants. All in all though it was pretty smooth sailing for me.

So, physically fine, but emotionally....For about three days afterwards I received little, tiny emotional queries from the area in question. In effect the little squirmy dudes were saying "I'm melting! Melllllting.....!" and for about 6 weeks after the operation I was faced with the fact that I would never father children.

This is what I wanted of course, but still my body, or something deeper; my Being perhaps, was taking me aside every so often, tugging on my sleeve and saying: "Yo, Dude. What are you doing? What's all this 'bridge out' nonsense? Don't you realize why you're here?"

Well yes, I do. And it just doesn't include making more of me. So, has getting spayed made a 'Vas Deferens' in my sex life? Well, not Vas, but better certainly, more spontaneous, and removing the monthly worry factor is like Heaven. Zero chance of pregnancy. Savor that concept.

The final chapter in the fumbling of my balls is the test. The test to see if any of the little squirmy dudes are still lurking in the halls. This is what the little sterile tupperware container is for. You bring that in and they 'check for corpses' as Dr. Yule said.

After 3 weeks I called his office and left a message asking what the procedure is for these things. Do I see him, or make an appointment or just show up at the lab or what? Two days later I got this phone message from a very hurried nurse:

"Ah, no sir, you do not need to make an appointment or see the doctor. All you need to do is to drop off the container at the lab about an hour after you - um, after you, er, well......about an hour after, uh, you, you, you obtain some specimens! Yes! Thankyoubye."

She seemed more uncomfortable than I ever was.

Angus McMahan

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