the spaghetti incident? part II
You read about the "spaghetti incident"
when last we met in dads #5. Wincing
and grimacing readers, both male and female,
told me the bone-chilling account gave
them a shrieking case of the heebie-jeebies.
This week’s dadly follow-up tale is not for the feint
of heart, or any other feint part for
The decision to yank live ammo from the
old gun was a simple one amounting to a
mathematical equation. Two kids, two
bedrooms --- good.
Three kids, two bedrooms --- bad.
Plus, the reasonable dad whose missus
has electively pumped a daily dose of
extree hormones into her system to keep
the stork at bay faces the grim realization
that all that additional chemical stuff
coursing through your lovely bride’s system
may wind up netting her a more manly mustache
than even the brawniest of dads might cultivate.
With a bountiful genealogy of pruney,
toothless, mustachioed aunties ceaselessly
waiting to slip me a wet one on birthdays and
other nightmare-filled holidays, the decision
becomes a simple one.
Run like the wind for the knife.
Now, the idea of a vasectomy performed by a
urologist with a Third Reich namesake was
vexing enough -- but the required pre-op
trip to the wiener doctor with my wife was
more than any self-righteous dad should have
to bear. Much like having mommies sign
a permission slip giving you the okey-dokey
to go to the health museum so you can ogle
your favorite parts of the
"Juno the Invisible Woman" display along with
your drooly pre-pubescent pals, Dr. Mengele
requires married dads bring their brides to
sign off on the bloody bifurcation of the
V.S. Disenz (again, see dads #5),
and to sit through his "so you want to have
a vasectomy" stone-faced monotone drone of a seminar.
I defy you --- no matter what your level of
maturity, to sit in an office with your
significant other surrounded by pump-up
prostheses as the good doctor and his handy
laser pointer zaps at a poster-sized blowup
cross section of a man’s goody bag ---
I defy you to refrain from laughter.
What the pre-op big-V patient soon finds is NOT
a laughing matter, however, is the tricky
prospect of shaving one’s "area." I locked
myself in the bathroom, the distant yipping
and yelping of my progeny playing some version
of man’s-inhumanity-to-man while the TV blared
downstairs serving as bleak testimony favoring
my go-ahead with the grisly procedure.
Choosing one’s weapon is half the battle.
After a terrorizing and buck-nekkid agony,
a strategy emerged--- scissors, to be followed
by the razor. But which razor? Certainly not
the double-track thingie I used every day to
wreck my geek-neck. The only electric device
around was some purply-pink ladybug shaver.
Who would know?
If it was made "for a lady’s curves," then
certainly it would not fail me --- surely
its forgiving blade would not preempt the
doctor’s surgical strike.
Who would know?
I sweat, and shook, and closing my eyes,
I pointed the shaver south, and fired
up the buzzing lavender ladybug.
What happened next is far too excruciating
for words, my voyeuristic little friends.
But when the smoke cleared and consciousness
slowly returned, I was shorn as a bleating
sheep and ready for re-routing.
The waiting room was as close to one of
Dante’s circles of hell as you get. Littered
with frazzed-out dads, we paced, we wrung
our hands and pretended to read years-old
copies of funky tabloids. We wanted to smoke.
We wanted to crawl out of our freshly
shaven skins. Simply put, we wanted out
and we wanted out NOW. As the door to the
inner office opened all eyes turned on each
departing victim in succession. They’d crack
a craggy half-a-grin, carefully shuffle on
over to an upholstered waiting room chair,
and in slo-mo, lower their devastated bottom
ends to gingerly alight on the cushion.
"I’ll call your wife to pick you up now,"
chirps the zit-bedeviled receptionist, who I guessed had
some good ones to tell at Tupperware parties,
"now you stay in that chair until she
gets here, OK?"
"Mmmm," the zombified victim would mmmm,
and then it was me.
The chief concern when you put it "all in
the doctor’s hands" is that your soldier
may errantly stand up and salute during all
the necessary manipulation, sending your
physician a friendly, yet entirely wrong message.
And really, what clever repartee can you
muster as you are being slathered with iodine
and the blessed barbiturate injection
begins to beckon you dreamily away?
I mumble some half-baked small talk,
like "...so doc, how’d you get into this
end of the business?"
"Long, long story," he blurts absently
through his Ben Turpin-vintage mustache
facing vasectomy number two of five before lunch.
He came at me with a monstrous needlefull
of Novocain, and with the requisite courage
of dads everywhere, I clenched my jaw shut,
breathed in all the available air in the room
in a jerking, nasal gulp and blinked out.
In the end there was no spaghetti for me.
I had none of the macho horror stories my
counterparts espoused. My wife, who could
not find me in the waiting room chair where
I'd been duly planted after the fifteen
minute snip job, found me blissfully strolling
down a busy street adjacent to the hospital
in the jolly remnants of a pharmaceutical haze.
Days of aspirin, ice, Munster re-runs
(great fun teaching the kids the
artistic genius of grandpa Al Lewis and
to accept Pat Priest as the only true Marilyn...
but that's another "dads"), tea and sympathy
and it was time for the acid test --- you
know, the one where you get to fire off your
own cannon in search of stray ammunition.
My wife offered a magazine and a chortling
hyena guffaw as I locked the door behind me
and she ran interference with the kids
(the one where Herman thinks Eddie's getting
a new little brother was on, I think).
On that final, lonesome drive to the
wiener doctor, I thought about everything
that had transpired in my lap, and in my life.
Ah, the wild years. All of that self-delusional
stuff in college. A bizarre and accidental
career in television. Real love and
realer marriage. The Lon Chaney Jr.-like
transformation to the rarefied realm of the dads.
My little geebers were a-gettin' on in years,
and now there would be no more of 'em--- none
without elective micro-surgery that was even more
dreadful, I had learned.
I was about to well up and go all ferklempt
right there on the highway when I remembered
what the good doctor had instructed --- put
the "sample" in a film canister and stick
it in your armpit on the way over to the
clinic to keep it warm so any strays jumping
the new chasm in my tubules could be detected.
I looked in horror at the speedometer and
slammed down the brake pedal to bring the
family rustwagon under the speed limit,
hoping beyond hope that I wasn't being
tailed by a smokey who would surely
wonder what the stuff was in the vial
secreted away in my pit.
I guessed I'd say with a melancholy sigh,
"nothing at all, now."
Special thanks for the bandwidth to the fine folks @ multiverse.com
You never talk to your old dad!