- Ward Cleaver's Prozac Fever

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

that matter.

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 " 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."

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©2003 Arhythmiacs

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