There’s a scene in the movie “Jaws” where the Mayor of Amity Island explains how yelling the word “BARRACUDA” won’t get much reaction on a crowded beach. “But if you yell ‘SHARK’ you’ll have a panic on your hands…”
Keeping that in mind, you’ll have some idea of the reaction you get from most men if you change “shark” to “vasectomy.”
This was the first word out of my radio this morning, and yes, it caught my attention immediately. I had mine 10 years ago after weeks of campaigning from my ex-wife, who had a degree in social work. Because of this, she was trained on how to approach sensitive subject matter. That’s why I was allowed to discover, with no pressure from her whatsoever, that my new place mat at the dinner table was actually a medical brochure titled:
So, You Want To Have a Vasectomy?
True, we had talked about this subject before. Twice, actually; during the birth of each of our two children. I don’t remember the exact conversations. But, on both occasions, I do recall the doctor informing her that, despite her many requests, our child’s umbilical cord would be the only thing getting snipping that day. The topic also came up when we had our dog neutered. Again, because of my ex-wife’s education and training, she avoided pressuring me and took a more subtle approach by calling our dog “Ned” for a week.
After breakfast one morning, during which I watched her repeatedly crack two eggs together and then scrambled them — one pair at a time — in a flaming skillet, it became clear that the subject of a vasectomy needed to be addressed. So, after breakfast, we sat down together and discussed the issue like adults.
We went over the information carefully.
We educated ourselves on the mechanics of the procedure.
We weighed the pros and cons.
Then, together, we joined hands and pried my knees apart so I could drive to work.
To help ease my fears, she suggested I talk to other men who have had the procedure done.
This makes perfect sense.
If you’re a woman.
That’s because women are educated about their bodies while men, according to a recent study conducted by the American Medical Association, are “complete morons concerning their anatomy.” Keep in mind that some have argued the study was inconclusive since researchers openly admitted their interviews “were continually being interrupted by laughter and fart sounds.”
This isn’t to say getting a man to discuss the details of his vasectomy is difficult. What’s difficult is getting him to explain it in a way that doesn’t scare the pants off of you — which, of course, is his main objective. This tradition has been passed down through the years as an “unofficial” initiation rite in this “unofficial” club to which, officially speaking, no one really wants to be a member. In terms of membership enthusiasm, I’m guessing it runs neck-and-neck with The Hair Club for Men.
On the other hand, there are plenty of valid reasons to have this procedure done, each of which should be listed on a sheet of paper. Bring this list with you on the day of your surgery. That way, when you see the surgical knives and forget who you are, you’ll at least have a way of remembering why you are there.
And if you happen to forget your list, don’t worry; chances are your wife can recite it for you.
In the form of a rap song if necessary.
The day of my vasectomy, I just kept telling myself that thousands of these procedures are performed every day. In the rare instance that something goes wrong, such as the loss of my manhood, the odds of my survival were very high. Certainly higher than if I tried escaping the doctor’s office without getting the procedure done.
So, to all of you men who are considering visiting Dr. Snippit some time soon, I raise my glass to you.
On the rocks, of course.
(This column first appeared in March 2013 as a feature for News Media Corporation. It is also included in Ned’s first book, Humor at the Speed of Life, available in print and eBook from Port Hole Publishing, Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble)
You can write to Ned Hickson at email@example.com, or at Siuslaw News at P.O. Box 10, Florence, OR. 97439