The Unkindest Cut of All

    Having children is a wonderful thing, especially if you’re a man. 

    All we have to do is get the ball rolling, so to speak (a euphemism if there ever was one), sometimes more than once if we’re lucky.  Then, following a few weeks of pensive waiting (during which we get to keep the ball rolling-if you know what I mean), our wife/girlfriend/woman we met in a bar looks lovingly into our eyes (hopefully, not during the ballgame). 

    In a soft, trembling voice suffused with tender devotion, she whispers, “We’re going to have a baby.”

    Then, she goes to throw up in the toilet.

    The next nine months, 30 weeks, baseball season (whatever) then becomes a non-stop rollercoaster ride.  Mixed with equal parts of emotion and curiosity over whether she’ll eventually explode like one of those critters on “Alien,” we eventually arrive at the magic time for our baby’s entry into the world of songbirds, sunshine, and Joe Biden.

    Hopefully, in preparation for an induced labor (so a perfectly good weekend isn’t messed up), the woman settles in for the blessed event.  Followed by several hours of screaming bloody murder at the evildoer who did this to her.

    Just so you don’t think we men have it rough, don’t forget:  while you’re trying to force a bowling ball through a garden hose (I know that’s not original!), we’re struggling just as strenuously.  You think it’s easy to watch television with all that racket going on?

    Soon enough, we’re given a gift from God (although the deity wasn’t in the room).  Mother and father tenderly hold their precious bundle, bathed in the warmth which comes from the knowledge that they are a solid family unit.

    Only later that night does Dad mark on the calendar when he can start the ball rolling again.

    Luckily for me, my wife presented me with two beautiful children (beautiful because they don’t look like me).  I have a son who is the model of the man I wish I was and a daughter who is everything I wasn’t in high school: popular.

     NOTE:  Mind you, this was a couple decades ago.  Nothing has changed.  Except we’ve all gotten older.  Looks much better on them.

    With that in mind, we both decided not to press our luck.  Odds were that a third child would look like me, act like me, and use my jokes.

    That, along with a state law that forbade me from further reproduction, compelled us to seek methods of permanent sterilization.

    We first considered having my wife’s tubes tied.  But, since that conjured up a vision of a rodeo where a chaps-wearing doctor would wrassle my wife to the operating table, we didn’t want to try that.

    I also considered radiation to fry my “boys.”  But, since taping a cell phone to my crotch was impractical and sticking my junk in front of the microwave delayed dinner, we decided on a vasectomy.

    Since this decision was made while I was still in the Navy, there was no worry about how we were going to be able to pull this off (an unfortunate phrase, that).  The local Navy hospital was more than capable of performing the procedure (NOTE: No way was I going to have this done on a ship.  A MOVING ship.).

    So, after talking a couple of the guys into joining me (the hospital was having a special.  Bring a friend and get 10% off a car wash), I decided to close the “Be Fruitful and Multiply” store.

    The three of us were ushered into what looked like a MASH operating room.  After a couple of questions, like “Have you eaten in the past 12 hours?”, “Are you sure you want to do this?”, “Have you shaved this morning?” (ever the wise guy, I stuck out my chin and asked, “Sure, but what does that have to do with it?”), we were instructed to disrobe from the waist down and cover ourselves with a white sheet.

    Frankly, I wanted to go all nude, but my friends chickened out.  I think they were jealous.

    Anyway, the three of us laid (or is that ‘lied’? I can NEVER get that straight) down on the table, sheets draped across our laps, our “privates” (wait a minute, we were in the Navy-we didn’t have “privates.”  Okay, “seamen.”  There, that’s better.”  Oh.  Wait.) poking through holes. 

     I swear, we looked like a row of ghosts wearing Jimmy Durante masks.

    Assisted by a dour-looking corpsman, the doctor (whose mustache drooped so low he was able to suck on it.  Ewwww, so much for hygiene) stood in front of us.  He reassured us that the procedure would be painless.  Especially, he laughed, for him.

    Yeah, I know.  Laugh, clown, laugh.

    There would be, he cautioned, a small “stick and a kick.”

    Starting with me, he injected my laddies (the “stick”) to numb them.  This was immediately followed by a substantial “kick.”  Visions of playground bullies at Saint Stanislaus immediately swam into focus as I struggled to breathe.  Before I had the chance to lie that I was okay, though, the parts surrounding my fun factory lost all feeling.  I gave mustache-sucker a thumbs up. 

    So, it went with the rest of us.  In no time, the genital assembly line (thanks, Henry Ford!) was closing up shop.  Gingerly putting our trousers back on, we cracked jokes about unloaded guns and laughed about whether we should show our scars at the next family reunion.

    Still, we were happy that we were finally taken off the playing field, in a matter of speaking.  Instead of being put out to stud, we knew that the limited editions of “us” were finally at an end. 

    As we got our parking validated and received our car wash vouchers, we took comfort that our lives would be spared from future unplanned, unforeseen “Uh-ohs.”

    Even more, we were thrilled that we would be able to “get the ball rolling” in only a couple weeks.

    Unless the ballgame was on.

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