(ATTENTION, MEN WHO HAVE NOT YET HAD THEIR VASECTOMIES AND THEIR WIVES. PLEASE HAVE THE UNFIXED HUSBAND READ THIS POST ALOUD TO THE WIFE, BEGINNING WITH THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPH.)
We begin the New Year with such high expectations. Months ago I began this series, documenting these small acts of intellectual and physical curiosity, things I wanted to have under my belt by the time I hit 41. One thing I didn't want to have under my belt: viable sperm. And so I scheduled a vasectomy, to be performed in the early days of January 2010.
Look, I love both of my kids. Being a dad has been and will continue to be great. I have no regrets. But I don't want any more children. Neither does Beth. In fact, the idea of another baby makes us literally shriek in horror. (I'm not kidding. Ok, maybe I'm kidding a little. But when asked, "are you planning on having any more kids?", my answer is usually the same: "FUCK no." Unless it's my parents, in which case I say, "HELL no", because even at 40 something prevents me from dropping the F-bomb in front of my folks.) When your kids reach certain levels of independence, you get pieces of your old lives back. You're not tethered to the bottle. You sleep through the night and into the morning. You go out to dinner. You see movies in the theater. You get to travel. You're happy in different ways, and here's the thing: your kids get it. It's a primal, selfish thing - they know that They're It, they're special, there will be no one else to vie for Mom and Dad's attention. Everybody wins.
The procedure was simple, and mostly painless. You get a local, which is DoctorSpeak for "they stick a needle in your sack and numb it, and yes, it stings, because it's a needle, and it goes into your sack". The doc makes a little hole - mine used the No-Incision Method, which was invented by a Chinese doctor, and involves a special tool that makes a little hole and spreads open your skin. He then snips the vas deferens - the tubes that transport your little Baby Troopers - and asks you if you want to see the pieces. Of course you do, because cool! Chopped pieces of your junk! He then puts gauze on you, tells you to stay off your feet for the rest of the day, wear your jock strap for the rest of the week, and don't do anything strenuous. There might be some pain, so he writes you a prescription for some painkillers. And you're on way home, accompanied by your sympathetic and eternally grateful wife, looking forward to lots of fun and anxiety-free unprotected sex.
Now, to the Soapbox. I'd heard the horror stories from friends - weeks of feeling like you've been kicked in the balls, bleeding everywhere, your berries swelling to the size of pumelos - and I was worried. But here's the thing: it ain't that bad. I took a Vicodin the first night, and the occasional Tylenol since. I was walking around pain-free the following day; yes, there was some discomfort, but nothing like the leg-bowing agony I'd been told about. It's been more annoying that anything else: the day before I got snipped, I went surfing, had a great time, and am now irritated that I'm stuck on dry land for a few more days until I'm fully healed. There will be a few among you who may have had a different experience, and you have my sympathies. But for the rest of you - we are men of action, and lies do not become us. So, when it comes time for you Unsnipped to face that urologist, ask yourself this: Are we not men? Have we not slain the enslaving Persian hordes, stormed the beaches of Normandy, conquered Everest, and walked on the Moon? When I lie on the couch and whine about a mostly-imagined pain for the sheer sake of having my wife bring me a piece of pizza from a fridge scant feet away, do I not stain the memory of my fellow men who have fought and died to preserve and promote human freedom and dignity? In every man's life, he will face moments when he needs to - pardon the pun - nut up or shut up. The vasectomy is a defining moment. And as golf legend Roy McAvoy once said, when a defining moment comes along, you define the moment, or the moment defines you. Be a man during your recovery - your wife married you because she assumed you are one.
(UNFIXED MEN: PLEASE STOP READING ALOUD. THE NEXT PARAGRAPH IS FOR YOUR EYES ONLY, AS IT CONTAINS VALUABLE INFORMATION THAT WILL ASSIST YOU IN YOUR POST-SURGERY RECOVERY)
(Unsnipped men: rest assured that I'm not a heartless bastard, and that there is method in my brow-beating madness. Huddle up. Now - you're supposed to, ah, clean the ol' pipes a few times once you're fully recovered. You'll be much more likely to have assistance from the wife, and not a Larry Flynt publication, if you heed the above advice. Trust me. You're welcome.)