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Confessions Of An Almost Sterile Man


Recently I noticed an article in the archives of the Federalist that caught my eye. Whilst my intellect is always tickled by the disquisitions of Federalist authors, the title of this particular article grabbed me because of the conspicuous mention of the word, “balls.” Yes, those kind of balls. The family jewels, the seat of the loins, the appendage of which Lance Armstrong has only one.

In the piece, Mr. Cromwell astutely presents his position as follows: I will not allow anyone, not even the most highly trained medical professional, to approach my nether regions with a sharp instrument with intent to cut. Whatever result, however positive, is not worth the cost. As Mr. Cromwell pointed out, America’s leading public intellectual, Dave Barry, noted the following, “If you’re a man considering this step, you need to reflect upon the fact that they are going to cut a hole in your scrotum.”

Now this is a compelling narrative because polling demonstrates that easily 47 percent or more of men would not voluntarily have their scrotums cut on for absolutely no reason at all. Nevertheless, contra Mr. Cromwell, my contention is that there are reasons to consider having this procedure done.

First, I am more desperate. Mr. Cromwell considered the procedure after his second child. Two children are a lot of work and my hat is off to all parents who do this difficult but invaluable work, including Mr. and Mrs. Cromwell. However, my fourth child will arrive this summer and upon finding out about his existence last fall, my wife and I had to have some serious conversations:

Wife: I can’t believe we’re pregnant again.

John: I know, isn’t it great?

Wife: How are we going to do this? We don’t have the room or the money for another one.

John: So when do you think we should have number 5?

Wife: You’re not really listening to my concerns.

John: You’re right, I’m pretty sure we’ve already seen this episode of Walking Dead.

Second, and on a very slightly more serious note, we have some health considerations that would strongly discourage us from having another child after this one and so we knew we were going to have to talk about certain procedures. Not just your everyday methods, but permanent procedures. There are obviously options for both the man and the woman. Being the natural researcher that I am, I checked into the differences between a vasectomy for the man and a tubal ligation for the woman. What I found out displeased me. A tubal ligation requires general anesthesia instead of local, much longer recovery time, is much more expensive, and somewhat more invasive. A vasectomy requires only local anesthesia, a very short recovery time, is much cheaper, and is somewhat less invasive.

So after completely disregarding this evidence and hiding it from my wife, we decided to settle the debate over who gets surgery with a best of three game of rock, paper, scissors. I got obliterated in Mondale-esque fashion, getting swept in the first two games. (Though I should add that I lost with Romney-esque humility and class.)

I finally accepted the truth that the vasectomy route made the most sense for us and so put an action plan in place to call the doctor’s office in the next 9-12 months to schedule the procedure for sometime in the following 24-36 months after that. Of course, that first appointment would just be the consult. The actual surgery might not need to happen until sometime much later. They encourage you to schedule it around a sporting event so that you can rest up and kick back in front of the television. The 2022 World Cup in Qatar looks to be full of excitement and I look forward to recuperating from my surgery while watching.

This brings me to the crux of the matter. Mr. Cromwell said that he could not bring himself to pick up the phone, make the call, and set up the appointment. The fear of the actual appointment and surgery aside, the real fear is found in the call. How does one bring oneself to willingly schedule such a bloody and emasculating cutting of flesh?

How did I do it? I plumbed the depths of my faith, channeling the courageous words of the Apostle Paul on Mars Hill in the Book of Acts. I imagined standing before the council at Worms, as my Protestant forefather Martin Luther did when he could not recant his convictions about Holy Scripture. I stood over the pit of the all-powerful Sarlaac just as young Skywalker had done, knowing that the force was strong with this one.

And then? My wife called for me. I did not even realize that she had done it until she casually notified me one evening. I had an appointment and that was that. She had arranged for the sharks with laser beams on their heads, and all I had to do was walk the plank.

As I anticipate that which I must do for sake of family, finances, and sanity, I know that it is a far, far better thing that I do than I have ever done. Unlike Mr. Cromwell, I think I could get used to rubbing my eyes in the morning.

John lives in St. Louis, writes in his free time, and has almost four children. Follow him on Twitter.