Here's a warning to all you young noders out there, especially young male noders. Beware of promises made for the future.

When it comes time to fulfill them -- and that time will come -- do not shirk it. Follow through with aplomb and nonchalance even if your duty causes you pain, discomfort and ridicule.

When Vix and I were young newlyweds planning our future, among the items discussed were children. We figured two -- one to replace each of us. Responsibility without being weenies.

"And once we're done," I said gallantly, "I'll get fixed."

Vix aimed her turret guns of skepticism straight at me. I shouldn't have expected any swooniness at my gesture. "Hell," she said. "It's the least you could do."

Years went by. Children were born. We had an ongoing debate about having a third until age squeezed it out of the picture. Plus, I reminded her, a deal's a deal.

Of course, this agreement did not preclude sex. That we like.

Then we had a reality check.

"I'm late," she said.

"How late?"

"Way late."

My higher logical self kicked in at this point. "You're forty. You can't be late. Besides, I set my watch by your periods and" -- pointing to my watch -- "I'm exactly on time!!"

"Don't be an ass," she said. "I'm late."

I felt like someone had hit me in the gut with a shovel.

"I'll see how it goes this week," she said.

See how it goes this week?!? What -- do you women have dials and meters you check in the middle of the night or something?

I slept lightly, if at all, for the next week. Nine days went by. Not a hint of a whisper of a visit from Auntie Flo.

The Sunday before my birthday she called me in to our bedroom, which usually is a bad sign if it's the middle of the afternoon and everyone is home.

"Look," she said.

She held out a completed pregnancy test. I looked at it with all the understanding I would give a Celtic rune.

"What's it say?" Full moon-meters-and-dials time again.

"Read it."

I blinked and looked again. The rune morphed in to a comprehensible shape. Not pregnant. That girl has a great poker face.

We hugged and kissed. Before we left the room she said, "You better get that operation. Remember? A deal's a deal."

Oh. Right. The next day, however, I was really happy to see tampon wrappers in the bathroom trash.

So a week later I was in the urologist's office, Vix snickering in a corner chair, as the good doctor felt around my balls. We signed the permission papers, made the appointment, and I was told where to shave. Yes -- the vasectomy was on the way.

Until about a week before the surgery I was in pretty good shape. Then, doctor's orders, I had to stop taking the anti-inflamatories I had been taking for my foot. Rusty screwdrivers of grouchiness limped alongside me.

Late Thursday night, I remembered I had to, ahem, uh... shave. Armed with a soothing gel shave creme, extremely forgiving yet precise scissors, quintuply-arrayed titanium razors secured in a Kevlar housing and avalyn's godsend writeup -- as well as encouraging messages from him (thanks heaps, dude) -- I stepped in to the shower.

Vix was in bed reading a book, and I chatted with her off and on from the echo chamber of the shower. She must have been engrossed in the book because after a long break in the conversation she asked, "Just what are you doing in there?"

"You know about tomorrow?"


"Well, I'm.... shaving."


So much for that surprise clean and shiny look for our anniversary.

After admiring my handiwork and making sure I was thoroughly rinsed, I slid in to bed and snuggled up to my honey. "Keep Baldy away from me until he's shooting blanks." I rolled over and hummed Taps for my vas deferens.

The next morning I wasn't too nervous and went to work early. Hint: If you work a normal Monday-through-Friday job late Friday afternoons are the best time for a vasectomy. Trust me.

About lunchtime, however, the fact that someone would be punching holes in my nutsack began to make me a little lightheaded. Luckily, I brought a friend along -- the doc had given me a nice fat Valium to, in his words, "relieve any anxiety." About an hour before the visit, I popped that baby and left the office.

Maybe it was wishful thinking or the fact that I downed it on an empty stomach, but 20 minutes later I felt relaxed and giggly as I drove to my house to pick up Vix. Because it was her cherished day off, I think this struck her more of an imposition than anything. "Is there anything special you need to bring to this thing?" she said.

I wedged my fat ass in to a tight pair of jockeys, which I also found somewhat amusing. I snapped the elastic. "Nope. Got everything."

Vix was already in the passenger seat and fiddling with the radio when I left the house. I thought, She looks so comfortable and happy sitting there. I'll let her be. I'll drive. It'll be fun.

She chatted the whole way with me grinning and nodding and speaking when I had a clear shot. Otherwise, with just two blocks until the doctor's office, the drive was uneventful.

"Hey," she said. "Weren't you supposed to take that Valium?"

"I already took it."

"You WHAT?!"

"About, oh ... forty-five minutes ago."

"And you're DRIVING?! Pull over."

"We're almost there. I'm fine."

Unfortunately, I picked that moment to nearly T-bone a car as I made a nifty right turn in to what I thought was the surgery center parking lot. I would be lying if I said there wasn't any Screaming and Loud Swearing. Since I have had ample experience in both U- and three-point turns under many different scenarios, I nimbly recovered and we arrived unharmed at the patient drop-off.

"Get out," she said. "I'll park the car."

I signed in, and we waited briefly before they called me in. "Mr. Lovejoy?"

Here goes.

"I don't have to go back there with him, do I?" my sweetie-pie said with fume of disgust.

"Not if you don't want to," the nurse said.

"Thanks -- I'll just stay here."

Once in the surgical room, the nurse took my blood pressure. "How is it?" I asked.

"Hmm. A little high."

No shit.

The nurse had me remove strip from the waist down. More for comfort than for modesty, I kept my socks on. He asked me to sit on the table, but I balked when I saw this shiny slab of steel with wires leading from it on top of the crisp white paper. It looked like a cleaver.

"You gonna move that?"

"No, sir. You have to sit on it."


"It's for the cauterizing tool."

My brain did a gasping flop. "So my ass is the ground for the whole operation?"

"Uh, sorta ... yeah."

Man, was that thing cold.

I was prepped and covered with paper towels and a sheet, the equipment helplessly perched on top of it all like a bunch of grapes on a dry cheesecake. From the corner of my eye I saw him fill a syringe the size of a .12-gauge shotgun. He walked around to my right side. "This might hurt a bit," he said.

Yow! He got a prize for understatement of the year. The pain was like a searing icepick through the top of my head, and I'm talking about the one on my shoulders.

The doctor came in next, and after a few pleasantries, he went right to work. He let me know whenever anything was going to pinch or stick or burn. I only became really concerned when I heard the sharp sparking sound of welding. That, I learned with a breeze of relief, was the southbound lanes getting closed off for good.

Actually, whatever the nurse shot in to me did the trick. Aside from some tugging (which I tried not to think about) and a stick or two, I felt nothing.

"OK," he said. "All done."

That's it?

He and the nurse helped me sit up. I was a little woozy but put on my bottoms without any comedy. The doctor reiterated the post-op instructions I had already memorized:

  • Bed rest for at least 24 hours, if not the entire weekend.
  • Tylenol only for pain.
  • Ice packs for swelling, 30 minutes on, 30 minutes off.
  • Little or no activity for the next week, sexual or any other.

We shook hands, and he left. The nurse followed him and quickly returned with a bag of ice for the trip home. At that point I had no choice but to check the damage. It looked rather forlorn and bewildered, momentarily protected by pillows of gauze.

"Now remember," the nurse said, "You still have to use birth control, you won't be sterile for a while."

Right. If Vix was naked in the parking lot, slathered in olive oil and peaking on some primal rutting high, I don't think I could have cooked up any interest. Well, looked twice maybe and asked for a rain check, but nothing more. Honest.

As it was, I gingerly placed the ice pack on the poor guys, zipped up my jeans and headed groggily for the exit. On the way to the car, I lifted my shirt so Vix could see the bulge. "Pretty impressive, huh?"

She rolled her eyes. "Get in the car, you freak."

I spent the weekend in bed, time measured by Ice Pack On/Ice Pack Off and the allowable intervals for Tylenol. For the rest of Friday and all of Saturday, sleep came often and hard, and it stayed for a long time. Most of the reading I had stacked up was completed. Surrounded by books, magazines and notepads, pens and pencils (my kingdom for a laptop!!), I sketched out a web site. Sunday I finally got out of bed just to make sure my family remembered me.

Late Sunday I began to offend even myself so I took a shower. The phrase "Don't look down", I realized, can be used in situations other than ones dealing with heights. Oh, me. The bruising had set in with a vengence, and it looked like I was sporting a gourmet baby eggplant.

The following week I did nothing more strenuous than make a pot of coffee. I kept on the Tylenol and used ice until Wednesday. Friday I drove back to the doctor's office for my follow up appointment.

The doctor asked me how I felt and poked around Manland. He advised me to take it easy for another week, but otherwise I had a clean bill of health. If there were any questions or concerns, he said to feel free to give him a call, and I told him I would.

A different nurse then brought me two specimen jars in to which I had squirt semen. He had to stifle a girlish giggle each time he said any form of the word masturbate or ejaculate.

"Now the samples must be from masurbatory ejaculations," he said.

"No problem," I said. "I'll fill it to the brim."

"And we need two samples a month apart. If the last one is clear, you no longer need to use birth control."

"Clear as in no swimmers?"

"Yes. That should take about twenty ejaculations."

"No sweat." Hell, I knew that already. I only had 18 left.

"Well, how'd everything go?" Vix said when I called her later on from work.

"Pretty good," I said. "It's all cool." Aplomb. Nonchalance. "You'll never be late again."