How I love thee, frozen peas

Frozen peas

Dear Frozen Peas,

Thank you. Thank you for giving me a haven in which to nestle my traumatized scrotum. Your soothing, pain-relieving, inflammation-reducing frigidity is a gift indeed.

Even as I write this, you are bravely toughing it out in the pouch of my jock strap, which is holding you firmly against my aforementioned traumatized scrotum. To find yourself in such a dark and alien environment must come as quite a surprise, as you no doubt had assumed since the moment the farmer plucked your pod from the vine that you would ultimately be served up hot and steaming — perhaps with a pat of butter, even.

But, no, yours turned out to be a higher calling.

It was the promise of your frozen goodness, in part, that helped me endure yesterday’s puncturing of the scrotum, and subsequent snipping, suturing and cauterizing of both the left and right vas deferens, through which no sperm shall ever again pass.

Yes, the Novocain played a more immediate role in those moments during which I lay prone on the table beneath the harsh fluorescent lighting while the doctor handled my goods in a most invasive and unwelcome fashion — but Novocain wears off in short order … while you, my frozen friends, you never falter. Though the warmth of my genitals may sap you of your power, a short stay in the freezer restores you to your original glory, and a bag of your frozen brethren is always at the ready when you need to tag out for a break.

I suppose you are owed an explanation for the circumstance in which you now find yourselves.

The explanation is twofold, with the first reason — the most important and significant reason — being that it would be good neither for myself, nor my family, nor The Universe in general for me to father another child. I have been graced with two extraordinary children — one son and one daughter, no less — whom I love and cherish more than I ever thought it possible to love and cherish something. The loving-and-cherishing is the easy part, however; it is the caring-for that is the real kicker, and I am quite certain that my ability to care for a third child is, well, nonexistent. I’m tapped out.

Occasionally, during those (frequent) moments when my son and daughter have my wife and I stretched to the breaking point, I envision an additional child thrown into the mix, and that vision is one that can best be described as “horrifically untenable.” Against the backdrop of raising a third child for the next couple of decades, the alternative of subjecting myself to a 30-minute session of genital mutilation actually seemed quite desirable.

Of course, a by-product of this precautionary sterilization logically leads to the second reason — or incentive, if you will — for getting a vasectomy: unprotected sex.

I believe in condoms, strongly support their use, think that they should be distributed far and wide, and know that they are critical in helping to curb the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. (Thanks to my late grandfather, I also am aware that they can serve many other useful purposes, to include keeping rain out of the barrel of one’s machine gun when one finds oneself fighting on the South Pacific island of Iwo Jima during World War II, and for keeping one’s wallet dry when, while on shore leave, one thinks that it would be best to hide one’s wallet for safekeeping in the tank of the commode in one’s hotel room.)

Having said all of that, I will share with you a secret, frozen peas: I hate rubbers.

This is not to say that, were I single, I would have unprotected sex; I wouldn’t (though, if my bachelor years are any indication, that would have more to do with the lack of a partner than with choosing to use a condom). It is to say, however, that I think that one benefit of being in a monogamous relationship that I fully expect will endure from now until the end of my life is the luxury of having fearlessly unprotected sex. The only thing stopping me to date has been reason No. 1 described above.

With reason No. 1 now surgically removed from the equation … well, if and when my wife and I ever find the time and energy to have a romantic interlude, it shall be latex-free.

And it is you, frozen peas, that have been significant contributors to this cause. Without you, my scrotum would be swollen and sore. Without you, the razor burn created on my scrotum when the doctor shaved it would be far more uncomfortable than it already is. Without you … well, I don’t even want to think what my world would be like right now without you.

Thank you, frozen peas.


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Posted in Life, Marriage, Parenthood | 22 Responses

Safety 1st my ass

Safety 1st Tubside Bath Seat

I am Daddy. Not only am I Daddy, but I am also Daddy the Ex-Military Police K-9 Handler, as well as The Person Who Is Smarter Than Everyone Else In the Room—two traits that inherently mean I can take care of “It,” whatever “It” might be.

I have been able to cloak myself in this delusion for years, and it has allowed me to chuckle and look with pity and scorn upon those among you who occasionally have found yourselves in laughably ridiculous situations from which you have had to be delivered by others who are apparently smarter and more levelheaded than you.

Well, even Superman has an Achilles Heel.… [read the rest]

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Posted in Buffoonery, Jayna, Parenthood | 16 Responses

Van Halen (or, The Band That Ate My Life)

Me & Ed, '93

OK, so I’ve been off the radar for a while because I was building a website dedicated to the goings on in the dysfunctional world of Van Halen.

The sane among you are most likely wondering, “Why the hell would someone spend so much time and energy building a website about Van Halen?” Fair enough. Allow me to explain.… [read the rest]

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Posted in Music, Van Halen | 18 Responses

Subject: Sarah’s gone

Last fall, my friend Dave called me from his car and asked if I could give him directions to the hospital. He was headed there to meet his wife, Sarah, who had gone there to find out why her stomach hurt. We joked a bit, and then hung up. I assumed it wouldn’t be anything serious.

I was wrong.

The diagnosis was cancer. Doctors removed the tumor, but it had spread, so chemotherapy treatment was necessary.

In the weeks and months that followed, Dave sent to a group of his friends and family regular email updates about Sarah’s condition. She was in and out of the hospital a number of times. Through it all, Dave managed her care while working full-time and looking after their 2-year-old son.

Often, the tone of Dave’s emails was positive … and, when it wasn’t, my mind would reflexively put things in the context of “This is an unfortunate challenge that they’ll overcome.”

Dave sent us more than 70 email updates during the past five months, most of them characterized by his uncanny wit and wry sense of humor, which remained intact despite the enormity of what he, Sarah and their son were going through.

Last Thursday, another email update arrived. The subject line appears in the title of this post. It is the worst email I have ever received.

The wake was last night. Pictures of Sarah were on display throughout the funeral home, a number of which were from her and Dave’s wedding, an event that took place just four years ago last November. The receiving line at the wedding was the first time I met Sarah’s parents. The receiving line at the funeral home was the second. That should never happen.

Until now, almost all of the deaths I’ve had to deal with personally have been those of grandparents, both mine and my wife’s. Until now, they had been the saddest occasions of my life. Next to this, they seem happy. They were celebrations of lives well lived.

Dave and Sarah loved each other completely. They were at the beginning of their life together, and had only just recently brought another new life into the world. Since their wedding, they weren’t just “Dave” or “Sarah” to me; they were “Dave and Sarah.”

Seeing Dave standing alone at the wake last night and the funeral today, with that whole other half of himself missing, was gut-wrenching.

I have never hurt for someone the way I hurt for Dave right now. My heart is broken for him, and for his son.

Many people find comfort in their religion at times like this, and accept that this is part of “God’s master plan.” I am not one of those people.

I believe there are forces larger than us, that there are mysteries we don’t yet understand, but I do not believe in one omniscient, omnipotent being in the sky whose hand guides everything in our world. If such a being does exist—well, right now, I’m only interested in kicking its ass.

You cannot convince me that a wonderful, vivacious, loving, 37-year-old wife and mother got sick and died because it was “God’s will.”

My friend had to bury his wife today. His son doesn’t have a mother. That is just fucked up, cruel and wrong.

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World Series on ice

Apolo Anton Ohno

Prior to this weekend, only twice in my life had I been truly euphoric about the outcome of a sporting event. The first time was when the Red Sox came back from an 0-3 deficit to beat the New York Yankees in the 2004 ALCS—also known as, literally, “The Greatest Comeback in Baseball History.” The second was the team’s World Series victory just days later.

A large part of what made those victories mean so much to me was living through the team’s crushing Game 7 defeat in the 2003 ALCS. As you may recall, the Sox were five outs away from going to the World Series when, suddenly, Lucifer (disguised as then-Red Sox manager Grady Little) failed to sit Pedro Martinez in the 8th inning, despite the fact that Martinez’s pitching arm had already fallen off of his body and lay wilting in the dirt atop the mound at Yankee Stadium. Bye-bye, three-run lead; hello, Aaron Boone’s walk-off homerun, and sweetjesushchristinachickenbasket, thank god they won it all in 2004, or I’d need to chug a bottle of Pepto Bismol to stave off the massive ulcer that typing this paragraph would otherwise induce.

During the 2002 Winter Olympics, I experienced a mini-2003 ALCS-like heartbreak when I watched as short-track skater Apolo Anton Ohno, just a few meters away from crossing the finish line in first place during the men’s 1000m final, got wiped out in a four-skater crash. The look on his face as he went down—and, in that instant, so clearly realized that the gold medal had just been snatched from his grasp—was one of such shock and horror that it haunts me to this day.

I’ve always been an Olympics junkie. Summer, winter, whatever—I’m there. Not until seeing Ohno race, hearing him speak and learning of the determination and intensity with which he trains, however, had I been a bona-fide “fan” of an Olympic athlete … OK, well, at least not since that crazy crush I had on Mary Lou Retton when I was 14.

When Ohno blasted across the finish line in first place during the 500m final of the men’s short-track competition in Torino, Italy, on Saturday night, his victory became the No. 3 entry on “Jon’s List of Favorite Sports Moments.”

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Posted in Inspiration, Red Sox | 1 Response