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So you're having a vasectomy.

We each have our reasons for sterilization. In my case it became life-threatening for my darling to become pregnant. Our choices were cessation of sexual relations at the ripe age of 31, risk the Russian Roulette in the small percentages of standard birth control, or one of us biting the bullet and taking the knife.

Sterilizing a female requires invasive abdominal surgery. The stuff to cut is inside. This means pain and recovery time.

Sterilizing a male is minor surgery. The stuff to cut is hanging from the abdomen. Less pain, shorter recovery time.

I have had this done. I will tell you what happens.

When my third child was born via C-section, the ob-gyn, a slight Filipino lady with the temperment of Dr. Ruth, pulled me aside and said: "Owl boy. You know how hard it is for Mrs. Owl. You're young. You're going to do silly things. You can't afford any accidents. You'll be a good boy now and go see this man."

She handed me a business card of a certain urologist in San Jose.

I'm not the type to make a mental commitment to any type of surgery, and I probably would have dragged my feet until the sexual withdrawl drove me crazy. My wife wasn't going to wait that long. She made the appointment and drove me to the office (three kids in tow).

You have to have a consultation with a doctor to sterilize yourself. They want to know why you'd do it. They don't want to be sued.

We had the consultation as a family, my two older girls playing with the invisible model penis asking, "mommy, what's this thing?" and the baby snarfing and puking in my arms.

The doc would normally go through a long discussion on the difficulty of reversing a vasectomy; having my kids run around the office was enough for him.

He agreed immediately that not only was it important for Mrs. Owl's health, but more Owl babies would be dangerous for planet earth. My appointment was scheduled.

He gave me a binder of papers to read. These were terrifying. If you're a techno-geek who spends the extra $2,000 to get the power amplifier that has the inaudible 0.001% less THD just because you NEED the specs, reading a medical disclosure drives you crazy. The chances for prostate cancer are elevated by 0.01% in men with vasectomies. Complications occur in 0.1% of all cases, and in 0.001% of the cases it's serious enough to require major surgical followup. Impotence is possible. Complete irreversible erectile disfunction has a finite probability.

Ack.

Let's think about this for a moment. At any point in time, anything is possible. The medical profession is overwrought with litigation. In an attempt to communicate all the known outcomes of any human decision, medical professionals provide the client with a deluge of data detailing a barrage of possible complications any one of which is less likely than your winning the super lotto or being struck by a non-ferrous cometary meteor.

You sign the papers saying you've read them and agree that if you are hit by a non-ferrous cometary meteor during the procedure, you'll hold the physician harmless.

In the morning before the appointment you have to do two things. First, you shave yourself bald of pubic hair, so you look like you're 7-years old again. There are instructions on how to shave for surgery. You see parts of yourself you haven't seen since you were a kid. Then you coat the entire area in betadyne. Now your dick is bright yellow. You hope this isn't a joke.

While doing this I kept in mind that having witnessed the pain of childbirth of no less than three people, all borne by a single woman, the karma of the universe suggested there was pay back due. Surely my risk, however well detailed by the urology community, was much smaller and the pain and humiliation in a different league than what I had watched my wife endure.

None the less, a guy with a razor blade next to my nuts makes me nervous.

When you get to the office you have to provide them a "before" sample. There are few ways acceptable to the medical community of obtaining this sample because the sample cannot be contaminated by the bodily fluids of another human, saliva or otherwise. Nor can the sample be contaminated by residual spermacides, such as the type found on modern condoms.

This leaves the standard hand job, either self applied or by another.

When your wife takes you to the urologist and the nurse hands you a cup, your spouse smirks at you (along with everyone else in the place) as you retire to the appropriate location to do your manly duty. You might casually suggest she come along. If your kids are there, she will not help you. If your kids are not there, she will not help you either, because reading old copies of Smithsonian is more interesting. This humiliation belongs to you. Enjoy it.

You retire to a room that is decorated in manly art. The walls have brown and green wallpaper adorned with pictures of trout squirming on the end of fishing lines and 6-point bucks just waiting to be shot. Obviously, you're learning that jerking off is an acceptable Field and Stream activity. Also, you realize for the first time in your life that if you're doing it in a doctor's office, protected by disclosures upon disclosures, the chances of blindness are less than that of being clobbered by Halley's Comet.

Behind the door is a magazine rack. Your urologist has a subscription to everything from Hustler and High Society to Playboy. He also has Car and Driver and motorcycle magazines. (Why in the name of ye gods a man can masturbate to pictures of Ferraris and Volkswagens I'll never know.)

After you've performed your manly duties, which may take quite a while because you've examined every inch of the room for hidden cameras, you present the treasure to the nurses at the front desk. Timing is critical. Your critters only live for a short while. Live ones need to be counted. They do this on the spot.

They will then give you a valium pill if so desired. Always desire a valium. Life is better through chemistry.

Next you go into a room and sit on a chair exactly like the ones in the dentist's office with one interesting exception. The interesting part of the chair is it has stirrups.

"That's weird," you say to yourself, having either never seen one of these before, or only seen them in conjunction with use on your female partner. Those must be for someone else, the naive you thinks (hopes).

And then, yes, one's greatest fears are realized. If you've taken the valium, it's not so bad having your legs splayed in the air as if you're going to give birth to something. At least you know how someone you've impregnated would feel. So there's probably some good karma to this.

If he has mercy on you, the doc will place a cloth screen between you and your lower parts so you can't see what he's doing. If he doesn't, you stare at the ceiling, counting the dots on the ceiling tile.

You are injected in the scrotum with a local anesthetic. As horrible as this sounds, it is virtually painless and undetectable. I assure you, you have had much more extreme things done to yourself in the name of sex than the shot.

The doc takes out a sharp sterile scalpel which you've seen, unfortunately, because you've glanced away from the ceiling. He makes a cut. You cannot feel this but you know it's happening. With a tiny scissors he snips one of your vas deferens. He sutures something. It's over in 2 minutes.

During this time the guy has been making small talk. "How bout those Raiders?" he'll say like he's a psychotic barber.

You're yammering like an idiot. It's okay. Every guy in that seat yammers like an idiot. Be zen. Yammer well.

He moves to the other side. Same thing. Poke, slice, snip, suture. Two minutes.

"How bout those Giants?"

He packs you with a little gauze and tells you, "Now, you're not to have relations for at least a week," just as you're thinking you're not going to have sex ever again. "This may smart a little for a day. Take tylenol if it does. You will notice no difference in your sexual function. Have a nice day."

You say, because you're nervous as hell, "Heh...like, I'm not going to start growing breasts, am I?"

He says, "But you've always wanted to sing soprano, right?" And then after you blanch, he smacks you on the shoulder and assures you that there will be zero change to your testosterone-laden life.

You leave.

In the car on the way home your S.O. says, "Well, how was it?"

You say, "Fine," and wince because it's starting to hurt. You wonder how badly it's going to hurt when the local completely wears off. Is this going to be like being kicked in the nuts by an entire rugby team?

The answer is: no. While there is absolutely pain involved, it's no worse than the level of pain caused by anything a dentist has ever done to you. You've done worse to yourself working on your car or falling off your mountain bike. It smarts a little to climb stairs the first hour or so, but hell, you're a big bruising guy. Right? You can take it--right?

So you tell your sweetie: it's great. No problem.

The next day it hurts hardly. And by the third day you're starting to get frisky again, especially since your honey's hormones are triggered by the essence you're radiating and she's starting to look at you with those I need you now, baby eyes.

But you have to wait, big boy.

After a week is up you go back to the scene of the crime. The doc looks at the sutures (which dissolve and fall out on their own). And then--a repeat of the whole "provide a sample" thing.

But now you're a pro. And now your baby might actually come in to help out. When she does she'll look at the deer on the wall and ask the same question you asked when you were there alone.

"Do pictures of deer and fish get you hot?"

You tell her you think not, but that Lamborghini Countach sure does.

You come out of the room together, hand the sample to the nurses, who are now laughing at you because you're grinning like a kid in a candy store. They do their little count and proclaim you free of the ability to sire offspring.

And you take your darling by the hand. She is beaming. For some reason unfathomable by males your having gone through this miniscule, insignificant procedure makes her love you like a maniac.

This is going to be the best night of your life.

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