Since Theodore took up residence in my scrotum, life has become somewhat more complex.
“Call me Teddy.”
“I’d rather stick to Theodore if it’s all the same to you.”
“Suit yourself. I’m just trying to make it easier for you.”
“Why on earth would I want things to be easier? Having a miniscule, talking…thing inside my nutsack seems like a perfectly reasonable and normal arrangement.”
“Gremlin. Probably easier to think of me as a gremlin.”
“And are you a gremlin, Theodore?”
“So what exactly are…never mind. It’s just the effects of the anaesthetic. Having a general can often make you feel a bit weird. You’ll be gone after I’ve had a nap.”
“You had a local.”
And that’s how we began. In a hospital bed waiting to jump through the two remaining obligatory post-op hoops of food and a drink. I had just returned from passing the opening challenge (making a wee) with flying colours and was feeling fairly good about life. Or at least, as good as one can feel when one’s testicles are numb and there are fresh stitches lurking nearby.
Vasectomy…I’m not half the man I used to be…
“Oh I get it. Nice one. Singing that old Beatles tune and reworking the old joke line about leprosy. Clever.”
“Thanks. Oh and sorry. I didn’t mean to wake you. I hadn’t realised I was singing out loud.”
“Who are you talking to?”
“Well, I’m not sure. You were asleep when they wheeled me up to theatre so we haven’t been introduced.”
“That guy? He left just after you. I would have assumed the empty bed when you came back from the toilet would have given it away but I suppose you were too busy congratulating yourself for not getting any on your leg to notice.”
OK…stay calm…you’ve just dropped off to sleep and this is all a d…
“Nope. Definitely not a dream. I’m as real as they come, no pun intended, so we may as well get acquainted. I must say you did a great job on shaving. You hear all kinds of stubbly horror-stories from the old timers but I couldn’t have asked to be under the skin of a smoother set of balls.”
“Yes. Balls. I’m a regulator. Jumped right in after the surgeon made the initial incision.”
“We’ll get to that. Anyway, Theodore’s the name. Pleased to meet you.”
“What exactly were you expecting? Scroty McSpunksalot? Call me Teddy.”
Which is where you all came into things, so to speak.
The next few minutes were a little awkward. Theodore – Teddy – for all his confident bluster was clearly someone – some thing – that thrived on contributing to a conversation rather than kicking one off, and so fell silent once the chosen shortening of his name had been revealed. For my part I spent a stoic five minutes staring at a crack in the ceiling trying to neither talk nor think, until a nurse came in with a plate of food and some coffee.
“Are you OK? Do you need any pain meds?”
“No, I’m fine thanks.”
“Anything else I can do for you?”
“No. Thanks,” I replied calmly but with an undercurrent of actually if it isn’t too much of a bother could you get a fucking doctor to reopen the bit he just sliced and take out a gremlin that may just be a product of my imagination?
“Just ring the bell if you need anything.”
So much for undercurrents.
After several bites of what may or may not have been a chicken caesar salad my inherent curiosity got the better of me.
“At your service.”
“You mentioned something about being a…regulator…?”
“Yes. Yes indeed. Indeedy yes.”
“I don’t suppose you could t…”
“Thought you’d never ask! I’m not sure where the term came from initially but essentially we, that is, me and the others just like me, are here to make sure you don’t do anything stupid with your new found freedom.”
“Look, I probably shouldn’t tell you this but…ah you seem like a nice guy and you need to hear the truth. I know the doctor said that it could be several months before all your legacy swimmers have drowned so to speak but that’s a complete and utter lie.”
“But why would he…?”
“Lie about something like that? Think about it. He spends his whole day literally looking at a bunch of cocks. You need something to break the monotony and what better way than convincing a freshly neutered human that there’s a chance that the two ends of tubes he just put daylight and napalm between might possibly grow back and find each other. And as if that wasn’t enough for him to get his kicks he throws in a word like several and gives you a knowing glance when it comes to the safety timeframe. Right know he’s in his office with three other urologists taking bets as to how soon you’re going to try and knock one out to begin separating the wheat from the chaff.”
“True. But it’s a better image than curds and whey believe me.”
“I meant his attitude.”
I waited for him to go on, but when it became apparent that nothing further was going to be revealed I broke the silence.
“You still haven’t explained what you meant by regulator?”
“Absolutely right! I haven’t! Sorry about that. Got sidetracked with the whole betting syndicate thing. The sister on duty has got you at three hours with a sankwank accumulator.”
“Sorry. My grandmother was French. She reckons you’ll be throwing them out on a cinq par jour basis.”
“Oh for the love of…”
“I know, I know. She’s completely misjudged you. Going to get fleeced. You’re no more than a three per…anyway where was I now…ah yes, the role of the regulator. Well basically my job is to ensure you don’t do anything too reckless over the coming months. Pun intended this time.”
“You do love a one word echo don’t you? Don’t say echo, I can’t stand it. Yes, reckless. Let me give you an example. That new woman in HR you’ve been chatting to recently who quite clearly would be willing to iron out the finer points of your CV after a bottle of wine? I’m here to regulate your engagement.”
“How exactly would you regulate it? Not that there ever was or ever will be anything to regulate.”
“Simple. Remember I said I jumped in just after the initial incision? Well, while you were lying back and being brave and while the nurse was trying not to laugh at that weird birthmark on your inner thigh and while the doctor was busy looking for stuff to scalpel…I was busy collecting.”
“There’s that echo again…again…again. Yes. Collecting. All those poor lost wandering sperm who suddenly found out that the chopping of the vas deferens does indeed make a vast differ-ence. If it helps at all, imagine me with a small fishing net catching tadpoles.”
“Is that how it is?”
“Not even remotely.”
“Then it doesn’t help.”
“So what do you do with them once you’ve caught them?”
“I keep them. And I wait. I wait for you to suddenly decide that you and HR have compatible skillsets and then I causally mention to you that there’s a possibility that I could line up a sniper shot…”
“…and so I get an Uber home before any damage is done.”
“That’s the general idea.”
In years to come I will remember this moment as the perfect embodiment of a companionable silence but at the time it’s just quiet.
“My life has become somewhat more interesting since you took up residence in my scrotum.”
“You mentioned that at the start but I think you used the word complex rather than interesting.”
Big thanks to my kid brother for inventing the name Scroty McSpunksalot 🙂