Big giant head

In Other News

I talked to my dad today. He sounds like he's doing pretty well. Said he was out mowing the lawn this morning, something he never could have done last year. He says his cardiologist says he's in great shape.

There were plans afoot for my dad to move to Pahrump, a small town outside of Vegas. I was looking forward to the move; it would have put him much closer to me, made it much easier for me to visit. But that plan has fallen through and he's staying in Dove Creek.

I'm aware of how old he's getting and how long it's been since I've seen him, how long it's been since he's seen Zoe. He's old, there's no getting around it. I'm going to have to take Zoe out there soon, I think. "Too late" is creeping up on us.




Sunday -- June 20, 1999
Father's Day

It's a Sunday, Father's Day, your God given right day to sleep in, but you've set the alarm anyway. You have a 9:15 appointment you have to keep. You can't miss this appointment; it's not the kind of thing that can be rescheduled for later in the week.

You climb into your car and drive to your appointment. You look at the other cars on the freeway, at the other men driving them, and wonder if they're heading out for breakfast with their kids, if they have kids at home, if they're heading home to see their kids. Father's Day is all about having kids.

In the office building lobby you stop at the elevator, realizing that you still don't know what floor the office is on. You've been here several times before and should know it by now, but you have to check the building legend every time anyway. Fourth floor, right, just like always. Riding up you wonder how many more times you'll be in this elevator. Maybe this time will be the last time? But didn't you hope that last time, too?

You walk down the hall to the office and pause to steel yourself before going inside. You don't like doing this, you don't like that you have to, you don't like being so naked to the world. Take a breath, go in.

You talk to the girl at the counter, make jokes to lighten things up while she pulls your records. Not for her benefit; she does this every day. For yours. She knows why you're here, knows exactly what you're going to be doing. Society has trained you to hide this from everyone, especially women, and yet here you are, about to do it by appointment while she waits for you to finish.

She hands you a cup, says you can use the room they have set up for this or the restroom down the hall. You choose the prepared room even though she'll be on the other side of the door, knowing exactly what you're doing in there. The prepared room has visual aids. And a lock on the door.

You go in, lock the door behind you. Well, here it is: Masturbation Central. Designed with just one thing in mind: spank that monkey. There's the TV/VCR with a small library of porn tapes underneath. On the table there's a pile of skin mags: Playboy, Penthouse, Hustler. In the tasteful wicker basket there's a pile of individually-wrapped, single-use packets of Astrolube. There's the comfortable chair helpfully positioned at a good viewing angle from the TV. And in the mirror over the sink there's you, the guy who's about to choke his chicken.

Check the door to make sure it's locked, even though everyone knows what you're doing in here and nobody's going to walk in on you and it wouldn't really matter if they did because that would be only slightly worse than everyone knowing you're in here jerking off.

Okay. Showtime. Go time. Time to whip it out and get busy. People are waiting, you know. The ladies in the lab waiting for you to come out with a cup full o' love for them to process. The receptionist at the doctor's office waiting for you to come in with your sample so she can call you from across the waiting room. The doctor herself waiting for your sample and the attached report so she can cluck concernedly and say your count is low and the motility is bad, but it might be good enough, maybe. The doctor's assistant -- pregnant, of course -- waiting so she can open the packet and show you that, yes, that's your name on it, so you don't have to worry that some other half-a-man's stuff will be going into your wife. And your wife, splayed out on the table like a Christmas goose, waiting for the doctor to cram instruments into her uterus and squirt your sample from a hypo because you're not man enough to manufacture the right kind of sperm to get her pregnant without all this.

So, yeah, it's showtime. And you're aware of the time, too. How long should you take? What's normal for this abnormal process? If you come out too soon will the lab ladies think you're a ... premature fellow? If you take too long will they think you're a ... slow starter? Or a non-starter, even? And with all these people waiting and you knowing they all know what you're doing and wondering how your time will be judged and feeling like a Nancy-boy for being here in the first place, can you start? Performance anxiety, anyone?

Right. Buckle down (literally and figuratively), get the job done. Pop a tape in the VCR, browse the skin mags, try not to touch anything (except that, of course) because you know what goes on in here and you're kind of grossed out by it. Get the job done, a job that's complicated by having to aim the grand finale into a specimen cup. Don't miss!

Job finished. Zip up, wash up, take a breath to steel yourself, exit the room. Don't forget the cup! Hand the cup -- the clear, plastic, everyone-can-see-what's-in-there cup -- to the girl -- the girl! -- behind the counter. Answer her questions. How long ago? Uh... Two minutes. No, no portion was lost. Try to hide your shame. Leave, but agree to come back in an hour to pick up the processed specimen ... and face them all again ... and write a large check when you pick it up, too.

If you're lucky, all this will result in your being a father. Again.

Happy Father's Day.


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Copyright © 1999
Chuck Atkins