I stopped pulling out years ago after I racked my nuts on a trailer hitch.
I was showing off the way boys do when they’re drunk around pretty girls who are drunk too — balancing on the edge of my buddy’s raised-up tailgate like a clumsy squirrel running the length of an electrical line — cockily thinking I wouldn’t fall because I had never fallen before.
And, as clumsy squirrels inevitably do, my foot slipped and I woke up in a hospital bed the next morning with a pair of testicles the size of Valencia oranges.
A doctor sporting a real sorry look on his face asked me if I wanted to hear the good news or the bad news first and I said the bad and he said that I wouldn’t ever be having kids — at least not ones of my own blood — but that I got to keep my nuts and that in a couple of months everything would be working perfectly fine again.
So, you can imagine my surprise, yesterday, when Naomi told me she was pregnant.
We were having breakfast at a small hole-in-the-wall diner here in Louisville called the Twig And Leaf. The waitress appeared, tableside, bearing scrambled eggs and before the plate kissed the tabletop she had shot out of the booth like something spawned from hell (or falling from heaven) and high-tailed it to the bathroom. The universe played a cruel nasty joke on her and everyone else in the tiny diner because the bathroom was occupied and she was forced to paint the floor with this vile electric blue vomit that looked as if she had eaten a smurf.
I signaled the waiter for a to-go box, packaged up our food and left an additional $20 for the poor son of a bitch who had to clean up the glowing mess. On the way out the door, I asked her the question everyone in the diner was wondering — what the hell did you eat last night?
She said a blue raspberry something or another from Sonic and then immediately followed the blue raspberry something or another with –– I’m pregnant.
Now I don’t care what any man says — even those bible-thumping cargo short wearing mother fuckers that look like dads the moment they turn twelve — every man has an oh fuck me six ways to Sunday moment when he hears those two words. No, you might not necessarily be disappointed but you’re by no means in the mood to slap on a fanny pack and head to Disney World.
The next morning I did what any rational man who was once told by his doctor that his swimmers weren’t swimming yet found out he’s to be a father would do, I paid my doctor a visit.
I walked in and told the guy the story, as he side-eyed my medical records with the same skeptical look on his face that I had on mine –– a face that said I’m fairly certain the bitch fucked the mailman.
But, to be sure, the doctor had me go into the bathroom, just down the hall, and jerk off into a small plastic cup you might see passed out at a marathon.
I’m not sure if you’ve ever had the luxury of jerking off in the bathroom of a doctor’s office but not unlike finding out your girl’s pregnant, it doesn’t make you want to slap on a fanny pack and take a trip to Disney World.
But, I needed to know even though I already knew, so I grabbed a playboy magazine sitting on a desk next to the toilet — but quickly put it down after noticing the pages were all puttied together –– as if some elementary school kid had just discovered a hot glue gun for the first time.
So, instead, I reached deep within my mind and thought about this busty redhead in accounting at my office that faintly resembles Joan Hollway in Mad Men.
Anyway, I do my business in this cup, write my name on it, put it in a metallic cubby hanging on the wall and then leave the restroom not making eye contact with anyone. I visit the nurse on the way out to ask about my next appointment. She says there won’t be another one. She says they’ll call with the results.
I say okay, knowing the entire fucking visit to be as silly as the day I was swinging my dick atop that tailgate, knowing that hope won’t breathe life back into my balls but letting hope do its damnedest despite this knowing.
So I spent the next few days falling in love with fatherhood like I imagine most fathers do after those two little words have the chance to finally settle at the bottom of one’s stomach.
And, when the doctor finally called, he broke my heart.
By Cole Schafer.
I run a newsletter. It’s called Chasing Hemingway. It’s about writing and life and how the two exist so wonderfully together.