"It has to be fresh, you know," the receptionist tells me over the phone. "You can drop it off anytime after 1 o'clock." At 12:59 I'm standing at the counter. Let's get this over with. The glass partition slides to the right.
"Yeah," I stumble. "I had a vasectomy. I need to, um, follow up."
The woman in green hospital scrubs notices the wadded up brown paper bag in my hand and blurts, "Oh, okay. You need a sperm check."
I wince and look over my shoulder. Everyone in the room is pretending to watch TV, but each has an ear bent in my direction. "Uh, yeah," I stammer and hand her the bag.
A few months after a vasectomy is performed they need to check to make sure the tubes are tied, or cauterized, or -- I don't know -- there's a chip clip or some damn thing pinching them off. They have to make sure there are no bullets in the gun.
There I am, 30 people behind me, facing my direction, and I'm handing off the evidence. I've spent the last 17 years hiding anything directly related to the act: Playboys under the mattress, lights off, in a locked room, you know. And here, in a specimen cup, here's the only proof one would ever need.
"Thanks," she says and takes the bag. "You need to write down the time of ejaculation."
Good lord, woman, can't you lower your voice to under operatic range? I cringe and glance back over my shoulder to the waiting room of people. I take the form and write in the timeslot: 12:45 p.m.
I hand her back the clipboard, she holds it up and says, "Oh, that's fresh. Guess we know what you were just doing."
I almost pass out, right there at the counter.
Am I wrong? Am I repressed? Should I have handed the cup over and beamed proudly?
"You can wait over there," she points to a bank of chairs opposite the television. "Watch TV and we'll call your name when we get the results."
I take my seat and crane my neck. Looney Tunes is on, only it's in Spanish. Wile E. Coyote plunges off a cliff and holds up a "Gulp!" sign.
"Mr. Olivieri," she shouts into the room after I've watched 15 minutes of Bugs Bunny y Sus Amigos . She finds me and makes eye contact. "You're sterile, Mr. Olivieri."
Daffy Duck swings a rifle from behind his back; he pulls the trigger, a white flag with a big red "Bang!" written on it unfurls from the barrel.
WHAT I WILL AND WON'T WATCH THIS WEEK
Thursday, October 26
Walker, Texas Ranger
USA 10:00 a.m. When Chuck Norris finds Kenny Rogers, pitcher for the Detroit Tigers, he's going to give him a little lesson on cheating with a Texas roundhouse chop to the neck. When Chuck finds Kenny Rogers, country music superstar, he's going to give him one of the same. Just on principle.
Deal or No Deal
NBC 9:00 p.m. Shut up, knobhead. Here's my deal for you. Stop sucking the art and soul out of America and we'll let you become an Internet celebrity fad, and you'll get a mention on Hollywood Insider 's "Where are they now? Remember that dillhole?" segment.
Friday, October 27
A Salute to Teachers
CA4SD 9:00 p.m. Isn't a salary of 40 grand for nine months of babysitting enough? I've got your salute, right here.
Saturday, October 28
Ice-T's Rap School
VH1 11:30 a.m. Given the right circumstances you have approximately 75 years on earth. That's 657,000 hours, or 1,314,000 half-hours. Why? Why, dear God, would you waste even one of them watching Ice-T teach white suburban kids to rap?
Nostradamus: 500 Years Later
HIST 8:00 p.m. I'd crack a joke about "Who in their right mind would heed the drunken ramblings of an idiot?" but I'd only be alienating my target audience. Maybe I should trade in my tablecloth cape and Lone Ranger mask for a long white beard and purple velvet hood to be recognized as the soothsayer I really am. Finally, some respect.
Sunday, October 29
I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)
XDTV 8:00 p.m. I told you if you pushed in your bellybutton and made that face all the unicorns would die. Now, look out the window. See the birds, planes, and clouds? Is there one damn horse up there? NO! Woe upon your head. Woe.
Monday, October 30
FX 4:30 p.m.It's a fake. The creatures are fakes. The elders of a frontier American village keep residents under strict rule by donning costumes and spreading fear. Oh, I hope you've seen the movie. If not, I just gave away the big secret and ruined it for you. Bummer. Oh, and it's not the 19th Century. The village is a hideout from modern times. Oh, no. You haven't seen it. I'm sorry.
Tuesday, October 31
Geraldo at Large
KUSI 8:30 p.m. OooooOOoo! Halloween. Oh, no! Geraldo's mustache is coming for me! It's getting bigger and it's -- ew -- throbbing. I'm so scared. EEEEEE! You laugh now, but when they find my lifeless body covered in Grecian formula and carnauba wax, you'll be cry-cry-crying. Boo-hoo. Geraldo's mustache killed Ollie. Boo-hoo-hoo.
Wednesday, November 1
The Santa Clause
Disney 9:00 p.m. No. Send it back. It's too early. I'm not ready for two months of schmaltz, saccharine sweet sentiment, and "the real meaning of Christmas." Please. I'll do anything. I'll grow my high school mullet back and wear Hammer pants. DAMN YOU! Fine. Let's do it. Let's get it over with. If the jing-jing-jing-a-ling and the glitter and the forest of red and green craft paper get to be more than I can handle, I'll just go back to cutting myself. Hand me the bourbon.
Thursday, November 2
ABC 9:00 p.m. I was about to trash this stupid show until I noticed Selma Hayek is in it. God, I love her. She seems like the type who'd stab you with a steak knife because you came home late and smelled like stripper perfume. I'd forgive you, Selma. When I got out of the hospital and you got out of county jail, we could start our new life together; just me, you, and those shirt-stretchers of yours. Oh, Selma.