The Operation

© J. Francois Barnard - 02 January 2024

When you reach the ripe age of about forty, you know the time will come for The Operation. Her hormones would be applauding, and other contraceptives would not work for her. You have to brace yourself to go through the ordeal of a vasectomy.


Phase One would be to find an acceptable urologist to perform the snip-snip job. Your visit to Doctor Petrov Katchabolzof would not be easy. He would hum a Russian song while cradling your family jewels in his one hand - turning, twisting, and then letting go, and you would be ready with a clenched fist in case the good doctor would squeeze it. But relax, he would not.

He would ask many questions. Like if you are sure you want to do it, how many children you have, how often you have sex. Just answer truthfully. OK, you can lie a little. Like saying twice a week, and you can see her lifting her eyebrows. But she is not there, and you listen to the preparations you have to make.

You have to shave the scrotum clean that morning before the operation and bring loose-fitting trousers like sweatpants. You don't want anything tight around the crotch area. Everything will be somewhat sensitive the following day or two.


The OperationPhase Two would find you waking early with the premonition that the day ahead of you would be tough. You would shave your beard as always, and then you would remember you have more shaving to do. Electric or blade? In the shower? Then, you would need a blade. Your usual morning routine of twenty minutes would take an hour, and she would look at you with a puzzled face but not say anything.

At the hospital, you would reverse park your car - like a getaway car - because you know you would desperately like to leave fast afterwards. Actually, reverse parking takes longer, and you would do anything to procrastinate, like first going to admissions and sitting down as if you have a long process ahead of you. But the receptionist would say that you had already filled out all the information, and you could proceed to the ward.

A nurse would give you a gown which you have to tie at your back, but you can already see it is so short that it would not cover the essentials. You would break out in a sweat and would look in disbelief at the nurse when she should ask if you have shaved 'down there'. Not responding quickly enough would prompt her to say: "Let me see," and you to respond, "No! Everything is alright!"

Doctor Katchabolzof and his assistant would wait for you in the theatre, each dressed in green and holding ten fingers upwards, wrapped in blue latex. You would guess they attempt to look friendly, but being masked, you cannot believe them. You would look at the door to see if you could still make a dash for it.

Local anaesthetics would include a long needle pointing 'down there', and a squeaky noise would escape from your throat. Doctor and assistant would look at you, then at each other, and then again 'down there' where they have to proceed. You would close your eyes and pray.

"Dear God," you would say, and then not find more words to add to your prayer. "Let them slaughter this lamb," you would think.

Within twenty minutes, all would be over, and you get dressed. You cannot feel anything 'down there', and you sincerely hope all will be well.


The proof of the pudding is in the eating, and Phase Three would take you back to the hospital. While handing you a small plastic container with a lid, the lady at the counter would point to a small enclosure behind a curtain and say: "Young man, go ye to yonder stable and milk the bull - and enjoy it!"

Of course, she would not say so, but you would think it.

Behind the curtain, you would wonder what she would say if you shouted, "I need a hand with this!" But, you would not say such things and only contemplate the awkwardness of handing the container back to her.


The Grand Finale would come when Doctor Petrov Katchabolzof's receptionist phoned to announce: "Sir, your operation was a success!" Then, relieved, you would know: It is alright for this cowboy to cry.


Author's note: For writing from the second person's voice, I decided to rewrite a piece I wrote in Afrikaans on my blog in 2014. Take note that the second person's voice is ideal for instruction and imperative. You have to do this and that. In this case, however, the narrator uses the second voice to distance himself from the embarrassing event he tries to convey.

Editor's note: The above story was the result of an assignment done in the Creative Writing course, Section The Craft of Setting and Description, at Wesleyan University.