It finally happened. It was time to buy a new box of condoms. Who knew rubbers expired? I was cleaning out the drawer and noticed that the box was dated from when Bush was in office. The first one. Coincidently, that was the last date on which I saw bush. They call that symmetry. I call it sad.
I was at Target with the boys and decided to throw a box of Trojans in the cart. I tried to be sly, so as to avoid any unwanted questions about the item. Atticus, who had been oblivious to every other object in the cart, grabbed the box the minute it hit the pile.
“What’s this, daddy?”
“Put that down!” I whispered loudly through clinched teeth.
“What is it?” he asked, raising the box higher.
“Jesus Christ, put that down,” I said as I tried to grab it out of his hand.
“Is it medicine?”
“Is it for Mommy?”
“Kind of. It’s for me. For men. It’s for men and mommies. Put the damn box back in the basket.” People were starting to stare.
What the hell are you looking at, lady, I thought. If I don’t buy these condoms then next time I come in here I’ll have even more kids for you to freaking stare at.
And I don’t want more kids. That isn’t a complaint about what I have, it’s just me admitting that my cup is at the brim and I’m ready to enjoy my drink. I’m happy where I’m at and have no desire to change it.
We’ve been talking about “the operation.” The prospect doesn’t excite me.
When I was a kid I raised sheep in 4-H Farm. I thought they were pets. I stopped raising them when I realized they were meant for market. I now have a soft spot for sheepskin. Well, not that soft.
We used to neuter the rams, which consisted of a rubber band being placed around the scrotum and then some sort of iodine-ish stuff being brushed across it. I’m not sure what happened after I blacked out, but I imagine it was gruesome.
I’m not excited about facing the procedure. This is just another reason why gay men have it easy in our society. Not only can they blame the government for their staying single, but they don’t have to worry about their salad dressing being misused as baby batter.
My actual defense has long been built around the idea that my next wife might want children and that I should keep the boys intact. My wife doesn’t buy that anymore. She knows I don’t want more kids and I’m pretty sure she knows my cup runneth over with wives too. My back is against the wall and my front is exposed.
In the meantime, I stood in Target suddenly feeling much younger than my thirty-six years. What is it about buying condoms that makes a guy embarrassed? Aren’t I announcing to the world that I am a man that women want, or at least one woman? Aren’t I proclaiming my stud status?
I didn’t have to announce anything. Atticus was doing it for me.
“My daddy uses this on men and mommy.” he told the cashier and everyone in our immediate area.
I left my kids right there in the store, sitting in the basket, waving a box of condoms. I left them there, I got in my car, and I drove home and opened a beer. I’m drinking it still.
I looked at the cashier. She was young and pretty and looked more embarrassed than I did. I shook my head and laughed.
We drove home and I put the new box in the old drawer. I wrote the expiration date on my calendar.