The Reader's Eye on Television

"You're going to feel a pinch and some pressure," is how a doctor says, "You're going to feel me jab a needle into your goolies." After a quick wince and bite on the lip, I stopped feeling anything "down there." A paper sheet blocked my view from the waist down. The doctor's hands moved behind the sheet, and I stared up into the blinding fluorescent tubes in the ceiling.

The nurse had a square face and a bit of acne but was pretty. She asked the doctor questions -- "You need a clamp for that?" "Do you want to do this first?" -- and she gestured at the procedure being performed in my lap.

Soft rock filtered in through a speaker: John Tesh's voice and then Peter Frampton's guitar. "Ooh, baby, I love your way," Peter sang as the doctor worked away behind the paper.

I covered my eyes from the glare of the lights. When Peter Frampton finished up his serenade to my vasectomy, the baritone synthetic opening chords to "Take My Breath Away," from the Top Gun soundtrack, sank into the room.

I pushed a small laugh out of my nose and covered my mouth. "Oh, no," the nurse looked to my eyes, concerned. "Do you feel pain or pressure?"

"No, neither," I answered. "It's just a funny song. It's the first song I slow-danced to with a girl. I was in the fifth grade." The nurse smiled, and while I held her gaze, I said, "It's romantic, isn't it? Doctor, a little vasectomy music, please."

"You're so young," she said.

"I know."

"How many kids do you have?" she asked.

"None," I answered, and she looked sad. She had the same look of sadness I'd seen on a lot of people's faces when I explained I would never have any kids and didn't want any.

Doc snapped his gloves off and said, "That's it, you're all done," and I thanked him. I gathered a little bag of after-care products at the front desk, and my friend, Barb, drove me home.

And here I am, watching late-night TV, wearing a jock strap filled with bandaging with a bag of frozen peas on my lap. The remote flips through channels; nothing good is on, and I keep pulling back the elastic and checking on the swollen boys. I scan the adult contemporary music stations, hoping for Berlin's greatest hit.


Thursday, September 14

Celebrity Duets

FOX 9:00 p.m. This show is American Idol's little cousin. It has leg braces, a weepy eye, and has to take its asthma medicine before it can go outside. It's too small to play sports, but it has studied for the big Scrabble tournament coming up and knows five words that start with the letter X. Oh, how it wants a "Bee Excited!" sticker for its Trapper Keeper and a CD of the Beach Boys' greatest hits.

Daydream Believers: The Monkees' Story (2000)

VH1CL 10:00 p.m. There's an exact date in 1965 when America died. I haven't nailed it down, but it's somewhere between the airing of the first Monkees episode and the release of Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello's How to Stuff a Wild Bikini . Sure, I'd like to blame Reagan for the death, but he was just the undertaker. Simon Cowell is a grave-robbing necrophiliac. I could go on.

Friday, September 15

The Real Tomb Hunters: Snakes, Curses, and Booby Traps

HIST 2:00 p.m. Ha ha ha ha ha! Booby.

Saturday, September 16

Top 20 Countdown

VH1 9:00 a.m. How is it that I've never met a living soul who is an REM fan? Sure, everyone says they liked "It's the End of the World as We Know It" and there are those really sick people out there who touch animals and enjoy "Losing My Religion," but that doesn't account for a 20-year career of irritating, knock-kneed, whine-rock that gets VH1 VJs doe-eyed and wet in the mouth.

Saturday Night Beauty

QVC 4:00 p.m. If you think Saturday night starts at four in the afternoon, buy your beauty products from QVC. I swear the whole bingo hall will go silent as you make your entrance, and Widower Harmon will finally share his smokeless ashtray with you. He might even buy you a Tab from the vending machine. Won't that be the living end? My, my, my...

Sunday, September 17

End of Days (1999)

USA 10:00 a.m. You ever walk through a park on a Sunday morning and find a pair of rumpled, torn, and probably stained underwear in a shrub or off the sidewalk behind a bush? What in God's green creation was so important to that man that he had to tear his skivvies from his body, chuck 'em into the greenery, and dash off into the night? I wonder about that man's life and health. So that I may avoid the same fate, I want to know where he had eaten that day. Was he being chased? I can't imagine there would be, but if there is some sort of misconduct on the part of the Parks and Recreation Department, I would like to be informed of this hazard. I don't know. I don't know what happened there.

Monday, September 18

Deal or No Deal

NBC 8:00 p.m. I want to pat Howie Mandel's head. Pat-pat-pat-pat. And then yank his ears, and when he goes, "Ow, what are you doing?" I'll yell, "Shut up, Howie!" and wedgie him until he tastes cotton. Howie Mandel, with your annoying ass.

Tuesday, September 19

160-Pound Tumor

DHC 8:00 p.m. Thanks, Discovery Health. Because there weren't enough mother-in-law jokes out there already.

Wednesday, September 20


FOX 8:00 p.m. Big night on Television. Bones on Fox competes with The Biggest Loser for dominance of the 8 p.m. time slot. Yes, it's also a metaphor for my sex life. I'll be under my bed if anyone needs me.

Thursday, September 21

Kenny Chesney: Back Where I Come From

CMT 10:00 p.m. The average shoe size went down and the average IQ went up a little when you left? That's my guess.

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