As I sat down on the toilet for my daily quiet time, cellphone in one hand, iPad in another, I suddenly had a strange sensation. Like that sleepover prank when someone sticks your finger in warm water.
But it wasn’t my finger and it definitely wasn’t warm.
I jumped quickly to me feet, as a small puddle formed around my ankles. I looked right…left… then right at my crotch.
I had wet balls.
To go along with my sagging middle, I now had saggy balls. I was virtually drooping from head to toe, and everything in between was going down for the count. My slow descent had begun, and it hit me and the toilet water like a ton of bricks.
I thought about who to call, where to click. Forget Bejeweled… my family jewels were now body surfing as I furiously surfed the Web.
Should I call my brother, my best friend, my tennis buddies? I could just imagine the conversation.
“Hey, how’s work? Did you see Doctor Strange? What’s doing in the market? Do your testicles float or sink?”
My wife lay in bed on the other side of the bathroom door. Surely, she would understand… surely, she could understand the degradation and have pity on this pity party I was about to throw.
But after decades of tweezing, waxing, mammograms, pap smears and those damn stirrups, how could this temporary spritz ever rise to the occasion? She had been poked, prodded, pinched and pushed… I would be left all wet and out in the cold.
I retreated to my porcelain throne to ponder my piscine predicament.
After moments of solitude and two rounds of Candy Crush, I realized it wasn’t just the drip, drip of time leaving my balls dripping wet. It was so much more… the snoring, the ear hair, the endless spot checks for bald spots. And the constant need to pee from morning to night.
Once a whiz kid at arcane facts and figures, I was now a whizzing figure at rest stops, coffee shops and gas stations. My bladder, along with my bank account, was barely full before it immediately needed to be emptied.
Forget about minding my P’s and Q’s, I was constantly in a queue to pee. Here a pee, there a pee, everywhere a pee, pee. Real-life SAT questions calculating speed, distance and time to see not when the train would arrive in the station but rather should you run to the bathroom before the train left the station. Would you make it home dry?
Just the thought makes me chuckle, but you know where that leads.
This year for the holidays, I asked my family for one of those electric hair clippers. You know, the ones with attachments for the eyebrows, ears, nose (and possibly one to slit your sagging throat). My 16-year old was mortified.
“Dad, are you kidding? You don’t want one of those things.”
“Yes, I do. I saw one in Bed, Bath and Beyond. It does everything!”
“That’s disgusting! Please don’t ever bring that up again!”
This was beyond her thinking or her already distorted view of her graying father. But all I could think of was the gentle whirr of the motor and the clear view from my ear to my brain.
And it doesn’t stop with hair removal. I have Googled everything from Spanx for men to adult braces. If I am turning into the Ty-D-Bowl man, then good God, I am balls to the wall not going down with the ship.
I have bought promotional miracle pillows to stop the snore but, according to my wife, I may find the pillow firmly over my face one morning. I have Dead Sea scrubs that are like a death tax on my bank account. I am a middle-class spelunker, searching the crevices and crags of my middle-aged body.
I have stood long in the local pharmacy aisle of dyes and tints, contemplating showing up at parent-teacher conference with Guy Fieri meets Billy Idol hair. (Do Billy Idol references show my age?) Too old for punk but too young for the last waltz.
Hair loss leaves me terrified, and my kids and wife know this.
“Dad, is that a bald spot on the top of your head?”
“Dad, I think your hair is thinning a bit.”
“Dad, where’s your hat?”
“Honey, is that your hair in the drain?”
The very thought leaves me breathless (like a spinning class off the chain) and so off I drive to my hair stylist (yes, I use a hair stylist), leaping furiously into the chair. Eyes agog, mirror and anticipation in hand, I offer myself and scalp up to public scrutiny. A seeker of truth in a land of Samson-level devastation.
“Juanita, let me have it. I can take it though I am not sure my side part can.”
She dives into my scalp with combs and brushes, my own personal Indiana Jones searching through the graying bush of a soon-to-be ancient world.
“You are fine. Your hairline is fine. I think your family is just pushing your buttons. By the way, your shirt button just popped open.”
I leap to my compression-socked feet elated… the thought of receding hairlines and crease lines, descending anatomy and ascending cholesterol – things for another morning or night jitterbugging with Father Time.
But before I go, I need to use the bathroom. You never know about the traffic on the way home.