One small snip for man

Friday 3rd June 2011

“IT’LL be a Monday afternoon, Mr Moore. Appointments are available on the first or fifteenth of next month.”

I gave it only a few seconds thought.

“Let’s say the fifteenth.”

“That’s booked then. We’ll confirm by post…”

And thus it was that, on the afternoon of my forty-fourth birthday, I trotted along to the clinic for a vasectomy.

This poem hasn’t had an airing for a while. I used to introduce it by talking of having had surgery, and how the piece was originally entitled Couch, but they snipped a bit off, which is why it ended up being called…


first the reassuring surgeon
offers a firm handshake,
which i, the limp wimp on the bed,
somewhat nervously take

then on go the surgical gloves,
with their plastic static crackle,
and the probing starts of the parts
he’s intending to tackle

next it’s the incisive needle,
with its payload of anaesthetic;
i grit indecisive teeth:
oh would that i weren’t so pathetic

aaa… aaa… ahh… has he finished
why don’t I feel wounded or sick;
i’d been preparing to scream in my dreams,
but in fact it was just a small prick

then comes the bit with the scissors
and i’m ready to leap for the ceiling;
he snips… and i jump… at the sound,
but not with what you’d call feeling

I am still not prepared to watch
which perhaps seems cowardly or petty;
when he holds up a length he’s removed
i see tomato sauce and spaghetti

he tells me which bits will be sore
and what to do if it itches;
sewing me up he cracks a joke:
yes, he literally has me in…
…the palm of his hand

of all the national health service cuts
my vasectomy was one the kindest;
the surgeon was called doctor booker:
i hope he wins one of those prizes

It was all over in half an hour. I returned home to find a female friend had baked me a birthday cake. The decorative icing included a pair of scissors, which made me laugh… which made me regret having laughed… but the post-operative discomfort was far from unbearable.

Any man whose days fathering children are over should consider the snip. All he needs to have is the balls.

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