His name was Bill, and I had just met him five minutes ago. It was my first day on the job, and I was helping him. We worked in silence for a few minutes before he turned to me and said with stunning nonchalance, “Yeah. I’ve only got one testicle.”
I gaped stupidly.
I prefer to know a person at least one full day before I work my testicles into a conversation.
He looked at me expectantly, as if he was waiting for me to say, “great, tell me more about your testicles, or lack of them. I’m keen to hear.”
As I gaped stupidly, several possible responses flipped through my mind:
- I guess were getting to know each other aren’t we?
- Left one or right one?
- Does it make you walk in circles?
- Fantastic. Straight to the weirdest thing possible.
- I think I’ll work on the other side of the room.
- Oh. That’s why the guy called you One-balled Bill.
- My whole life: that’s how long I could have gone without knowing that.
I said none of those things. I replied by saying the stupidest thing my brain could conjure: “I have two of them?”
And yes, I said it as a question. I’m still not certain why I felt confused.
Perhaps I just didn’t want to appear as though I was bragging. If I had confidently told him, “I have two testicles–the proper amount,” that would have seemed grandiose.
He looked at me like I was an idiot. I felt like an idiot. There was that inevitable awkward silence that occurs when two men discuss their testicles for the first time.
Undeterred by my idiocy, he launched into the story “I was out in my garage having a few beers when I thought to myself: this would be a good time to try out my new nail gun.”
The next several minutes were horrifying. I will spare you details because…well…ick.
I did learn some things from Bill:
- Shockingly, alcohol and power tools don’t mix.
- Nail guns are designed to drive a nail through wood or plaster. The fact that a nail gun will readily penetrate a layer of denim and your scrotum just goes without saying.
- A nail in your testicle really hurts.
- A nail in your testicle will bleed a lot.
- It’s difficult to drive yourself to the hospital with a nail in your testicle.
- It’s difficult to walk with a nail in your testicle.
- It’s difficult to breathe with a nail in your testicle.
- It’s difficult to do virtually anything with a nail in your testicle, the exception being whimpering; whimpering is practically a requirement when you have a nail in your testicle.
- Did I mention that it really hurts?
- There was never a more appropriate use of the phrase: unfortunate ricochet.
I can write one thing with relative certitude: it was not a good time to try out his new nail gun.
I spent the remainder of the night with one overriding thought in my mind: please don’t offer to show me a scar.
Bill has only one.