It is with heavy heart I come to you this morning, my friends. It is with a heart laden with
rue, a heart all smooshed under the weight of my sin.
I have behaved inappropriately and I know I'll feel all better when I make a public
confession. It's a long story, so get comfy.
My sin is about sex. It involved two interns. It hurt a lot. It happened 26 years ago and the
pain of it, praise God, has prevented a recurrence.
The funny thing is that it was just last month that I realized what I'd done was a sin. I
figured it out only when I read in the newspapers about the Preven Emergency
Contraception Kits that have just been approved. If I understand the effect of Preven on
female plumbing, here's how it works:
Say you're a woman and say you had unprotected sex last night. I don't mean you
personally. Say some other woman, not you, not any woman you even know, had
unprotected sex last night. Preven pills, if this unidentified woman takes them this
morning, can keep her from getting pee-gee. You know preggers. A bun in the oven.
Preven prevents that in three ways: It keeps the egg from being ovulated; it keeps the
sperm from fertilizing the egg if it's already ovulated; it keeps the egg, if it's already
ovulated and already fertilized by the sperm, from being implanted in the
The hope is that Preven will thus reduce the annual number of abortions in the country by
800,000. Not everyone thinks Preven is a good idea.
"It's another form of murder," says Joseph Scheidler, director of the Pro-Life Action
League in Chicago. Others call it "chemical abortion," and here in Nebraska, Greg
Schleppenbach opposes Preven because it doesn't follow God's design for the gift of
That's when I stopped reading the paper. Not out of any disrespect for his argument, but
because I had an epiphany.
"Well, I too, dadgummit," I said aloud, "have not been following God's design for the gift
Ned, the one-eyed Beagle with the headstrong personality and the mismatched jaws,
cocked his head and gave me a look. Ever since we had him fixed, he's taken an interest
in any tampering with God's design for sexuality.
And here's my confession: Between 4:12 and 4:19 p.m. on Feb. 16, 1972, in a clinic in
this very city, I had, of my own free will, a vasectomy. Yes I did.
And having that grisly little procedure, I now understand, radically violates God's design
for the gift of sexuality. Unless God is a She instead of a He.
Because while it's not like Preven in preventing an egg from ovulating or implanting
itself in the whatchamacallit, my little operation certainly has prevented certain sperm
from fertilizing certain eggs.
You know how it works, don't you? Let me tell you. They slice a section out of your vas
deferens duct through which the sperm begin their hallelujah journey to glory. When that
section gets sliced out, it's as if a part of the Eisenhower Tunnel has collapsed and the
traffic can't get through.
The Truth, Mainly
I often wonder what happens to the sperm when they're blocked like that. Is there room
enough to turn around? And if there is, where do they end up? In some Senior Sperm
Center sitting around smoking cigars, drinking Blatz, and talking about how they could
have been contenders?
Modesty prevents me from talking about all those anxious eggs playing solitaire, looking
at their watches, and saying "Just like a man!" while they wait for sperm that never show
Two young medical interns, both male, did the job. They gave me a very local anesthetic
so it didn't hurt so bad until later. Because I remained conscious I got to listen to their
animated discussion of last night's basketball game while they were using sharp
instruments in close proximity to very delicate parts of my anatomy. They got very
excited about the game. They gestured wildly.
It was unnerving. I was unnerved.
When it was over I waddled through the front door holding an ice bag to my crotch, my
wife asked, "Did it hurt?"
"Worse than childbirth," I said. "But anything for you, m'love. Ow."
Then while she rolled her eyes in sympathy and admiration, I looked noble.
And when it quit hurting a month or so later, I felt pretty good about myself. I often
mention to my wife just how good about myself I felt. And she always rolled her eyes in
But now, 26 years later, I find I sinned.
I'd like to make amends, but I don't know where those two interns worship. So even if
we could blow up some graphic images of thwarted sperm and disappointed eggs, I don't
know what churches we should picket.
Here's about the best I can do: I'm an alum of a church way down in the southwest
corner of Kansas. Anyone who wants to call attention to my sin by picketing there can
call me for directions. I'll tell you where to go.
Lincoln English Professor Satterfield writes
to salvage clarity from his confusion.
His column appears on alternate Mondays.