My dad's voice became more serious, yet nonchalant. Yes, more serious than he sounded when he told me he'd stolen a turtle and put it in the bicycle's basket for a four-hour ride back to his sister's house (he's house-sitting for his sister in Houston).
"So, my son...have your balls dropped yet?"
I'm 33. Even if my balls hadn't dropped yet, my jaw certainly did. Before I could articulate anything more than a stifled bark of confusion, outrage, and broken-brain hilarity, he elaborated:
"Because when I was young, my testicles hadn't descended, even when I was well into my adolescence. The doctor gave me injections and then voilà...I made you!"
Too...many...images...flashing...Mind...violated...Innocence...ravaged yet again by eccentric father...
Once I had regained some degree of composure and sanity, I was able to assure my father that, indeed, the requisite, conventional orchidic migration had taken place (a number of decades ago, I might add). I elegantly and tactfully ended our conversation by telling him I had to take a major slash. I left it to him to surmise that the reason why my wife and I haven't yet provided him with a multitude of grandchildren is not an issue of anatomy, but rather one of choice.
No, I'm not telling you why, either. What I will tell you is that after the fact, I came up with a list of grievances about my dad's query:
1) Did he not think that I would have noticed if things were "out of place"? My medical background aside, did he not believe that it would be obvious to me, during the course of my sexual maturation, that something was--quite literally--up? I know he believes me to not be the swiftest spermatozoan in the sack, but...really?
2) Why the mock insouciance? He sounded about as dispassionate as a shirtless Mediterranean leaning against a sunset-backdropped bodega, scratching himself and commenting on last night's adequate sardine harvest. If he was concerned enough to ask if I had a serious health problem, shouldn't he...oh, I don't know...sound like he was mildly worried? Remotely EMOTE?
3) Instead of taking a shot (har) at postulating why our home is not a-crawling with bairns; instead of attempting to circumvent the non-existent defences I've erected (tee hee) to keep him from knowing the intimate details of my reproductive designs; instead of beating around the bush (obvious mirthful snort)...why wouldn't he just ask my why I--his beloved, if somewhat empty-headed--son hasn't been fruitful and/or multiplied? Ask a straight question, get a straight answer. Yeesh. I can just imagine his next attempt at pumping (yes, that one, too) me for information: "Son...do you know...penis-vagina?" I'd have to answer, "Yes, Dad, those sex-laden French movies you rented when we were kids and that we watched together as a family went a long way into addressing any deficits or misconceptions I may have had vis-à-vis penis-vagina. Merci."
Anyway, the next time my dad phones, I hope we can discuss something more banal and less emotionally-laden or sensitive. Like last night's sardine harvest, which was more than adequate.
Now if you'll excuse me, I've rented an old favourite of mine: Tatie Danielle. From what I remember, the part where the parents have rough sex and call each other filthy names is especially artistic and poignant. Ahh, the sadly scarring and indelible memories...