The Origin Myth Of "Because I Said So"

Before Animal was born we had to fill out a sort of questionnaire that the hospital called the "birth plan." The birth plan is meant to get a sense of the parents' wishes and thoughts about some of the basic decisions surrounding childbirth: Stuff like who is going to be in the room, whether or not the mother wants drugs administered and if the baby is male, whether the parents want the child circumcised.

Now I try to live life making sensible, rational decisions. When faced with choices, I weigh options and use hard facts and solid evidence to guide me. When confronted with coherent arguments to the contrary, I am flexible enough to change what I think. I know I have an open mind.

All of this is true and all of this applies to what I believe. Except, that is, when it comes to circumcising my son.

Which is to say, when it came time to decide whether we would circumcise Animal, I was like, "Oh hell yes we are circumcising Animal." And that was before we even knew if he was a boy. I'm kidding.

Now I may sing along to Christmas carols at midnight mass with my in-laws and I may not bother with fasting on certain days of awe and I may not follow the directive to eschew leavening agents for eight days in the spring but there is no goddamn way my son will have a foreskin. Call it "irrational" or whatever. Call it an archaic or even barbaric superstition. Whatever, I don't care: My ancestors were not persecuted so my son could walk around with a foreskin.

I know some fathers in my position feel this way because they don't want their sons' penises to "look different" from their own penises. That's not me. I could not care less what my son's penis looks like. Penises are nothing to be narcissistic about. I can't explain it other than I just don't want Animal to have a foreskin.

Of course when it came time to cut off Animal's foreskin, I got very nervous. This happens in the first day or two at the hospital. At the hospital where Animal was born, a doctor from our OB-GYN's office came to do it. She said that we shouldn't watch, which was fine with us.

Now you may be thinking what a spineless sadist I am for wanting Animal to have to undergo this and then refusing to watch myself. That's fine. Like I said, it may be utterly irrational. I can no more explain this than I can explain why the Yankees are evil or why men are intrigued by lesbian porn — which is to say, it just is and I have long since stopped trying to explain, account for or unlearn it.

So for several hours leading up to the doctor cutting into Animal's dick, I feared the worst. You can imagine. And while we waited for what the nurses cleverly truncated as "the circ," I considered the worst and thought to myself, "And why did you allow this happen? Because of some bozo vestigial irrational idea . . ." Even after the doctor reappeared with the Monkey and said that he was most upset about having to lie still while the procedure took place (is that an easy lie they tell?), I proceeded to worry that gang green would take away my baby's junk.

I dutifully applied Bacitracin ointment until the pediatrician finally told us we were in the clear. Now all that Sturm und Drang is behind us. And I am proud to say that my son's dick looks just like my own.

As the weeks went by, I discerned another great, albeit slightly selfish reason to chop off your son's foreskin, which is that there is less to worry about when you're cleaning. Look, Mr. or Ms. I-Don't-Have-A-Child-And-Frankly-I-Don't-Want-One-But-If-You-Have-One-You-Shouldn't-Brag-About-Cutting-Corners, I know that it may sound fairly draconian to want to cut into a baby's dick in order to avoid more work for yourself, but it is what it is! It was just one less thing to worry about while we figured out how to burp, clean, feed and otherwise tend to Squeak.

And then you read something like this:

The death of a 2-week-old baby boy who contracted herpes following an ultra-Orthodox circumcision is being investigated by the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office.

. . .

The infant had been circumcised in a controversial religious ceremony in which a rabbi or mohel draws blood away from the freshly circumcised penis with his mouth.

I could have gone the rest of my life without ever having to think again about some geezer sucking baby dick, but no, they can't just stop at one. They have to do it again. This after the City Health Department did a flashy public health campaign to educate people about the dangers of allowing an old geezer to suck your baby's dick, er, I mean continuing the practice of metzitzah b'peh which, roughly translated, I believe means "sucking baby dick."

(That these people had the gall to protest the city supposedly infringing on their religious rights only makes it worse. Drawing Nazi comparisons makes it that much worse.)

Look, I don't know what the ostensible religious reason is behind this practice or even what the tradition is about, and frankly I don't care. Babies contracting herpes this way is probably one of the most horrifying things I can think of right now. Babies dying from this is beyond horrifying. It's mostly unbelievable. Think about all the things Judiasm, the Jewish tradition and Jews themselves have contributed to civilization. And then think of a mohel with cold sores sucking on baby dick. To borrow something Rick Santorum once said, "You bet that makes you throw up."

Now you're probably saying something the lines of "Oh, OK, so you having a doctor chop off your son's dick is fine but somehow that guy sucking a baby's dick crosses some sort of line?" Well, yes. So be it. That is what I think.

"Why?" you might ask.

And that's when I reply to you, with a completely straight face, and without a single trace of irony, "Because I said so."

And now you are ready to be a father, my son.

Posted: March 7th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: The Cult Of Domesticity | Tags: , , , , , , , ,