does circumcision really hurt, or are men like trout, with no real feelings in their major parts?

There I was, brand-new, the cheerful survivor of a rattling and fearful experience already,
When masked men with implements of destruction went for my private parts with malice…

 

by brian doyle

Asked, from the back row, in an anatomy class I am visiting briefly as a traveling jester.
There is a long and remarkable pause, the sort of pause you might call a pregnant pause.
Well, I’ll tell you, maybe I am a rare being, but as I remember it was the worst pain ever
In my experience up to that time, I say. The already-riveting silence in the class deepens.
I cannot say that I recall the scope and extent of the pain now, some years having passed,
But I can say, without fear of contradiction, that it seemed a wholly unfair state of affairs.
There I was, brand-new, the cheerful survivor of a rattling and fearful experience already,
When masked men with implements of destruction went for my private parts with malice
Aforthought, and escaped from the fray with scraps of my skin as, apparently, souvenirs.
This seemed then and seems ever more so now to be utterly barbaric, to say the very least.
And it’s not like anyone ever had the courtesy to return the tiny scalp to its rightful owner.
No, we are all supposed to move on from that awkward event and let bygones by bygones,
But me, personally, myself, I wonder what that was all about. Many years ago an authority
Decreed that all male children would have to undergo this ludicrous and essentially savage
Deletion, a deliberate scarifying that appears to have no medical benefit or use whatsoever,
And here we are, or there I was, innocent as all get out, suddenly confronted with a scalpel.
To say it didn’t and doesn’t seem at all fair would be an understatement of epic proportion.
To conclude, I have not noticed that trout are much for circumcision, so you might wonder,
If you are in the wondering mood, which species is the more advanced, the one that scars
Its larvae on purpose for reasons no one can remember, or the one that gobbles caddisflies?

Originally published:
Issue Fifty-Five
June 2009

Brian Doyle is a muddled male mule who has committed eight books rather like a series of venial sins: five collections of essays, nonfiction misadventures about hearts and wine, and a collection of “proems” that the great American poet Pattiann Rogers says darkly will ruin the word poetry for ever and ever. More from Brian Doyle can be found in the Vault of Smoke. (bio/2009)

Brian Doyle was the author of many books, including the sea novel The Plover, which has, no kidding, music printed in it, not to mention Mink River, Martin Marten, The Wet Engine, and more than we can recall.  He won the 2017 John Burroughs Medal for distinguished nature writing for Martin Marten, which was plenty cool and much deserved.  Brian passed away peacefully at his Lake Oswego home on May 27, 2017.  Faced with the prospect that Brian will not be here to support his family, there is an effort underway to pay off the mortgage to sustain Mary and their children: https://www.gofundme.com/doylefamilyfund

More, much more, from Brian Doyle can be found in the Vault of Smoke.

 

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