Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Great Balls of Fire

If there's one thing the TV schedules have been lacking in recent years, it's live coverage of men having their private parts attacked with a soldering iron. It's something I've written to 'Points of View' about many times. But no more. ITV's flagship daytime show, 'This Morning', which has clearly learnt nothing from its live Viagra trials, today brought us up close and personal with the world of the live vasectomy. It's a bit of a dream come true.

Sandwiched between a woman with extreme maggot phobia, and a competition to win free food for a year, we were introduced to John Klapwijq, not only a brave and stupid man, but also one hell of a score in Scrabble. John and his wife Lisa have one child together, and have decided against having more on the grounds that "they believe it is too expensive to bring up a child in London" and their daughter's school fees alone cost £6,000 a year. The idea of moving house or, heaven forbid, trying the local comprehensive clearly didn't appeal, so there was no other alternative - John would have to have the snip.

Fortunately he'd hired one of the best in the business - Dr Tim Black, the Chief Executive of Marie Stopes, who refers to anaesthetic as "jungle juice" and favours the use of "vocal local", a cutting edge technique which basically involves chatting to the patient about last night's football, and hoping it'll distract him from the fact that you're carving up his scrotum.

Having interviewed both men via satellite link, Phillip Schofield promptly leapt onto the back of a motorbike and sped off to the clinic, leaving Dr Chris Steel to talk Fern Britten through a picture of a penis, before moving on to an interview with Frazier's dad, John Mahoney. The man's had a long and distinguished acting career, but I'd guess it's the first time he's ever appeared as the warm up act for a vasectomy.

The showbiz slot done, Fern crossed live to the clinic with the words "let's put John out of his agony", an ironic statement, considering that the pain was only just about to begin. Fortunately for John though, he'd been provided with a set of headphones which, we were told, played him constant soothing music. Although somehow he still managed to hear every word Phil and the doc said to him. I'd suggest turning up the volume next time.

A quick jab in the testicles, and they were off (not the testicles). Having emphasised how painless the procedure is, Dr Tim started hacking about in John's nether regions, inducing a good seven or eight agonising cries of pain from his patient. He ended up giving him three times the normal amount of anaesthetic and blaming it on the lack of vocal local, before accusing John of making it all up. The above photo of the operation, as supplied by the 'This Morning' website, suggests it was a very professional job, attended by numerous medical professionals and employing the very latest surgical equipment. Unfortunately the picture in question is of an entirely different operation, and bears very little resemblence to the real thing, which basically involved Tim in an open necked shirt and no face-mask, prodding away at a man's testicles with some welding tools.

But it was all over in a matter of minutes, after which John cheerfully lied through his teeth and claimed "it wasn't painful". Maybe not for him. Personally I watched the whole thing framed by my fingers, which were permanently attached to my face in abject horror. I've never felt so ill.

At the start of the show, Fern declared that "8 out of 10 men wouldn't even consider having a vasectomy". This should've taken care of the two who would.