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It was a normal day; they’re all normal days until they’re not. I plugged away at my computer, made some calls, and updated spreadsheets. Pretty standard stuff. I strolled to the break room to grab some much needed coffee, because that’s what closers do.
Making my way back and blowing a steady stream of queso breath over the top of my mug, I was unaware as to how far south a normal weekday afternoon could go. Most afternoons were naturally sluggish. When you’re not at your peak or supplying your body with the best, mistakes get made.
As I set my still scorching cup of joe on my desk, I swung my chair out and lazily plopped down into it. Right on top of my balls.
Now, we didn’t have a There’s Something About Mary situation in terms of gruesome testicular injury; this isn’t being written from the ER. But I’m not going to pretend that the pain or the shame wasn’t there. Although it was not a direct hit, it was enough to throw me off my game and send me into a tailspin of hurt. My office-mate may not have noticed anything other than a sharp cough, maybe a quick jerk of the body, but inside my stomach felt as if I was ready to lose every single bit of delicious Mexican cuisine I was slowly trying to set up for a peaceful 4 p.m. evacuation. I’d given myself the most unglamorous and embarrassing workplace injury.
With the pain that every man knows came a rush of emotion. What was once a normal weekday afternoon at the office had been transformed into a physical and mental struggle to save face in front of my office-mates. No one wants to be know as “the ball-sitter” guy. That’s almost as bad as “doesn’t shower” guy or “blatantly rips farts” guy. Possibly even “ruined the toilet but played it off like nothing happened” guy. My tenure here is fresh, and the prospect of having a label like that be simultaneous with my name is a workplace death sentence.
While sweat caked my body and my breathing started to become slow and deep, like a guy preparing to pass a kidney stone, I pushed my chair away from the desk for some self-reflection. Why? Why me? Why did I let this happen? You could’ve done this anywhere. Take a squat on your balls at home and you get the comfort of lying in the fetal position on your couch whimpering like a vegan at a steakhouse. But no, dumbass, you compromised your physical and mental well-being in a place that provides no comfort and demands that you keep your shit together.
A call comes in, and there’s no choice but to let it hit my voicemail. No man can conduct phone business when their innards are screaming for mercy. Watching the call flash its doomed alert gives time for reflection. Is this more than just your run of the mill ball-sitting incident?
I’m a quarter-century old now. Is this just what happens when you lose a step? Could this be what an aging cornerback feels like when the hotshot rookie blows by him time and time again in training camp? Except in my case, the hotshot rookie is my balls and my aging ability is simply being able to trust myself to not let them get in-between my seat and thighs.
Or could this even be a sign from the universe that you can’t stop time? I didn’t realize I had enough sag for this to happen in work pants; is this my “first grey hair” moment? This mistake is for old men who can tuck their sack into their socks. Not me. I’m in my prime! Or at least I thought I was. Sitting at this desk with a stomach cramp and staring blankly at a spreadsheet like it’s the depths of hell, I start to wonder if I’m headed downhill from here, and whether nut-squash would be my own personal Ft. Sumter.
While trying to find a deeper meaning to this in a way that would make Rust Cohle proud, a coworker brings in freshly cut pieces of birthday cake for my office-mate and I, noting as she arrives that she knows how much I like sweets. My smile says, “this looks great” while my eyes say “I’m in massive agony and I may throw this cake up, please kill me.”
The fork got closer and closer to my lips, covered in red-velvet cake with cream cheese icing. Normally that description is like porn to me, but today there was no surety of what would happen. Bite one, down the hatch.
The cake was fucking delicious. I finished my piece and felt better. The moral of the story is sometimes you sit on your nuts, but time heals all, you just gotta keep on chuggin’..
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