Tuesday, July 5, 2011

What's Circumcision?

Long ago, Wife and I used to babysit for the people who lived down the street from her. One of these times, We rented the movie “16 Candles” for the girl, whom I'll call 'J-' here, to watch. Her two brothers were out somewhere, and the three of us, Wife, J-, and I sat down to watch the movie. I believe we ordered pizza for dinner, and at some point Wife left to pick it up, leaving me watching the movie with J-.
J- was 9 or 10 at this point, making me about 23 or 24. I don't know if it's just a timing thing that all children have or if she was simply gifted, but as soon as Wife left the situation went dowhill.
There is a part of the movie where the characters talk about circumcision. I was a bit uncomfortable, being in the room with this young girl while they were having the discussion. I was supposed to be the responsible adult, but 23 isn't really all that old. Hell, I wish I was that age again! I wasn't really much more than an older kid at that point. So I was uncomfortable, but I just locked my eyes on the screen and ignored the rest of the world until the scene was over.
There, I thought. That wasn't so bad, was it?
Nope. Not yet.
From beside me, I heard J-'s voice.
What's circumcision?”
I froze.
What?” I said. Barked, really. I had heard her, but couldn't believe it. I had gotten through watching the discussion with her, and now this? I couldn't believe she had asked me that, and I asked her to repeat it in the hope that she would lack the courage to ask me again.
What's circumcision?” she repeated.
I stared hard at the television, hating the movie, hating the actors, hating the whole thing. Why in hell had we rented this particular movie?
I mean, I think I know what it is, but I'm not sure.”
Okay … just stay focused and you can do this. You're the grown-up here …
I just stared at the television, not seeing the movie anymore but using it as something to look at. So that I wouldn't have to look at J-.
Well,” I said, “when a baby boy is born, he has some extra skin on his penis.”
Okay!” I saw her throw up her hands with my peripheral vision. “I was right! Okay!”
Did she think she could get me to say 'penis' to her and then just turn off the explanation like a light switch?
Think again, Kiddo! You opened this door, I'm not stopping now!
This skin is called his foreskin. Circumcision is a procedure where a doctor, or sometimes a Moyle, cuts off a lot of that extra skin. If it's a Moyle it's for religious reasons, and if it's a doctor they say it's for hygienic reasons; it makes it easier for the boy to keep his penis clean.”
J- sat there, silent, staring at the screen just as I was doing. I don't think she was actually seeing it any more than I was. We sat there, rigid in our chairs, avoiding eye-contact like it was a Jehovah’s Witness. A few minutes later, Wife came in with the pizza. She noticed that, aside from the noise from the television, there was a stiff silence coming from the TV room. She called through the door.
Everything okay in there?”
Fine!” J- and I said in unison.
Let me help you with that stuff,” I said, scrambling to my feet and practically running to the kitchen. As soon as I got out there I leveled a finger at her from across the room.
You are not allowed to leave me and J- alone again! Ever!”
She was understandably confused.
Why? Did something happen?”
So I told her.
I'm sure she would have been just as horrified as I was … if she could have stopped laughing.

Talk to you later!

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