Well, I didn’t get fired yet, but the guy I ask for help did, so it’s just a matter of time. Since business has been slow, I got short-shifted at work, and decided to catch up with some old friends from high school, which resulted in the following conversations:
“I feel a lot better since I joined a support group for wives of inmates. I found out about it after a guard groped me, but I’m still glad to have met these women. Oh, also, I found out there’s been a warrant out for my arrest in Bell County since 2007, so at some point when I go visit Mom I need to go get arrested and pay that fine.”
“I should make some money this weekend. The moving company I work for got hired to clean out a hoarder’s house. They estimate thirty truckloads, so I should get some overtime. We keep a keg in the truck for days like these.”
“I thought social work wouldn’t involve my having to explain that marijuana is illegal and has been for generations, but these people don’t read newspapers very closely. Oh, do you remember Alice? She and her husband got so good at Catholic birth control – you have to take your vaginal temperature, thank God for Martin Luther – that they got hired to teach it to everyone in the entire diocese.”
“I had to drop off a semen sample in case the estrogen makes me infertile, which doesn’t always happen but better safe than sorry. They were playing easy listening in the lab – it’s daunting trying to give a plastic cup a very special day while listening to a gentle, instrumental version of ‘The Girl from Ipanema.’”
I added a couple of punchlines and the marijuana conversation actually happened last week, but otherwise this is what’s going on among Temple High School alumni. Go Wildcats! For context, my friend safeguarding his, shortly her, fertility once accidentally stabbed my friend helping the hoarder move – and hoarder-move friend is the same one who used to live on a goat farm. (Oh, the grammatical Twister I play not to use people’s real names in case somehow being associated with me would injure them.)
Now, I don’t care that my friend is having gender reassignment – if anyone feels strongly enough about a situation to have puberty twice, they can count on my blessing – but, as with any time someone you know does something unconventional, I have more questions than I can politely ask. No one likes to be interrogated except my friend who married the inmate, who merrily volunteered how, since Texas doesn’t allow conjugal visits, one keeps the magic alive. I limited my questions about the transition to two:
Q: How did you pick your new name?
A: It’s what I would have been named had I been born a girl – well, more apparently a girl.
Q: So is getting your sperm stored, like, a one-time expense, or are there recurring costs?
A: There’s a storage fee, but it’s pretty cheap. It costs less than high-speed internet.
Q: High-speed internet is expensive up here.
A: I don’t know what to tell you. Maybe you should budget. Or have a career more stable and lucrative than writing toilet books.
Q: It’s a vocation.
A: It’s a trilogy called Delta Burke and Diarrhea: Meg and Chris’ Big Book of Bodily Mishaps and 80s TV Jokes.
Q: That’s the working title.
A: Oh, of course. I forgot you were also considering Shits and Shoulder Pads.
So now, my new game is imagining the threats the lab that stores your “essence” sends if you don’t pay your bill. My favorites so far are “if your account is not brought up to date, we will pair your sperm with leftover ova from Eva Braun” and “if this bill is not paid, your semen will be thawed and sent to a pornography studio to be used as ‘filler’ in case Todd Strokely starts running dry.” My new new game is imagining asking the bank loan officer for money to open a sperm bank. My new, new new game is imagining being the state sperm bank inspector:
Tulane Chris, Licensed Sperm Bank Inspector: Sir, have you just been cramming Ziplocs full of genetic material in around the edges of your kegerator?
Dan of Dan’s Discount DNA: Times are tough.
…I smell a sitcom. Well, I smell something.