There comes a time in every young man’s life when he looks down at his dick, takes a deep breath and thinks “should I see a doctor about this?”
You find a little lump. A little spot. A little hole. Some flaking and itching, maybe. Perhaps a little blood if you’re lucky. Some pus. And you know what? It might be an irritated sebaceous gland or some dry skin or an ingrown pube. It might even be a little something called “genitally focused anxiety,” which is pretty much what you’d guess.
But it might just be the wages of raw dogging anything with two tits.
I’d found stuff on my dick before, but it never warranted any more attention than licking my thumb and giving a quick bit of moisture to the poor, dehydrated guy. After that, I’d just direct my attention back to the latest issue of Score or Juggs and pick up where I left off.
(For those of you who can’t remember the 20th Century, Score and Jugs were stroke books we used to jerk off to back in the days when the squeeze of watching porn on the Internet wasn’t worth the juice of potato quality footage the size of a postage stamp. Score and Juggs both featured women with a whole lot of tit and the generally accompanying whole lot of ass. We hadn’t yet invented words like “PAWG” or “thicc” and so my friends all say that I’m “into fat girls.”)
But back to my dick: It’s 8:30AM and my alarm just went off and like any red-blooded 21-year-old American male, my hand goes one place first thing in the morning. You know where, guys. Gotta at least give the homie a handshake upon rising in the morning.
In this half-asleep haze that I feel something there that’s not supposed to be. It’s harder than a zit and won’t pop no matter how much I squeeze it. As alarming as all this is, I’ve got places to go and people to see. There’s a fresh pot of coffee sitting out there in my kitchen with my name on it. There’s a store to be opened. There’s rock and roll to be sold to a generation with precious little interest in it.
I was something of an early adopter of the Extremely Online Life, so I sit down with my coffee and fire up a creaky white desktop. The tones of the phone chirp through the speaker, followed by the glorious screeching static that spawned 10,000 harsh noise projects, then a chirpy male voice says “Welcome!” and informs me that I have mail.
The welcome screen informs me that an airplane just slammed into the World Trade Center. I don’t think much of it. I just figure an air traffic controller had one too many and made the biggest mistake of anyone’s life.
PRETTYRAGE80: WE’RE UNDER ATTACK!
PRETTYRAGE80: Dude, go turn on the TV.
The “TV” is a cathode-ray tube inside a wooden box that projects pictures onto the glass. In the olden days, we used to use that to find out what was happening in the world. Me and my mug of liquid hate plop down on the shitty pilling couch I lost my virginity on that now lives in what passes for the bedroom in my studio apartment in the Cambodian section of Lowell.
Every channel says the same thing: Some absolute fucking madman was able to commandeer a plane and crash it into the World Fucking Trade Center. And the smart money is on the guy who tried to blow it up 1993.
See, kids, much like how, in the 1980s, we were all just sitting around waiting for the bomb to drop, so, in the 1990s were we all sitting around waiting for… something.
Muslims, probably. Militias, maybe. Environmentalists, perhaps. But someone was going to do something and it wasn’t going to be good. What was the “something?” We weren’t sure. Dirty bomb? Secret government engineered supervirus? Suitcase nuke? Something. Something bad. Something that was going to leave the world in much worse shape.
We got it wrong in the 80s. But the 90s ended when United Airlines Flight 11 hit the North Tower.
And then, out of absolutely nowhere, Flight 175 slammed into the South Tower. Well, that one definitely wasn’t a mistake.
The reporters are screaming like reporters don’t scream. They’ve lost all composure. And I still don’t know a fucking thing about what’s going on. Or what that thing on my dick is. And I have to take a piss.
Half the shit in this apartment is broken and the toilet is no exception. Jiggle that handle, son, and you better have just the right touch or you’re gonna be watching your shit circle the drain for the rest of your natural life. The piss flows easy and free in the way that it does when you’re 21, the day’s first homemade cup of Peet’s French Roast has settled in and you’re somehow not hungover from the fifth of Maker’s you rocked back last night.
That thing on my dick definitely isn’t supposed to be there. It looks a little pearl stuck underneath a chicken pock. With a little bit of work, I’m able to pull the pearl out. Unlike a zit or an ingrown hair, there’s no satisfying pop of pus. It’s just this dense white mass of… I’m not sure what. I roll it around in my fingers and consider chewing on it a bit, before throwing it into the bowl and entering the Konami code for my toilet.
It doesn’t matter that the world is going to shit. I have to go to work. All this splendor isn’t going to pay for itself. My rent is $250 a month cash money. The Marshall needs some new tubes and I’ve still got payments to make on the Fender P-Bass and I’ve been thinking that maybe I should start rocking a big fluffy fur coat like Mike Maker and they ain’t cheap and and and. Rock and roll is an expensive lifestyle and I gotta go out there and get that 28 grand a year selling it if I want to live it.
Work is deader than usual which is saying a lot. Even the parking lot of the mall was empty when I drove by it. It was eerie. The city was just empty and ghostlike, like the way a suburban downtown is on Christmas Day, but with a tangible scent of paranoia in the air. Even the bums had found somewhere else to go.
My boss smiles her dismissive, irritated smile as I walk in the door. I don’t think she cares for me much, but as I’m the only one keeping this place afloat, she has to put up with me. She’s sitting on the floor with two of my coworkers (can’t have enough people standing around with their thumb up their ass, I guess) around the store’s sound system, which is silent.
“What’s going on?”
“Did you watch the news?”
“What’s the last you heard?”
“Didn’t a second plane hit the other tower?”
“That’s about where I am,” I say. “Why are you guys all sitting on the floor?”
“We’re trying to get the radio to work.”
“Has anyone been in today?”
“Not a soul.”
I take a deep breath and remember my dick. “Hey boss, can I talk to you in the back for a minute?”
We walk to the back room where I regularly consume 2,000-calorie Wendy’s lunches and watch last night’s episode of Smackdown!
“What’s up, Dan?”
“Can I take off? If you don’t need me today I got some shit I’d like to take care of. I mean, it’s time to cash in some of those healthcare benefits. Dig?”
“What the hell is wrong with your penis?”
I blush deep red.
“I knew it!” She says, poking me in the chest, grinning with glee. “I knew it! I knew it! I knew it! I knew it!” She dances around like a kid on a playground. Because it’s not her dick growing strange new life forms and new civilizations.
My palms and pits heat up and sweat. My scalp burns. I can feel the little pearls growing on the skin of my cock and balls. In my mind’s eye I see my just desserts expanding, in size and scope, covering my genitals, transforming me into some kind of sexual Elephant Man.
“So can I go?”
She laughs. “Yeah, go take care of your penis, Dan.”
I leave without saying goodbye. The Volvo roars to life and I just start driving around until I see an urgent care clinic.
The wait isn’t long. Apparently there’s not a lot of people breaking fingers or getting ear infections today. Just a skinny little rock and roller reeking of stale cigarette smoke and sexual plague. They call me into a small room where I explain my problem in terms I haven’t used since Sex Ed. I sit in silence, squirming around in a Johnny while I wait for someone who can actually help me to materialize.
An imperious looking woman a couple inches taller than me comes in. She’s blonde in that way adults are, with the dirtiness firmly established and the blonde in question. I look at her name tag. She’s not a doctor. She’s an LPN.
She smiles with a tight face, the professional smile she has to force out something like 20 times a day for people having a bad day.
“So, you think you might have a sexually transmitted infection, is that right?”
“Yeah. I… uh… it might be genital warts. I don’t really know. You’re the doctor.”
Her eyes narrow to slits. “I’m actually a licensed nurse practitioner, the doctor had to leave early today. Depending on what we see, we might have to come back tomorrow to see him, mmkay?” She has the tone of a kindergarten teacher who hates children. I pull my pants down and she fiddles around with my junk, which has never been more flaccid than it is right at this very second.
“Are you sexually active?”
“That’s an understatement.” I say, laughing.
She glares at my limp dick hanging like greasy pizza in her hand. “Yeah, this is genital warts,” she says flatly.
“Oh God!” I say, my face dropping into my hands, the tears gushing down my face, guyliner running down my face, feeling sorry for myself and, more to the point, wondering if I’m ever going to get laid again.
“Well what did you expect?”
The tears stop instantly.
“What did you expect?”
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” I ask, my fear and sorrow quickly turning to anger as License Nurse Practitioner Ratched demonstrates her best bedside manner.
“Look,” she says, hands going to her hips. “If this is the kind of lifestyle you’re going to lead, you have to expect this kind of thing?”
I scowl, confused. “What lifestyle?”
She gives me a knowing look and tells me to make an appointment to see the doctor tomorrow.
“I’m not gay!” I yell as she walks through the door without another word.
The next day I come back and see the doctor, a Jewish man as tall as he is wide. He tells me that what I have is actually molluscum contagiousum and that little kids and college wrestlers get it. It’s just a rash. He tells me to man the fuck up as he fires up the electrocauterizer and burns every last nodule off of my cock.
— Dan Thrall’s best days are behind him.