A few months ago I wrote a monologue for a competition. I was one of the finalists which meant my monologue was performed every night for a week at His Majesty’s Theatre, here in Perth. It was a great opportunity and a real encouragement to see my words bring laughter to a crowded theatre.
The actor who performed my monologue was Nick Candy, who can currently be seen on the TV ad for Blueprint Homes did a great job, and we both received a glowing review.
Below is the complete script. The performance on the night had to be less than 12 minutes, so a few paragraphs were cut. The theme was Treachery and Lechery in the 21st Century, which meant my story, inspired by my own experiences from a few years ago, was slightly ruder than my usual stuff.
A huge thanks must go to the Maj Monologues, presented by the Brainbox Project, and I’ll be sure to enter again next year.
Hit the Read More link for the whole shebang, and I hope you enjoy the dark humour.
The best thing about having one testicle is the jokes.
“What did the teste cancer patient say at the party?” “I’m having a ball!”
“What do Lance Armstrong and the Tower of Pisa have in common?” “ They both lean to the left.”
My own story to becoming a Uniballer is filled with laughs, greed and more needle marks than a Keith Richards weekend at home.
Four years ago, I was studying creative arts at Uni. It was my attempt to avoid working for a living. You see, many years ago, my grand parents won the second ever lottery in Australia. They were already wealthy and were shrewd investors, so they were able to retire in their fifties. As part of their will they left a hefty payment to my parents as long as they had children, and had the same deal for myself. So when I was born my parents’ bank account instantly became filled with more zeroes than my school report. My granddad was a rather paranoid Polish immigrant and was determined to keep the family name alive. He thought that if there was a generous financial reward encouraging children then his name would live on. Not a bad idea really, although it didn’t spur me on to pump out any kids. It just made me veer dangerously close to becoming Hugh Grant’s character in About A Boy – a selfish, bored waster of time and money. Landing at Uni was at least a pleasant distraction from any potential cubicle dwelling existence.
Halfway through my “studies” I received a call from my lecturer telling me that my submission for a TV scholarship had been accepted. It was basically a student swap programme for six months. I went to New York and lived with a host family, while my Yank equivalent, Chip, did the same here.
All I’d known of America at that point was what I’d gleaned from Seinfeld, Woody Allen films and those People of Wal-Mart emails. It was a great opportunity, and even twenty hours in a plane couldn’t dampen my enthusiasm.
To actually be in New York was pretty revealing, even though things didn’t get off to a great start as I got singled out at customs and frisked with the kind of fingery enthusiasm I reserved for my first girlfriend.
The host family who I stayed with were very loud, and huggy, and always smiled. Dean and Andrea were a couple in their sixties who both worked in real estate and were so entranced with my Aussie accent that they invited their friends over at least twice a week for dinner, just so they could all hear me talk. It was a bit awkward at first but I soon began to exploit their naïveté with stories of how my grandad invented the platypus, why our traffic system uses different noises instead of lights, and how before air conditioning, all our cities were built underground. Thankfully they were all elderly and the internet was scarier than a hooded teenager, so they couldn’t verify my wild claims and believed every word I said. It was the most captive audience I had since that hostage situation back in ’94. It was a misunderstanding.
At NYU I also managed to use my apparently charming accent to great effect, even though I was sometimes mistaken for British. I was like David Hasselhoff’s singing career – ignored at home; loved overseas. I was constantly being asked to say anything remotely Australian, which generally consisted of quotes from Paul Hogan and Steve Irwin and the worrying, “A dingo stole my baby!” which always made me feel strange with the girls’ giggly response. If it was one thing I knew how to do though, it was, and is, make girls laugh. That, and being able to squeeze through a coat hanger, are my two greatest assets.
The first girl I met in New York, and transformed into a lovelorn puppy for, was Samantha. I was on the subway and although I’d been told never to make eye contact in case you get stabbed for your iPod, I was transfixed by this woman. She was wearing a beret over her short black hair, and a scarf which she had made herself, and was doodling in a sketchbook while humming Michael Jackson songs. Everyone else seemed to be looking at her sideways as if it was illegal to be chirpy, but I was sitting directly opposite her and made a concerted effort to make eye contact, which I did. We exchanged smiles, and afterwards phone numbers, as we both got off on the same stop and I bravely remarked how I greatly admired her doodles, which didn’t seem amusing when I planned it in my head.
We talked every day after that and made each other laugh. She looked like the lead singer from an indie folk band and drank even more coffee than me. She wrote poetry, loved the original Star Trek series and was into cool bands I’d never heard of, which is how I knew they were cool. Sam was great and made my time as a stranger in a strange land a real adventure. I never expected to find me a woman in my short time there, as my previous track record never indicated any such potential. My only pick up line was, “I’m tall, dark and handsome. – In the dark, I’m very handsome.” That line never worked, but t always made me laugh. I guess I had an unnatural confidence with women in New York as I knew I was only a visitor.
Sam helped me settle in to my first day on campus and we parted that afternoon with our first kiss, which was unbelievably awkward which just made us laugh and try again until we got it right.
On the notice board at Uni there were pamphlets for every club and association you could imagine. I joined all the geeky ones with great relish and for some reason my eye (the left one) caught a glimpse of a pamphlet with a photo on it showing a bunch of balding men entwined in a group hug. The title was “Lonely Berries – A Support Group For Sufferers of Testicular Cancer.” My first reaction was, obviously, to laugh, and I just had to read it to discover if this hastily produced, black and white pamphlet filled with spelling mistakes was real, or some kind of weird campus prank. As I read it and its testimonies from men who only shared their first name I was hypnotised. That night in the shower I thought I’d follow its advice and gave myself an…examination.
Now, women touching themselves is oh so sexy, but with men – not so much. Compare Mulholland Drive to American Pie and you’ll know what I mean. I remembered the pamphlet’s shonky photo of how to perform a self-examination, that for reasons of decency, had a male hand not showing the technique on a real scrotum, but a Kiwi Fruit. Trying to ignore my hunger pangs for a Pavlova, I placed my thumb and two fingers on my scrotum and began circulating it around like some sort of forbidden Vulcan nerve pinch.
Of course, I was only half taking it seriously and half expecting Leonard Nimoy to pull back the shower curtain and tell me that my technique was “most illogical.” However what I found was much more dire. My right teste still looked like half the cast of Grumpy Old Men, but now it was as undeniably as hard as a peach pit.
I couldn’t deny in that moment that something was wrong. I slept on it, only slightly concerned over what it could mean. Being a typical male, I just saw it as an annoyance and something that would go away if I ignored it long enough. When it comes to our own bodies we believe we’re beyond danger or disease and like that Monty Python knight in The Holy Grail, we’ll keep fighting even though we’re merely a stump.
In our teens we expel puss and hair. In our twenties we drink, eat and treat our bodies with very little respect, with the upside of having cool stories to tell our mates. In our thirties we get love handles and lose our breath when we run for the bus. In our mind, however, we’re always only one sit-up away from Olympic gold.
In the morning I paid a visit to the campus nurse which was the first in many embarrassing moments in my Trial of the Teste. Upon walking into her office, two things became apparent; I knew her, and she was hot. Her name was Julie and I asked her for directions when I first arrived on campus. We didn’t really talk much, but she knew who I was straight away. The nerdy guy with a cute accent. I thought of making up some fake ailment, but I didn’t think she’d believe I had a bad case of the Andromeda Strain. So I told her the truth, thinking I’ll only see her a few more times anyway before I fly back home. She did shake my confidence when she looked at me sideways, like she thought this was some lame attempt to get her to see me naked. Eventually, with my face a specific shade of tomato, she cupped, and felt and the look on her face changed instantly. That’s when I knew things were serious.
The next week was a scary blur, especially as I’d heard the horror stories of America’s health care system, but thankfully Sam drove me around, and I had insurance as part of the scholarship. She took it a lot better than I did. I just saw it as a minor annoyance and was never in any pain, but Sam was no longer her happy go lucky self around me. It was far from a death sentence, although all those around me seemed to think it was.
The deal with the doctors was that I’d have two months of testing and monitoring, with any major treatment to be done back home, which was a relief.
The frustrating part was the red tape. Even though testicular cancer has a 90% survival rate, there seemed to be no hurry to put me on a plane, so I could hook myself up to a chemo drip. I saw three different doctors in those two months and they all seemed more concerned with my emotional and mental status than the fleshy walnuts between my legs.
The first doctor I saw had a title as strange as his toupee. Dr Ron was, according to his card, a “Specialist in Male Suffering,” which made him sound like an enthusiastic dungeon dweller for the Nazis.
“Ve have vays of making you talk.”
What it really meant was that he was a therapist in a land full of therapists, who helped men cope with life changing diseases or disorders. I could tell he wasn’t interested in any kind of “getting to know you” shenanigans and got straight to business by making me aware of a book that was more terrifying than Stephen King’s nightmares.
Apparently, it was an outdated tome that only Dr. Ron used anymore, and I could see why when he handed it to me and left me alone in his office with it. By this point, I’d already known that I had cancer and that it was likely I was going to lose Old Righty. I was cool with that, as…well, whoever really wants to look down there anyway? Lefty would make up for the testosterone production of his soon to be missing brother, so I wouldn’t be developing breasts or an affinity for the male cast of Twilight anytime soon.
When Dr. Ron left the office I could tell by the huge title on the cover what I was in for, but I couldn’t look away. The book was called “From Duo to Uno: A Gallery of Solitary Testicles.”
And that’s exactly what it was.
Sixty eight full colour pages of men’s dangly bits, from the belly button to the knee. Every age. Every race. Most were front on shots, with a few profiles thrown in for good measure which only made them more wince inducing. The only time I stopped was when I came across the occasional page of a man delicately holding up his penis to give the hapless reader a better vantage point of the solo hang-low. Every time I saw one of these photos I laughed, and every time I laughed Dr Ron re-entered the office with a look on his face that suggested he thought I was having some sort of “episode.”
I can honestly say that any homosexual tendencies I may have had at that point, were being obliterated with the turn of every new page.
Thump (turns an imaginary page)
Thump (turns an imaginary page)
Every entry was a revelation I didn’t ask for. Whenever I blinked I started to see those strange solo pockets made of elbow skin before me. However, I couldn’t help but keep looking. I was hypnotised by these saggy danglers and I have no logical explanation as to why. It was like seeing your Nan dance at a wedding; a deadly cocktail of embarrassment, curiosity and panic, but nevertheless – quite entertaining.
I sat there in an empty room with only the hum of the air-conditioner to tether me to reality. I later searched forever for the book on Amazon but just couldn’t find it. It would’ve been a perfect Secret Santa gift for my boss.
When Dr. Ron came back in and sat down, he told me that the book was created in the late seventies by some doctor who thought that men would be more accustomed to having one less teste if they were used to seeing pictures of it. Though I can attest that it didn’t stop me from freaking out just a little. Adam had the right idea in the Garden of Eden when he realised his nakedness – whack a fig leaf on it.
AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
Let’s be honest – there’s no ugly bits on a woman. The fact that Sarah Jessica Parker can be considered a sex symbol despite here equestrian-like features proves me right. Men have no “nice bits.”
A tight shirt, or short skirt on a woman, revealing the shape of the seductive flesh underneath it (traces womanly curves with hands)– good.
Tight pants on a man (points at groin) – more disturbing than waking up in that toilet from the first Saw film.
Jude Law and Brad Pitt may look enticing to the lady folk when striking a pose on the red carpet with their architecturally designed hair and teeth, but if you strip them and watch them eat a bowl of mussels over the sink, you’ll realise how unappealing the male form is. Whether it’s that homeless man who shouts at the bus stop, or George Clooney, testicles still look like a pair of expired avocados covered in coconut hair. They’re hairy, sweaty, lumpy and bumpy. Hmmm…sounds like four of the seven Dwarves.
I did learn that they attempted to update the book sometime in the nineties, but no printer would produce it as it was a grey area in most states’ pornography laws, so this collection of seventies scrotums was all that was left.
That night, with my mind still reeling from the hairy gallery, I had a nightmare of a huge, walking teste attacking New York, like a Gonad Godzilla, crushing skyscrapers and swatting away fighter jets.
(walks like Godzilla stomping Tokyo)
“I am Scrotumus! All bow before me!”
The following days were filled with more rambling meetings designed to mentally prepare me for weeks of chemo in Australia and with adjusting to life as a cancer patient. I left my studies as was recommended and hung out at my host family’s home during the day channel surfing like a pro. At night I hung out with Sam after her work at a local café.
The future was uncertain and as a typical male concerned with the facts of his own health, ignorance was bliss, at least as long as I with Sam anyway. We were getting along like best friends with opposing genitalia. Most of the time. It was a weird place to be, as she was my only friend, and lover in my new, temporary home. Our romance was compressed because of this illness that had been dumped in the middle of it, but Sam was always by my side. I was head over heels so much that I wasn’t even thinking of my testicles.
All it took was the mention of Sam’s name, the gentle hold of her hand or the smell of her perfume and I was in a far off land. The last time I felt this way was about a girl was when I was twelve and I saw Princess Leia in that cute metal bikini.
Sam and I didn’t agree on everything though, and all I knew about her mysterious family was that her father’s bakery was in the midst of being sued from some greedy customer who fell down on his wet floor. Sam was always close to tears when she thought about her beloved father’s company going bust so I never brought it up. Making a woman cry just isn’t romantic, unless you’re both watching The Notebook.
The first and last appointment Sam and I went to together was with Dr. Ron, who this time wanted to explain to me the option of getting a fake testicle when the time came to lose the cancerous one. Sam and I both found that highly amusing and I had visions of looking at a catalogue of spherical prosthetics.
“Oh look, honey, I can get one with a smiley face on it.”
“How about this one? It glows in the dark!”
“Oooh, and this one makes noises when you squeeze it.”
My grinning delusions of “not taking all this seriously” were quickly displaced when Sam asked her first question.
“Will we still be able to have children?”
I glared at her, but she only held my hand while avoiding eye contact, AND she leaned forward awaiting Dr. Ron’s response. Now, I’d never wanted kids and saw them as a nuisance and financial drain from my selfish pursuits, but in all our hours of talking on the phone and in person over the last few weeks the subject did come up more than once, and I knew that she definitely wanted kids. We were still of course in the “how serious are we?” stage of our relationship, but my silent panic only gave Sam time for more probing questions.
Doc Ron suggested a visit to a sperm donor, because as soon as chemo started back home in Australia, my chances of having kids was nil. That night Sam strongly suggested I move in with her in the last week we had together before I hopped on a plane. I said farewell to Dean and Andrea and gave them the obligatory jar of Vegemite I’d bought with me as a thank you gift, and moved in to Sam’s arty loft.
Now our relationship turned from one of sweet laughter and nights on the couch watching Japanese animation to Sharon Stone levels of seduction. We never had a …physical relationship until that last week together. She knew a raised eyebrow or a gentle flick of her hair got my knees weak and she ramped up her seductive operations to military grade proportions. I was helpless, and was loving every minute of it. Although I was slightly curious as to her newfound sexy phase, I was wary that if I ever brought it up my invisible chastity belt may reappear, and for a guy who plays Dungeons and Dragons and speaks some Klingon, I had to grab any chance at sex I got.
It quickly became obvious that Sam wanted my man juice and her window of opportunity was closing fast. I had told her of my family’s unusual financial situation and the fact that it was tied to growing the family name when we first met weeks ago, but it was always just a casual throwaway, like the fact that I had a Superman tattoo and knew the names of all the planets in Star Wars. Sam secretly saw my love honey as a way out for her father’s predicament though. I’d only met the guy once – a widower, and a big burly fellow with a moustache. He seemed like a gentle soul, but also a man who saw his future crumbling in the face of litigation, America’s favourite past time.
Sam was pretty persistent with her sexual advances and I was caught in her tractor beam, so to speak, and she always mentioned that she had “protection.” I trusted her, and as I’d soon discover, that was my first mistake.
On my last day in the States she drove me to the airport and we hugged and kissed and cried like actors in some bland romantic comedy starring Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey. Yes, I just likened myself to Matthew McConaughey. If I don’t, who else will?
I’m sure you can guess what happened nine months later. Well actually, it was three months, as she was nice enough to tell me she was pregnant, which wasn’t a complete surprise considering our last week together was worthy of Charlie Sheen’s best escapades, minus the drugs, or the paying for sex, although in a roundabout way, I guess that’s what happened.
She, of course, faked taking any contraception and I of course had to take a DNA test to prove the kid was mine, and we both of course shared a big fat cheque from my trust account. Thanks Grandpa! It was a very surreal experience and Sam was, at least initially, genuinely upset at her subterfuge and the way she abused my trust, and my sexual syrup, and I deliberately overreacted in my anger just so I wouldn’t feel so bad about not feeling bad. I mean, was I a gigolo? A pimp? A client? I don’t know, but Sam saved her father’s bakery from going under and I’m still unsure if he ever knew it was all due to my expensive trouser treacle. I did get a very nice email from him once as thanks, but it seemed like Sam wrote it for him.
I guess the upside is that now, after three months of chemo, two operations, and a clean bill of health, the chance of me having kids is non-existent, so no one will ever exploit my valuable sexual syrup again.
Sam is now a full-time mother and she called our kid Leonardo. We still talk but it’s obvious the honeymoon is over. There’s no anger, just the sense that an ill-defined relationship is still a relationship, even though we’ve only seen each other a handful of times in the last four years, and we both remain single. I talk to Leonardo on the phone every week, and I keep reminding him that he’s named after a Ninja Turtle and not the Hollywood actor.
It’s a complicated story with tones of an Old Testament style treachery, but also a fulfilling one in an odd way. Now, whenever people ask me if I’m single or married, instead of ranting on about my solo teste and a scrotolicious book in an old doctor’s office, I just summarise it with that immortal Facebook line; it’s complicated.
Plus, I managed to convince the doctor at Royal Perth that I wanted to keep my removed teste. Apparently I was the first man to ever make that request. I’m not bothered though.
It makes a great Christmas tree ornament.
Now fellas, do yourselves a favour and cop a feel, but please – wait till you get home.