When 9:15 pm rolled around, I was just tired. I was tired from soccer practices followed by soccer games followed by volleyball practice. I was tired from cooking and doing yard work. I was the kind of tired a parent gets when all three kids want something all day and you do your best to give it to them. That’s why I didn’t see the phone sailing through the air.
I was tired from trying to convince three little people that it was time for bed. Exhaustion is a nice phrase that people use but they don’t know what exhausted really means. This is parenting exhausted. The part of being a father where your brain just can’t take it anymore and shuts down. Your father brain doesn’t see. It’s not aware. It cannot move away from the flying phone.
I did not see the phone sailing come at me. A younger version of me would have seen the phone as it inched closer. The version of me that used to stay up past midnight because it was fun. That guy was dumb, but at least he wasn’t tired.
I actually watched the cell phone reach its apex of about 32,000 feet. I thought to myself, wow, that’s really high up. Someone should catch that. The phone started its descent after checking in with Houston. It was reminiscent of a meteor breaking the atmosphere. It picked up speed, and yet, my tired dad brain decided that nope, we were done moving for today.
The cellphone hit me right in the junk. Well, the right side of the junk to be specific. And like some secret powerful wizard was guiding it, it hit me with the corner. I had no idea rounded cellphone cases were so sharp and pointy. It shouldn’t have hurt as bad as it did, but every guy reading knows that velocity and weight really have nothing to do with it. When it comes to our neither regions, it’s all about location. The slightest graze is enough to make you double over. And this time, well, the cellphone hit the father load. The sweet spot, the glorious mythical place, does indeed exist for us gentlemen.
The breath rushed out of me along with some spittle. I slid out of the chair holding my injured baby makers and got to my knees; the universal sign of “ball injury.” Outside, I could hear all my male neighbors yell. This hit so hard that it reached across all manhood within a twenty-mile radius.
I gasped and coughed and tried to sing a lullaby to myself until the pain went away. I couldn’t remember the words through the throbs. I curled up in this position for eons, wondering why hadn’t I just gone to bed. I looked up to my wife, the thrower of the cellphone, to see her face red with laughter. My beautiful wife. What life must be like without testicle pain?
Lovingly, I asked her “What the hell, man!”
“I wanted you to look at something I was reading,” she said in between snorts. Then she went back to laughing. I was hoping that it was something important to cause me such severe pain. If we hadn’t already had three kids I would be doubting my ability to make any more.
“You could at least say sorry,” I told her.
Apparently, she told me to “catch” and didn’t get the nod from me to go ahead and throw the phone. She just assumed I had heard her and perhaps I would have if I wasn’t in a coma-like state from parenting exhaustion.
“I did say I was sorry,” she said.
“When?” I asked.
“When you were moaning on the ground.”
It seems to me that an apology is not very sincere when the recipient cannot hear it in the first place through moans of agony and chortles of laughter.
I grabbed the phone and looked at the article. It was 10 Halloween costumes that should have never been made. That is what caused my pain.
I’m done today. Tomorrow I’ll wake up in full-on battle gear.
Previously Published on Hossman-at-Home