Great thing about being British is, of course, that mine didn’t cost a penny! But the surgeon did insist on bringing my wife into the initial meeting and she had to indicate that she agreed to my having the procedure. It seems that some men had the procedure without consulting their wives, whereupon the ladies themselves divorced their husbands and sued the doctors for destroying their marriages -go figure. My good lady was of the opinion that it was my body, and I could do as I pleased with it!

So I’m there, with Anne, in the day-surgery clinic, and in comes a nurse with a pink disposable razor -”You need to shave the area.”

“Got a mirror? Only I’m not so limber any more.”

Nurse gives dirty look and leaves. I hand razor to Anne “Would you?” Then, being me, “Careful, love! That fur coat you were after? I’ll get it tomorrow! Was it diamonds or sapphires for the necklace?”

Anne’s saying “Stop making me laugh or I will slip!”

Pained voice from next cubicle “Will you two knock it off? You’re making me laugh and I’m in for a hernia!”

Trundle into theatre, lie down on table. Surgeon enters “Morning! Mr Atkinson? Vasectomy? Still sure you want to do it? Right then!” Turns on radio. Pop music blares out, sighs and changes channel. Classical music.

“Lights and exposure, please!” Nobody but Anne has taken so much interest in my groin for years!

“You’ll feel a sharp scratch…”

Nurse — nice young woman, muscles like a weightlifter, seizes the arm opposite to the testicle being worked on in a death-grip. It seems that some men lash out reflexively at this point. Sharp scratch. Sensation like about half a pint of ice-cold water being poured into left testicle. Surgeon asks “Planning to go anywhere nice this year?” Reply with strangled “Eeep!”. Surgeon nods gravely. Certain amount of pulling about downstairs. “Other side now!” Surgeon announces. Rinse and repeat. “Finished! Well done, Mr Atkinson!” I haven’t done anything. Never mind.

Anne drives me home. “Why so slow?” I ask. “There are sixteen pot holes in this road.” She tells me. “If I drive over one, you’re going to go through the roof of the car!” She may be right. ‘Pins and needles’ in testicles is a new sensation.

Arrive home. Spend three days protecting groin from rambunctious children. Return to work. Explain absence to class of teenage lads. Watch them wince, then spend half an hour answering their questions.

I don’t feel like a superhero.

Snapper-up of unconsidered trifles, walker of paths less travelled by. Advocate-in-Ordinary to His Satanic Majesty.

Snapper-up of unconsidered trifles, walker of paths less travelled by. Advocate-in-Ordinary to His Satanic Majesty.