‘V’ means more than ‘victory’ during March Madness


(Reprinted from March 17, 2011)

In the 1940s, making the “V” sign with one’s index and middle fingers meant victory, as in the winning of World War II.

In the 1960s, longhaired hippies flashed that same sign in resistance to another military conflict. That group said they wanted peace, but what they really meant was that they wanted no piece of the armed-forces action.

Now, in 2011, when men hold up their two fingers, they’re telling their spouses or significant others that the action they desire is a vasectomy.

At least it’s true when March Madness is on the horizon. In a report presented last week on a variety of media outlets, the number of men scheduling that particular surgery escalates right before TV coverage of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament begins in earnest.

(This story, by the way, perfectly illustrates what is referred to as a “slow news day” in our business. But let’s forge on anyway).

Having recovery time coincide with tourney time is, I have to admit, pretty cagey. Doctors have done their part to prod prospective clients into making a snip decision by incorporating tacky slogans and promising consolation prizes to replace the children those men will no longer be fathering in the future.

One Oregon urologist, for example, uses an ad that urges men to “take care of the equipment and lower your seed for the tourney,” while another in Wisconsin encourages would-be patients to “let our boys take care of your boys.”

It’s a good thing these individuals make a living as physicians and not funny men. An even better thing is that, thanks to the dumbness of the jokes, they probably won’t be giggling while they’re cutting, so shaky hands shouldn’t victimize clients.

As far as the giveaways to compensate for the one big takeaway, some doctors are offering March Madness deals that include such things as mugs, T-shirts and pizzas. Somehow, my own appetite has suddenly been lost.

For guys to whom the NCAA Tournament is the sporting equivalent of nonstop sex, this is a surefire way to get the best of all worlds that don’t include carnal relations, which will be put on hiatus for a while. Not only does surgical recovery mean lots of time spent in a recliner or other suitably comfortable piece of furniture, but patients also will be doted on by their females, each of whom will see her man’s willingness to undergo the procedure as an indication of his love for her.

I’m not going to even try and connect all the dots on that, but everyone knows it’s so.

And maybe there is some sacrificial truth to such an act because, as every male can attest, we all tend to wince at anything that involves our nether regions, or anyone else’s, for that matter. Heck, simply watching some of those rubber-limbed types do the splits is enough to immediately make me check my own condition.

Frankly, I think there are easier ways to arrange tournament-viewing time. For instance, take your mate out to dinner at a nice restaurant, one that has big-screen TVs strategically stationed around the room. Just be sure you’re facing one of them at tip-off.

Sure, you won’t have uninterrupted access because, somewhere along the line, you’ll have to engage in a bit of small talk. But it’s a night out for your lady, and the setting might put her in a romantic mood.

Since tournament coverage eventually concludes each night — and, more importantly, you’ve spared yourself the pain of a vasectomy and, thus, are still in complete operational mode — that could lead to something much more satisfying than a first- or second-round victory by your favorite school.

If you’re a cheapskate, suggest that your mate invite over a few couples for a visit. Or better yet, try and wrangle an invitation from one of them so you’ll be spared prep time and won’t have to help clean the house. Either way, the women can enjoy a lengthy girl-talk session while the guys congregate in whichever room contains the biggest TV and debate the merits of the shot clock.

You could also try and get your mate interested in watching basketball with you. This has undoubtedly been made more difficult by the fact players no longer wear short shorts, but try anyway.

A possible downside to this strategy is that you’ll likely be asked to watch some romantic movie with her at a future date, but at least you’ll know that your basketball viewing will proceed unimpeded. If you’re really lucky, hoops will become the most important thing in her life for several hours, too, although it’s hard to imagine any woman being as shallow as we men are in that regard.

But if you still insist on going through with the big “V,” remember to follow doctor’s orders: lots of rest, lots of basketball, and lots of moaning and groaning to gain added sympathy.

And try not to cringe every time a certain college basketball announcer gets referred to as “Dickie V.”