Sunday, January 22, 2012

'Choose Carefully, My Friend'

As the Most Interesting Man in the World might say. An Iranian medical journal published a study of a 21-year-old who developed a permanent erection after having the phrase “Good luck with your journeys” tattooed on his penis. (Harper’s Magazine, “Findings,” Jan. 17, 2012) Evidently his tattoo "took."

I'm unsure where this story should be filed: either it goes in my "Too Much of a Good Thing" file, along with stories about, say, breast enhancements gone awry . . . 

. . . . or the Ladies' National Basketball Association

.  .  .  or elderly people who should be wearing clothes but aren't, showing far too much skin:

Or it goes into my "Be Careful What You Wish For" file:

(Exhibit A: Ray Wuz Here B4)

I've already suggested "condoms with scripture verses embossed on them" for the devout - Romans 9:18 comes to mind: "Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden." But up against a condom, if you'll pardon the expression, a tattoo would be a commitment. Judging by this photo, penis tattoos in predictable motifs hold their niche among the cosmetic arts.

Viagra advertisements caution users to consult a doctor if, upon application, an erection lasting more than four hours should result. I always figured that should the circumstance present itself in my own person, a doctor would be the last person I'd call. But on further reflection, I may have been rash  - I can see the incommodity of such a permanent or persistent state (its unpredictability being an incommodity every chap has learned to live with).

It may have been the inscription itself more than the cosmetic procedure that occasioned the lasting inconvenience. "Good luck, indeed," sniggered some unseen cosmic malefactor, and perversely granted the poor fellow his wish in spades. “Based on our unique case,” wrote the study’s authors in the cautious understatement of genuine scientific endeavor, “we discourage penile tattooing.”

In any event, the recipient of the tattoo prudently consulted his doctors, alas to no avail - the authors of the journal article note that subsequent attempts to alleviate the difficulty with surgery proved unsuccessful. “Because of the painless nature of erections, moderately good preservation of erectile function during intercourses, and disappointment with former surgery, the patient has declined to undergo further therapies, and lives with his condition.” Thereby making a virtue of necessity or lemons from lemonade, however you choose to see things.

So it seems that eveything has worked out, sort of. I'm unable to ascertain whether "Good luck with your journeys" is a Koranic verse, but I can't imagine The Prophet ever having said it. Choose carefully, my friend. Name it "Herman" if you must, but in case it takes, don't name it "Pee Wee."

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