Unless his father is rich, a graduate student in computer science will most likely end up supporting himself by working on university research projects or, if he doesn't speak English, by teaching undergraduates. These students make less than a freelance can recycler. A few students work part-time at a useful craft or trade that supports them in comfort. I decided that I would practice such a trade: Professional sperm donation, the jack of all trades.
During my first visit to the sperm bank, I was taken to the office of the doctor in charge. His walls were covered by medical degrees and citations for his achievements in sperm preservation. One of the citations said "Honorable Discharge", which I thought was a bit grandiose. "It is of the utmost importance that semen samples remain sterile," the doctor explained. "Sterile semen?" I oxymoroned. "Thus, samples must be produced by unassisted direct manual stimulation of the genital protuberance." "Huh?" "Choke the purple-helmeted love nazi." "Oh." "Furthermore, before the production of each sample, there must be three days of abstinence." "Three days? 4320 minutes! Is that really a good idea?" I had visions of being rushed to the emergency room to have my scrotum lanced and drained as it expanded like a Jiffy Pop bag. "I'm no doctor, but I think an hour of abstinence is enough. I mean, we're not aging a fine wine, are we?..."
I was scheduled for a donor room, where I would have to deliver samples, piping hot, in 30 minutes or less. I didn't know if I could become aroused under such conditions. I was of an impressionable age when I first saw Racquel Welch in "Fantastic Voyage", and afterward I could only be aroused by women who wore rubber diving suits and were covered by foot-long antibodies. (These days, having your partner in a rubber suit covered with large antibodies is not a bad idea.) I've since grown out of this habit. Although now I can only become aroused by a woman if she turns the letters on my "Wheel of Fortune" board game. I decided to get some men's magazines for immoral support. As a teenager I found Penthouse to be highly stimulating. (As a teenager I found everything to be highly stimulating. I had to take up tennis just to explain my tennis elbow.) However, Penthouse photographs are often rendered in a diffused soft focus, which is why you go blind. Eyestrain is the reason you often see men crying when they read the magazine. Once, when I was fourteen, my father wondered if he should get a subscription to Penthouse. "Great idea!" I panted. "It offers an insightful editorial posture and interviews with personalities of topical interest." He shrugged indifferently. "You have to get it! You absolutely have to! It offers guides to fashion and accessories, goddammit!" I shrieked before passing out. Now I've started to actually read those articles. I used to put magazines under my mattresss so they wouldn't be found; now they're there for lower back support. I thought that, if I'm going to be a professional in a medical facility, I should forget the over-the-counter products like Penthouse and look for more potent prescription remedies in the shops of the red light district. These magazines did not have interviews with personalities of topical interest. Their titles generally were the names of female body parts. One was called "Female Body Parts". The magazines might serve a medical professional as references of female anatomy and its many diseases, but they were too much for me. I settled for this month's issue of "NBC Anchorwomen in Chains". As it turned out, I was able to wield Excalibur without anxiety in the clinic's donor room, and I looked forward to returning there on my twice-weekly visits. I didn't appreciate it at first, but I eventually realized what a terrific room it was. It had a wicked, shameless chair, a voluptuous, come-hither lamp and a coy, pouting paper towel dispenser. However, the room was small, or perhaps it only seemed so because when there I was usually homo erectus, so I was constantly upsetting lamps and clearing shelves. Okay, maybe not.
I produced so many test specimens that the doctor could have built an infant from scratch and avoided conception altogether. But after several weeks, the testing was over and I was sent back to the doctor's office. He said that I had been accepted into the program: my sperm count was five times higher than average. There it was. In seconds, I had become an awesome engine of fertility, a sexual force to be feared. Condoms and diaphragms could be shredded by my Zulu sperm cells as their superior numbers overwhelmed the British outpost of the ovum. My minions could overcome any female contraceptive resistance and commit countless acts of microscopic date rape.
My ego was further engorged by the fact I'd finally met someone who wanted me just for my body. I was a sex object, meat on the hoof. The doctor obliged by talking about me in the cold quantities of sperm counts and motilities, reciting my "tale of the tape" as us pro athletes call it. He also referred to donor candidates by number instead of name to preserve anonymity. To the doctor I was The Man With No Name, a hired gun. "A hun'rd and ten million! That's pretty good shootin', stranger. What'd you say your name was again?" "I didn't say...."
From now on, I would be paid. My one-armed bandit had consistently hit the jackpot, and now I was going to cash in. Some guys think their penis has a mind of its own. Mine had a career of its own.
It was during my next visit, as I approached the main desk, that I first saw her: Candy the candystriper. I had never been particular about my women. Two X chromosomes sufficed. But Candy was different. Perhaps it was t
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