“A man cannot break his penis,” Kylie, my twenty two year old waitress, exclaims.

“Sure he can,” I reply.

Don’t ask me how we got on this subject because I forgot. Waitstaff conversations are free associative exercises that usually culminate in sex talk one way or the other. Penile fractures, I think, qualify as “other.”

“Kylie,” I say, “I cannot believe you don’t know this.”

“And what’s that supposed to mean?” she retorts, hotly.

I chuckle softly to myself. Kids. I pull two straws out of my apron.

“You ready for a little anatomy lesson Kylie?” I ask.

“Yeah Mr. Wizard,” Kylie snorts, “Educate me.”

I unwrap the straws and hold them at a horizontal angle.

“A man’s penis contains two chambers running alongside the urethra called the corpora cavernosa,” I explain, assuming a jaunty professorial air. “Usually they’re flaccid – limp. But when a man, uh, sees something he likes, these chambers fill with blood, making them rigid.”

“Uh huh,” Kylie says.

“And then,” I say, slowly raising the straws in my hands vertically, “Upsy daisy.”

“Guy gets a hard on,” Kylie says.


“So what does this have to do with a penis breaking?”

“Well if a man’s penis hits an immovable object with enough force…..”

I take my free hand and slam my palm down on the erect straws which, of course, SNAP.

“……that happens.”

Even though Kylie’s a girl she winces in pain. And probably dear readers, so are all of you.

“Ouuuuch” Kylie groans.

“It ain’t pretty,” I say, “But you asked.”

“That’s gotta hurt.”

“Oddly enough it doesn’t at first,” I reply, “The penis just swells up, often at odd angles. But, trust me, the pain eventually hits.”

Kylie looks like she’s about to throw up.

“Most guys are dopes,” I continue, enjoying Kylie’s discomfort. “They sit around for hours, embarrassed before overwhelming agony drives them to the ER.”

“Can they fix it?” Kylie asks.

“Sure,” I reply, picking up the damaged straws. “You see the cracks here? They sew them up.”

“I’m sure it’s more complicated than that.”

“It’s the same principle.”

“You should’ve been a doctor.”

“Me?” I exclaim, “I just like watching the Discovery Channel.”

“Man, I’ll have to be more careful with my boyfriend” Kylie murmurs.

“Ride ‘em cowgirl,” I chuckle.

“You’re funny,” Kylie deadpans.

“If you ever hear SNAP,” I say, “Take him to the ER.”

“You’re giving me a complex.”

“Just broadening your horizons,” I reply. “Trust me, a guy likes to know you’re looking out for his little friend.”

“So if that happened you’d go to the doctor right away?” Kylie asks.

There are some benefits to approaching forty. Not being embarrassed about this stuff is one of them. I look Kylie square in the eye.

“If I ever broke my penis I’d demand to be evacuated by helicopter.”

Kylie breaks out laughing. I throw the straws in the garbage.

“There endeth the lesson,” I say, “Now let’s get back to work.”

Later that night a woman sucking on a Diet Coke asked for another straw. Hers, it seemed, had a crack in it.

Somehow I managed to keep a straight face.

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