I’m not sure whether it’s due to sleep deprivation or the early onset of dementia, but I’ve caught myself talking to other people about a plethora of topics of which I know nothing. To hear me speak, one would think I’m an expert witness for the subject du jour; in reality, I have no idea.
I don’t mean to mislead others, but in my enthusiasm to be helpful, I often start sharing information and opinions as if they were verified and true. For example, the other day I was in line at the grocery store, trying to sort out why the celebrities without makeup featured on the scandal sheets were celebrities, when I heard the woman standing behind me say to another woman, “I don’t even understand how Billy would even become a woman! What are they going to do? Cut his talleywhacker off?”
Before I could stop myself, I turned to her and said, “Actually, it’s called a penectomy. The surgeon, basically, removes the testes and penis, but inverts the skin of the foreskin and penis to shape a fully sensitive vagina and clitoris.”
Both women blinked at me. I worried I might have been presumptuous by inviting myself into their conversation, when she teared up and said, “God must have sent you to me to tell me that, you angel.”
““Well, I don’t know about that.” Realizing I might have gotten myself in deeper than I should have, I pushed my items closer to the cashier, so as not to waste any time.
““I just don’t understand how my grandson, Billy, could feel like he’s a girl born in a boy’s body. He’s six-foot-four and weighs 220 pounds and played high school football.”
I smiled. “It happens in the best of families,” I said, motioning to the cashier with my head to scan my protein bars faster.
““Have you been through a penectomy, yourself?” the woman asked.
““No, no, no, I’m still very much in tact.” I slid my debit card through the credit card reader so fast it sparked. “You know, if you just google transgender support groups in Atlanta, I’m sure more knowledgable resources will come up.” I grabbed my bags and ran out the door.
Back in my car, I wracked my brain, trying to remember where I’d ever heard of a penectomy, then recalled I probably remembered it from the Brian De Palma film Dressed to Kill, which I had seen on cable as a teenager. I promised myself I would never try to be helpful and give information to others like I was an expert witness.
Since that time, I’ve shared information about hamster allergies, prostate massage for better health, practical uses for buffalo dung, implements of torture and execution in 15th century France, the secret formula for Coca-Cola, and why the character of Dana Scully on The X-Files is so popular with lesbians. Clearly, I’m out of control, so don’t listen to me if I offer to give you advice on to make the perfect barbecue sauce with peanut butter.