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Those Wacky Bobbetts


by Curtis Wiggins


I swore to myself that I wasn't going to do this. I swore I would not write anything about John and Lorena Bobbett and their tendency to cut off body parts. But John Bobbett appeared today as a guest on a Tampa radio station, and get this, he was selling T-shirts commemorating his ordeal. So I just couldn't leave it alone. The best I can hope for now is to make it through the rest of this without using the word "penis." (Whoops, I just used it, didn't I. Oh well, so much for that.) Yes, he was really selling T-shirts. You have to admire his entrepreneurial spirit, but I can't help thinking there must be an easier way, or at least a less painful way, to make a buck.

In case you are one of the three people in America who have been living in a cave and haven't heard about those wacky Bobbetts and their zany antics, here's the story so far. Lorena, who may have been a battered wife, decided she just couldn't take it anymore. So one night she grabbed the closest available butcher knife, sneaked into their bedroom where John was sleeping, and proceeded to whack off his, uh, manhood. Ouch. Excuse me while I wince for a moment. Then to add insult to injury, she stuffed his dismembered, uh, member, into her purse, jumped into her car and went for a leisurely drive. And I thought my wife kept some strange things in her purse. At some point she realized she still had little Johnny in her purse, and, deciding maybe that wasn't the kind of thing a lady usually keeps in her purse, she tossed the unfortunate body part out the window and into a field. Now, I have seen some strange things tossed out of cars and lying on the side of the road, but I have never seen a ... Well you get the idea. Because John watched TV, he knew that in an emergency he should call 911 and William Shatner would summon the paramedics to his rescue, and soon the paramedics were out searching the field looking for the little guy. As if being a paramedic wasn't a thankless job to begin with. Well they found it, and thanks to the miracle of modern medicine, the doctors were able to reattach the runaway puppy to his very grateful master. They say he should regain most of his functions within a year. I'm not sure exactly what they mean by most of his functions; I can only think of two functions, and they both seem pretty darn important to me, but that's what they said. I have to think that this brings the whole concept of stitches being painful to an entirely new level. Excuse me while I wince again.

There are really only two reactions people have when hearing this story, and the reaction you have depends entirely on what sex you are. Women tend to find the whole thing amusing, if not downright hysterical, while men tend to crouch over and wince quietly. Women seem to feel a certain sisterhood with Lorena, and often say thins like "good for her," or "serves him right," or "you go, girl." Men, while knowing intellectually that John must have really messed up big time to provoke that kind of reaction, can't help but feel a deep seated empathy for his situation. Men also tend to hope and/or pray that this doesn't give our wives and/or girlfriends any thoughts on how to use those new Ginsu knives we got them for Christmas last year. Men seriously consider hiding all the knives and forks and accept the idea of eating everything from this point on with a spoon. For the rest of our lives. It's a small price to pay, considering. We also begin to regret buying all those nifty power tools, and think this may be a good time for a garage sale. Some men even think that maybe its time to consider an alternative lifestyle. Women seem to enjoy seeing this kind of nervous behavior in men.

On the other hand, there are actually some things about this story that I find reassuring. First, of course, is the affirmation that battered wives do not have to be helpless. They can take things into their own hands, so to speak. Although, chopping off your husband's little buddy isn't exactly the course of action I would recommend. Secondly, it is nice to know that if I am ever separated from, uh, Mr. Happy, there are people out there who are willing to help me go out and look for him. But I think the most reassuring thing is that if I ever find myself sitting in an emergency room with my favorite body part sitting unattached in the Igloo cooler next to me; there are doctors with the expertise and technology to reunite us. I'm beginning to get a Six Million Dollar Man flashback: "We can rebuild him, we can make him better than he was, stronger, faster..." Well, okay, maybe not faster. But I found a newfound appreciation for modern medical science. I think it's just nifty what they can do these days.

However, miracles of modern science do not come cheap. John has evidently racked up some major medical bills from this little escapade. It seems that reattaching your manhood can cost an arm and a leg. (I have no idea how much reattaching and arm or a leg would cost.) I wonder if the Clinton health plan would cover this sort of thing. Somebody should ask. In any case, Mr. Bobbett has embarked on a media tour to raise money to help dig himself out of debt, hoping to make the most of his newfound fame before his fifteen minutes runs out. And he is selling T-shirts. I forgot what they said on the front of them, but it had the word "severed" in it. Actually, I didn't forget. I got as far as the word "severed" when I winced again and missed the rest of it. On the back of the shirt is that famous rock-n-roll quotation "Love Hurts." Yep. I'm not sure I would consider it "love," but I sure can't argue with the "hurts" part of it. I also don't think that's exactly what they had in mind when they wrote the song.

What happens to John and Lorena now? Who cares. Nothing that happens from this point on can be anything but anti-climactic. Oh sure, there will be some trials. John has been charged with abusing his wife, and Lorena has been charged with assault with intent to castrate, or something like that. Or maybe it was kidnapping, I don't remember. Of course, I imagine there are a few people around suing somebody over something related to this. But however the story ends, it can't possibly grab our attention (or John's) like the way it began. Lorena will get the satisfaction of knowing she stood up to the man who abused her. She will probably never remarry; women with a history of slicing things off of the men in their lives tend to scare away potential suitors. John, on the other hand, will get a very unusual scar, and an interesting piece of conversation for the next few office parties. I still wonder though, why is John piddling around with radio shows and T-shirts, when everyone knows the real money is in selling the movie rights.


(c) 1993, 2000 Curtis Wiggins




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