by Andreas Economakis
The pain started sometime around noon, a little before our 45-minute lunch break. The slight tingling I’d been feeling in my stomach suddenly became an intense and nauseating throbbing in the groin area. It felt as if a vindictive Darth Vader was reaching down my throat with his arm, slapping my stomach out of the way for good measure and then grabbing my boys with an iron fist, trying to squeeze the life out of them. I stagger-sat on one of the suicide-car pillars in front of the El Venizelos Airport main terminal for some relief but sprang quickly to my feet. Sitting only made matters worse. I could not shake the intense pain or my increasing distress. Cold sweat trickled down my back and I swallowed stale spit.
Allow me to backtrack a bit. I’ve never in my life ever had any penis problems. Well, to be perfectly honest, I mean physical penis problems. I think that all men without exception have greater or lesser psychological issues with their members and, heaven knows, I’m no exception. But on the whole I’ve never had any major concerns down there. The old fella generally shows up when there’s a parade so… nothing to report back at headquarters. And I never get stomach pains. Ever. I’m the guy who can eat greasy street market carrion like a stray dog, drink worm infested waters on overly trod hiking trails with impunity, swill liters of rancid Retsina in dubious island taverns (where the good stuff tastes like turpentine), even get punched in the Johnson in mid sleep by a somnambulant ninja girlfriend. I always walk away whistling “What A Wonderful World.” But not today. What was wrong with me? Cancer of the stomach? Ebola of the penis? Did a glass fragment get lodged in my Johnson from that precarious street gyro I’d scarfed the night before? Is there such a thing as testicle dengue fever? Oh Jesus! I was not ready to die! Not for mini me!
With no apparent medical history regarding groin or tummy issues, I started to analyze what I’d done just before the pain started to determine if I myself wasn’t the unsuspecting culprit, the invisible Darth Vader who was working my cojones like stale Play-Doh. (Cut to: Audio: heavy breathing, through helmet. DARTH: “There is no escape Luke.” Audio: Heavy breathing again. “Don’t make me destroy you.”)
My morning had begun a little earlier than normal but in the usual way: a quick shower, a cup of freshly brewed yet bland Jacobs coffee with a dash of fresh Olympos milk (3%), a goodbye peck on my warm and sleeping daughter’s cheek and a mad yet slow dash to the airport on my geriatric 1952 BMW R51/3 motorcycle. I was working on a facial cream commercial, a rather silly spot about a bright-eyed yet harried stewardess rushing to catch her flight and wanting to look as fresh as a springtime stroll on Schinias Beach. I skipped the catered breakfast of congealed mayonnaise sandwiches and fly-infested Greek revolution biscuits to avoid possible food poisoning and strolled on set with a steaming shot of Lavazza espresso instead. The tingling feeling started about an hour later, as we were moving locations between our parked Airbus and the main terminal. I didn’t make much of it at first, thinking that my hungry stomach was growling to make its presence known. I suppose the fact that I wasn’t hungry should have set off some alarms, but commercials have a way of distracting you from trivial little things like starvation, sanity and health.
Come lunchtime my groin was feeling like an unwelcome guest, an irritable and clinging baboon, a cumbersome object weighing me down. I became a little more than worried. I’ve always been a fan of the “pair of shoes” philosophy with regards to health and body parts. See, I believe that shoes are perfect only if you do not feel them on your feet. Shoes should effectively be invisible, not there. The moment you feel or are aware of your shoes, then they are bothersome and distracting you from other more important things you should be dwelling on. It goes without saying that if you are aware of some part of your body, whether it hurts, tingles or is generally on your mind, then you need to fix it to make it invisible and not a nuisance again. I pretty much have this philosophy about many things in life, especially material objects like automobiles (with the one hypocritical exception of my bike), clothes, houses, gadgets, hair, some people and, dare I say it, penises too. Why would anyone want to dwell on or have people dwell on their schnitzel? What’s that about? If I die do I want to be known for the package in my pants or for discovering some groundbreaking cure to throat cancer or global warming? I’ll take global warming over Dirk Diggler any day.
Noticing the disturbingly large bulge in my jeans, my 501’s stretching to capacity to cover my growing problem, I hastily decided to abandon my unappetizing plate of air-dried mushroom pasta and make a quick and painful trip to the terminal bathroom for a gander under the hood. I don’t like that word, terminal. It leaves nothing to the imagination, no hope. Was I terminal? Heart pounding, I decided to enter the handicapped bathroom, which was more private. I felt handicapped (or handi-endowed if you will) and this way I could drop my pants in front of the mirror without arousing too much suspicion. I could just imagine what people would think in the regular men’s room if they entered and saw some tired-looking dude fondling his braciole in front of the mirror, jeans bunched up around his ankles, pervert twisting and turning for the money shot of his tool. (My girlfriend and I once unwittingly sat down next to this blonde dude at Jones Beach in Long Island as he was playing with himself, at first under his towel, then in plain shocking view. Dude was yanking his pizzle with gusto, with red-faced creepy-happy gusto, all the while staring at us with saliva drooling down his face. No amount of visual or verbal derision from us or other sunbathers seemed to dissuade this primitive deviant. And where in blazes are the police when you really need them anyway? Sure, pull out a tiny roach in the middle of a deserted Dume Cove and cops swoop in out of nowhere like a pack a bristling Valkyries, but have a real problem with some misanthrope jerking off in public and… they’re about as around as your kid who’s been called into the kitchen to eat a plate of raw vegetables when a brand new Toy Story is airing on TV. With regards to Cro-Magnon towel-boy, we beat a hasty retreat in the knick of time, just before he exploded with a primitive grunt on the piping hot sand. I made a solemn vow to never ever bring out my junk in public. It’s just not right. Who wants to see that?) One should keep their Sphinx in a hat.
I locked the door and tentatively fingered the button to my jeans, rather stressed about what I’d discover once I’d opened my drawers. It was big, whatever was in there, huge! Had a python snaked its way up my 501’s looking for its young? It felt like the space shuttle Discovery was coming to a stop under my belly button, jockeying for space in a hangar built to accommodate a Cessna. I lowered the zipper and braced myself, expecting the General Sherman to pop out and clock me on the chin. Zipper all the way down, I took a deep breath and closed my eyes. With trembling hands, I pulled my jeans and baby blue boxers down to my ankles. That’s when I saw it. Oh dear god!
There’s a common belief or myth that all guys want a large penis. What melons are to women, sausages are to men. I won’t get into the subject of breast augmentation for that’s a subject more than well covered by the press and a trillion internet sites. I’ve never been a fan of fake breasts, appreciating the variety that reality has to offer. Who wants plastic when you can have the real deal? In fact, I’m so against it that when my girlfriend once brought up the subject I retaliated that if she went through with it I myself would opt for penis reduction surgery. That’s right. (She: “Peanut, you there?” Me: “Oh, you bet! I told you so…”) Yeah. These days of course penis reduction doesn’t sound all that bad. If only it didn’t involve surgery. Well anyway, to get back to eggrolls, people seem to believe that being super-sized down under is a plus for just about anything in life. Lovers love it, confidence comes with it, people respect it, everyone wants a piece of it or, well, all of it. Big is cool. Huge rocks. Anyone who has a large knish becomes an instant celebrity, be it on the local or international circuit. The list is long (pun intended) and even if you avoid stupid tabloids or online chatter it’s thrown in your face with large underwear billboards of European footballers (appropriate name or what?) and tight-jeaned Hollywood stars (notice the word wood in Hollywood? No coincidence there.) Yeah, size matters. That’s what everyone wants you to believe.
Allow me to be the first to respond to all you pundits who espouse this phallic philosophy. You are mentally ill and you are surely tiny down there and probably up there too. There is nothing cool about having a mamba that’s too big to handle. If you think parking a Hummer in downtown Athens is difficult, trying parking an 18-wheeler semi-truck in your jeans. Or while you’re at it, why don’t you just take a stroll with a couple of bowling balls stuffed into your underwear? Wash down a Big Mac with 20 liters of Coke and don’t go the bathroom for a day. Try swimming with an ironmonger’s anvil tied to your waist. That’s what big is. Huge doesn’t rock. It sucks! And it hurts.
I looked up from my groin to the mirror in disbelief, hoping that what I’d just seen was an optical illusion. It couldn’t be right. This “thing” between my legs could not possibly be mine. What kind of cruel joke was this? Was someone fucking with me? Did our evil caterer spike the pasta sauce with psychedelic mushrooms instead of some cheap supermarket porcinis? What heinous crime did I commit to be cursed with such an enormous trouser trout? Jaw dangling all limp from a stunned face, I picked up my alien appendage with my right hand, trying to verify if it was real, trying to determine if it was really mine. It was very heavy. And hard to handle. I needed both hands to move it around. Heart jackhammering in my chest, I felt faint, faint like I was about to pass out. But I couldn’t possibly let myself faint. If I did, some poor handicapped person or maintenance mechanic would stumble upon me in my primitive state and I might cause them a heart attack. Worse yet, they would snap a cell phone photograph of me and I’d get tweeted all over the world. I would inevitably end up on some cheap porn site next to a badly shot video of Tommy Lee. I’d become instantly famous, more famous than a jacked up Charlie Sheen and his various goddesses, that crazy warlock napalm poet actor. Hung like a winged horse and swinging a daiquiri machete… winning! Dripping Tiger Blood while streaming… winning! Nice show you fucking loon. Maybe it’s all an act, a promo, a performance, like that other doped out actor Joachim Phoenix’s rap star mocumentary act. Maybe, though I think it’s all the drugs and porn stars and money that fuels it. Who knows? Yeah, I’d become the talk about town… wherever that town is. Where do they make porn films anyway? Vegas? Sweden? Sherman Oaks? Shit, I’d have to buy a Corvette and start snorting coke again. I hate Corvettes. And what would my porn name be anyway? I’m not Italian, so Italian Stallion is out. I’m Greek, so… The Greek Geek? Hmm. Nice ring to it, but it somehow doesn’t feel right. Greek Heat? Close, but I could probably do better. What rhymes with Greek anyway? Let me think. Meek. Leek. The Greek Leek! No… Too vegetarian and it sounds like a plumbing problem. The Greek Sheik. Not bad, but a little too upscale. Newsweek. Don’t read it. Sleek. The Sleek Greek. That’s better…. but there’s something slimy about it. How about freak? Freak! Yes, that’s it! The Greek Freak. That’s what I am! A bloody Greek Freak of nature. A monster. If Madame Tussaud made a wax statue of me, they’d surely place me between The Elephant Man and Michael Jackson. Well, actually, they’d probably ship me right off to the Sex Museum in Paris so as to not offend prudish evangelists.
I came to the sudden realization that I needed to get myself looked at stat, in the ER way, not in the dirty TMZ tabloid way. I needed medical attention. The pain was ever present, though admittedly playing second fiddle to my ballooning shock. How would I explain this to friends and family? “Yeah dude, it just happened. Funniest thing! One minute I’m chilling, next thing… Bam! I’m freakin’ John Holmes! Can you believe it? Yeah bro, it’s real! Don’t worry, it won’t bite you! I keep it in a special sling Calvin Klein designed just for me. It’s called the Bronco. ‘Bronco! For Magnum-Sized Men.’ Gotta go now! I’m starring in a Trojan condom commercial with Mel Gibson, something about barbarians, horses and explosions. Michael Bay’s directing.” Jesus, I felt dizzy. A doctor. I need to see a doctor! My panicked brain shuffled through all the possible excuses I could use to excuse myself from my own film shoot midway through the day. I kept drawing a blank. One thing was for sure. Just about the only thing I could not say was the truth itself. “Gotta go now! See, it’s as big as an elephant’s schlong. It’s ready to burst. Wanna see?” No, the truth was out of the question. And any other excuse, aside from being hit by a speeding car by the producer himself would still not get me off the hook. Shit. I was going to have to brave my way through the rest of the day, hoping the pain wouldn’t increase and that no one would think that I was working with a massive boner hastily tucked into my undersized jeans. That’s creepy. I’ll never work in this town again. Who gets horny on commercials? Dimwitted advertising folks, that’s who. Wait… Redundant statement. Who wants to work with a pervert anyway? Only other perverts and porn people like to work with perverts. Oh god!
Well, luckily, the pain did not increase, nor did the size of my problem. Had either grown I would have had to borrow a skirt from our wardrobe stylist and call 166 for an ambulance to haul me away. I could just picture myself being whisked away by EMT, a howling transvestite stewardess with a massive hard-on. And so I decided to gut it out, traipsing about like an embarrassed Priapos, the impotent mythical Greek fertility god, protector of male genitalia and farm animals. I did my best to conceal old yeller, cocking my body in a way to minimize viewing access to my phallic bulge, the same way someone might angle their face, wear make-up or grow a mustache to conceal a pesky Herpes lip sore. I think I was able to fool most everyone, save a for a stray dog who kept staring at my package like I was hiding a bone in there (which of course I was). I did get a couple of enquiries as I strolled about the set, both the Key Grip and the Hair Stylist wondering why I was walking around all bow-legged and with a limp. I managed to brush them off with fake athletic bravado and a made-up story of my playing soccer with my daughter in a pot-holed filed field the day before… after having run a marathon for fun.
At around 5pm I was finally able to yell “That’s a wrap people!” in Greek (“Zat iz ey rap beebl!”), and I made my customary farewell round with the crew to thank them. I may be hung like John Holmes and in need of medical attention but rude or unappreciative I am not. Truth be told, I feared coming off as speedy and jittery during this saying goodbye business, so I tried to slow myself down so that people wouldn’t think I was wigging out on crystal meth. Relief was on the horizon and that was a powerful elixir, a horse tranquilizer to my worried brain and super-sized penis.
Leaving a trail of hand-flung kisses to crewmembers who were busy wrapping cable on tailgates or scurrying up rickety ladders, I hobbled quickly to my bike, intending to bee-line my way straight to my local IKA, the State-run clinic in Athens that accepts my State health insurance. I wasn’t ready yet to cover the 1,500 euro deductible I would have to pay from my private insurance to have my prodigious pud looked at in a private hospital. Private insurance was only for emergencies. I don’t know why I still believed that having a pecker the size of an overfed ocelot was not an emergency. Was it because Christmas was around the corner and my daughter was expecting presents? Her list was as long as my… uh, well, you get the drift. Money was tight, damn global financial crisis, IMF, corrupt politicians and greedy banks. My health was important but trying explaining to a 3.5 year old why there’s nothing but home-baked carrot cake, typing paper origami birds and promissory notes under the Christmas tree.
(…to be continued. Tune in next Monday, March 21, 2011 for Part 2 of “Size Matters,” a chronicle of the author’s strange phallic experience and even stranger ride through the Greek public health system in his quest to reduce penis size.)
This piece is part of a collection of stories on blindness entitled: The Blindness of Life.
Copyright © 2011, Andreas Economakis. All rights reserved.
For more stories by Andreas Economakis click on the author’s name below.