An Apology To My Young Son

My wife was down the hall crying.  There was a lot of blood.  And my young son was screaming at the top of his lungs.

If there was any way I could have switched places with him at that moment I would have. Uh…maybe.

I talk a lot about risk/reward on this blog.  It is the basis for success in trading, and if you can’t quantify it, you might as well quit.

Life is full of similar situations.  Sometimes you cut down the alley way and risk getting your head kicked in by some outcast OWS protesters for the reward of shaving 5 minutes off of your commute.

I did something that at the time did not seem too risky, but in retrospect probably was; and my poor son had to indirectly suffer the consequences.

It was three years ago yesterday that my eight month pregnant wife and I flew out to Vegas for the weekend.  My sister lives out there and I figured it would be the last time we could see her for a while until after the baby was born.  Besides I had heard that prego ladies were lucky for shooting craps.

Flying wasn’t the risk.

Despite popular belief, flying while pregnant is not necessarily a risk.  The cabin pressure and the altitude don’t affect the baby, nor will they induce labor.  Trust me, I Googled it.  The issue with a flight is the length of the flight; just in case you happened to go into labor, it’s not the best place to be.  Fourteen hour flight to Sydney….out.  Fifty minute flight to Vegas….no sweat.

We got into town, settled in at my sister’s place, had a nice meal and went to bed early.  The next day we got up and began to discuss what we would do for the day.  I suggested the Hoover Dam.

Risk On…!!!

Actually there were three bad risk decisions I made here.

1.  Hoover Dam is in a pretty isolated part of an already isolated area.

2.  Is was going to clock in at about 108 °F that day.

3.  It was a walking tour.

At any one of those points I should have called it.  I kept asking my wife if she was up for it, and of course, like the trooper she is, she said she was.

We were only at the dam for about 10 minutes before I got the, “I think we might need to go” look from my wife.  Her water had broken.  Game on.

Fortunately my sister was familiar with the area, and my brother-in-law is a physician, so she knew which was the closest hospital, and he called ahead to alert them to our impending arrival.

Things proceeded so fast, and so unexpectedly that we still had only narrowed his name choices to three.

I literally had “Cameron,” “Camden,” and “Campbell” written on the nurses whiteboard in the room and my wife was “sounding them out” with me as the epidural was going in.

“Campbell Lund” she would say to me.  “No, too Scottish,” I would reply.

We quickly eliminated “Cameron” too as I hated “Titanic” and Camden it was; though my writing was so messy the nurse thought is was “Clamden.”  Clamden….really?

Anyway, though he was a month early, and a bit light, he was healthy and seemingly happy, and it looked like we dodged a bullet.  I gave myself a pass, figuring “no harm, no foul.”

Then we inquired about when they would be doing the circumcision, and that is when we first found out that in Nevada they don’t do circumcisions in the hospital.  In fact, the hospitals in Nevada don’t even stock circumcision kits.  In “The Silver State” a circumcision is performed at the first pediatrician visit a few days after leaving the hospital.  No problem we figured, we will just have it done when we visit our pediatrician back home in Cali.

Two days later we rented a car and drove back home with 6 lbs, 8 oz of extra baggage.  We called our pediatrician and set an appointment up for a few days later.

It was at that appointment that we learned that most Californian pediatricians (including ours) did not do circumcisions out of the hospital anymore.  In fact, none of the pediatricians we called or were refered to did them out of the hospital anymore.  One top of that, our insurance company told us that since we left the hospital without having the procedure done, we were no longer covered for it.

So because we left the hospital, which didn’t offer the procedure, without having the procedure done, we were no longer covered. Okay, fine I thought.  I will just pay for it out of pocket.  I mean what could it cost to snip off a bit of foreskin, right?  Try $2,500.00….!!!

Hi-fucking-yooooo……!!!

I just had a very tough year in the market and we had laid out a lot of cash in the “creation” process of our son; if I could avoid paying that $2,500.00 I would rather not.  Also, we still didn’t even have a doctor who would do the procedure.

After a lot of back and forth with the insurance company, I finally got them to acknowledge being the assholes that they were, and they approved payment for the procedure.  And after an extensive search, I found one of the only pediatricians left in Cali who did circumcisions in his office, which was about an hour away from our house.

But by now my son was six months old.  It was a totally different ballgame.

By now he had gotten a chance to be aware of his mini “manhood” and wasn’t numbed in that semi-haze that a freshly popped out babies are for the first few days.  How was he going to react to this procedure?  I winced myself at the thought of it.

Once I saw this in the doctor’s office, I winced a lot more.

Why did I suggest a trip to Vegas?  Why the Hoover Dam?  Why didn’t I just call a mohel, drop a nice donation off to his local synagogue, and get this thing done back in hospital in Nevada?  All these thoughts were running through my head as I imagined what my son was about to go through thanks to my bad risk analysis.

At this point my wife had to leave the room.  It was now up to me to deal with this procedure that I was sure would cause my son to have night terrors well in to his 60′s.  And all of it was my fault.

They strapped him on to the “board” and he laughed and smiled at me with his angelic face, and if at that moment Satan himself had appeared and indicated that I deserved a couple of eternities in Hell for being such an A-hole, I would not have protested.

They swabbed a gel on the “area” to numb it, and then came out a needle with which to inject a local anesthetic.

There are certain things in life that just should never be next to each other.  “Needle” and “Penis” are pretty much at the top of that list.

He let out a small squeak, and I thought “just maybe” we could get out of this thing relatively pain-free.   But then came the clamp, and the cutting, and the blood…….

After all was said and done, it worked out okay.  The doctor and his nurses were great. Once he got a bottle in his mouth he calmed down pretty fast and actually fell asleep on the drive home.

Over the next few weeks we had to change the dressing a few times and I have to say it caused me a little bit of stress.  The initial aftermath of a circumcision at that age looks a bit “rough.” I worried, “What if he cut too much off?”  Or “What if he did it wrong and it mutated like one of those two-headed snakes,” which come to think of it might not have been such a bad thing.

But it turned out fine.  A few months later, at his regular check up, his pediatrician, who happens to be a very attractive Latin woman actually remarked, “wow, the doctor really did a good job, it’s beautiful.”  “Like father, like son,” I said (in my mind).

My son turned three yesterday.  He is no longer a baby, or a toddler, but is turning into a little man.  I love him and his sister with all my heart and still cannot figure out what I did to deserve the blessing that they have become in my life.

I’m pretty sure that he doesn’t remember any of the events I described, and that there will not be any residual mental effect from it.  But even so, I just wanted to say to him that I am sorry that he had to go through it all just because of my bad judgement.

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46 Responses

  1. As a woman, I’m a little surprised with the reactions of the women…it’s a circumcision. The kid does not remember it. Be grateful for that. If you find it unnecessary, don’t do it with your kid! Find something real to argue with folks about.

    • As another woman, I’m surprised at how easily another woman will just wave away harm to a child. If a child is harmed but doesn’t remember it, does that make it ok? What if a woman is drugged and then raped, but doesn’t even know it when she wakes up, does that mean she wasn’t harmed?

      Those of us who are against this procedure feel this way because we believe it harms the child and violates his right to bodily integrity. What kind of people would we be if we just said “well it’s not my child being harmed, so why should I care?”

      • Believe whatever you want but remember you have NO RIGHT to force your beliefs on others. So don’t circumcise your sons-I don’t care. But remember also that there are other traditions in families and religions that should NOT concern you.

      • Aaron Ashcraft said: “Believe whatever you want but remember you have NO RIGHT to force your beliefs on others.”

        Exactly. And that is precisely what you’re doing when you circumcise another human being.

  2. unnecessary sexual cosmetic surgery. traumatic at the least, sexual abuse at the worst. your glib details, including the attractive latin woman (what’s that supposed to mean?!) and the comparison of your son’s now mutilated penis to your own, yeah right, keep patting yourself on the back. vile.

  3. This story breaks my heart on so many levels.

    First, at any point in finding someone who would cut the child’s penis, did it occur to you that maybe your son’s healthy penis was just fine, since no one was really stoked about cutting it? If you encountered so many roadblocks in the cutting of the penis, at any point, redflags didn’t go off that maybe this was worth some real research?

    As parents we are obligated to protect our children. Your son’s penis cutting surgery was far from protecting him; rather it was painful, traumatic, and he may suffer psychologically (studies show many men do). Perhaps by cutting his penis, you were instead protecting yourself, not your son.

    Protecting yourself from having to be reminded of your own circumcision every time you look at his natural penis. Protecting yourself from real or perceived pushback from family members who also subjected their sons (including you) to this trauma. Protecting yourself from dealing with cognitive dissonance of the truth of this harmful practise, and the truth about male sexuality as it evolved to be.

    Circumcision does not protect children at all, it protects us, the adults from facing the ugly truth about this harmful cultural mandate.

  4.  “A few months later, at his regular check up, his pediatrician, who happens to be a very attractive Latin woman actually remarked, “wow, the doctor really did a good job, it’s beautiful.”  ”Like father, like son,” I said (in my mind).”
    That is the sickest thing I ever heard! Implying she finds a baby’s penis beautiful like father like son. Are you a pedophile? I truly hope your son never reads this story. It’s deeply disturbing. The way you talk about your son like he’s not a person & your ignorance that it being done after birth while they are in a daze or however you phrase it shows how uneducated you are on the topic. I guess you wanted to make sure your son couldn’t fully experience sexual pleasure since you can’t. And seriously implying you needed reduction surgery on a blog post about a child is sick. Quit talking about your penis when you’re talking about your child’s. Should we call you Sandusky? Please grow up & stop acting like an arrogant frat boy. You’re a father for crying out loud.

  5. I feel terribly sorry for a child whose parents paid money to have his penis mutilated. That’s sexual child abuse. If you really are a practicing Jew, you must know that the original covenant with God is found at Genesis 15. Why would a conscientious Jew sacrifice his own child’s genital integrity rather than take the lives of a few animals and birds? Genital mutilation certainly has no religious meaning for a child, who can only express his opinion by screaming in pain and going into shock. You are just lucky he didn’t bleed to death.

    • Awwww, come off it. This is not a bad thing. Every day THOUSANDS of Muslim and Jewish kids have their foreskins removed. It is NOT a big deal; it is NOT mutilation. You may not like it, but parents have EVERY RIGHT to have their sons circumcised as a part of their religion as well as part of their family traditions.

      My son was circumcised as an infant, just as millions of others before him. I was circumcised as an adult-both my wife and I prefer it. Making love is BETTER for both of us as a consequence.

    • Whoa, hold on there. Do men prefer women with large breasts? If yes, then should parents have their daughters surgically altered to please men?

      But to answer your question, there have been surveys that have found the majority of women who have experienced both prefer intact men. I’m sure you will find that most women prefer what they’re used to, so women in circumcising cultures seem to prefer circumcision while women in non-circumcising cultures prefer intact men.

      It’s irrelevant though. You simply have no right to surgically alter another human being based on the sexual preferences of some other human being.

    • this is a strawman poll that takes away from the discussion. With 75% of the world intact, I would say the strong majority is in ‘uncircumcised.’

      The foreskin allows for a rolling action, a gliding of the penis in and out of the vagina, friction-free. When a man is circumcised, it rubs directly, causing inflamation, soreness, or just plain discomfort on the sensitive vaginal wall. The need for artificial lubricant is a byproduct of circumcision since the intact penis creates its own lubrication, adding to the woman’s, and providing enhanced pleasure. No drying out.

      As a woman who has had both intact and cut partners, the difference is noticeable. There are no uncomfortable jabs, pokes, scraping, or painful rubbing with the mobility of the foreskin, and the tighter the circumcision, the more uncomfortable and painful sex can be for women. When you change form, you change function.

      Since this generation of sons being born today are being left as nature made them, the girls of their generation will also experience sex with cut and uncut partners (at a much higher rate than any previous living generation), and they will be privy to this little secret on the joys of the foreskin.

      Overall, cutting a child’s penis today is short sighted as our culture moves further and further away from this archaic and pointless ‘tradition.’

  6. Enjoyed the post and the stroll down memory lane. Yes, that was a fun and eventful visit! But you failed to mention you left Vegas a winner, which not many people can say. You left with a beautiful, healthy son who is turning into a great little guy.

    Oh, by the way, you are a kick ass father (you had a great role model) and the haters can just vomit their nonsense elsewhere.

    Love, your sis.

  7. I love all of the comments here tonight lol

    First of all, equating circumcision and the rate of sexually transmitted diseases is just ridiculous. It has everything to do with culture and education. On the matter of non-circumcised males receiving more pleasure, and having more girth/length…ask my wife if this circumcised penis should be any bigger ;)

    I applaud you Brian. He is your son, and it was ultimately your decision as his father and guardian.

  8. I accidently came across this blog…and i just want to say, you americans are weird. I am from England(lived all over Europe) and we don’t do this. I am gay and seen my fair share of penises, not one was circumcised, not even the russian jew i was with. Why, why would you remove any part of a child’s body when there is nothing wrong with it. We have lower rates of sexual dieases than the USA too. So i don’t think it really works

  9. Good lord people he didn’t amputate the kids arm. To the person equating male and female circumcision that’s a little bit disingenuous dontcha think. Enjoyed the post as always! Having read your stuff for a few months I most certainly do not feel sorry for your children quite the opposite.

      • Aaron Ashcraft, as a woman, I can see it both ways, having been with intact and circumcised men. Since you have only had one penis in your life, you are entitled to your opinion but I would rather listen to your wife about whether sex is better with you before or after your foreskin removal. It may be that way for you now but you did not have years of desensitization as most men who were circumcised as infants so there is no similar correlation. Talk to me when you are in your 50′s and let me know if you are better off. That still does not give others the right to remove foreskins from infants. You chose your circumcision, one of the 1% of men who do. That child did not get to choose, that is all I am saying. No circumcision until men are adults, then I will be happy. His body, his choice.

  10. I totally get it … watching a little guy experience any discomfort is too hard for a parent.

    Mine was in hospital and he was fine … who else managed to let a belly button snip (whatever they do) get infected … oh for a fork in my eye.

    Thanks.

    • I have several Jewish friends who decided their child’s right to bodily autonomy was more important than a covenant with a being who made that body part in the first place.
      If you respected your son, you would let him decide if he wanted to part with his foreskin as an adult as part of YOUR religion. Religion stops at someone else’s body, that is why many Jewish parents have a Brit Shalom instead of a cutting ceremony, everyone wins there.
      Funny you think your penis is so big, with a foreskin a man’s penis is longer and has more girth, pleasing both the man and the woman during sexual intercourse. I have had sex with Jewish men, they are alright but an intact lover is what 85% of the women in the world enjoy. Men who are circumcised have lost so much sensation, they are reluctant to use condoms resulting in more sensation deadening. America has the highest rates of HIV and other STI’s in the industrialized world. Men in European countries and Japan, where most are intact, have the lowest rates. Interesting fact!
      BTW: the belly button has no nerves and is O K to cut at birth, albeit after it stops pulsating and doing it’s job. The foreskin does it’s job admirably for the man as long as he has it.

      • Tora: I have had it both ways, since I was circumcised as an adult. Sex for me and for my wife is actually better being circumcised than it was before. I am now a far better lover, since I don’t achieve an orgasm as quickly as before.

        You are a woman and I don’t expect you to understand or comprehend what I just wrote. Sorry, but you are not entitled to an opinion based on stuff you have read, but cannot experience first hand!

      • Aaron, you are correct in that sex is a subjective experience. And since it is subjective everyone should be entitled to decide for themselves how they want to experience it.

      • go aaron! a little PE can be a harrowing experience!

        for me..i just give all my girls one simple warning “this is going to be the best 30 seconds of your life”

  11. 1. The hospitals in Nevada don’t do circumcisions or even stock the kits.
    2. California pediatricians do not do circumcisions out of the hospital.
    3. The insurance wouldn’t pay for it.
    4. Out of pocket it cost $2500.
    5. It took an extensive search to find the only pedi in California who would do it in his office.
    6. By now your son was 6 months old.
    7. When you saw what would be happening to him you winced. A lot.
    8. Your wife ran down the hall crying.
    9. The blood.

    At any one of these points you should have called it.

    All of this over the unnecessary pain and trauma caused by non-medically necessary surgery on an unconsenting individual in the most personal area of his body at one of the most vulnerable times of his life. Your son is a human being who should have been afforded the right to his whole, perfect body.

    • Hmmmm….suppose I am Jewish and this is part of his “covenant with God” that is asked of by our faith, and that I deeply believe in?

      • There is no “covenant with God” when the procedure is performed in a clinic or hospital setting. If you’re so devout, you should know that.

      • >>suppose I am Jewish and this is part of his “covenant with God” that is asked of by our faith, and that I deeply believe in?

        Your right to freedom of religion ends at another person’s body.

    • PunkinheadDeluxe it would have been the most cruel thing in the world to not have done it for his child!
      how tramatic would it be when ‘YOUNGLUND” is off doing young man things and he has this HOT DOG’S GOT A HOODY!

      he is sitting in the back of his dads volvo one day and young lund is pasionately making out with a young lady maybe trying to go for some hand to hand combat action and her first reaction to him is “whoaaa you got a hoodie?” “the pig in the blanket?” “is that a penis ladle?” “cheese beanie?” “rumpleteaser?”

      or if he makes the basketball team and they are all showering and this poor “young lund” is the only one rocking a SNOZZLE.

      NOW that is tramatic! and brian saved him from that! trust me. My dad wouldnt let me shave my chest hair in 3rd grade and i never forgave him.

      • kuna100, I’m not sure if the 100 refers to your age but it’s apparently been a long time since you were a teenager. Circumcision rates in the US have dropped dramatically in the last decade and are currently around 50%. This practice is well on its way to the grave – where it should be. By the time Brian’s son finds himself in the backseat of a Volvo with an “experienced” friend having an intact member will be the norm.

  12. Wow, the fact that all these roadblocks were put in your way did not deter you from circumcising your son? $2,500! Wow, that money could have been put to better use by starting a college fund. No one told you that you could have NOT circumcised your son, left him intact as nature made him, perfect and whole? He would have been like the majority of the world if he had kept his functional penis, because by removing the foreskin, you change the form of the penis and therefore, the function. It does have a purpose, just as your daughter’s clitoral hood. I am sorry you did no research on keeping your son intact, hopefully he will be OK with his penis reduction surgery. Good luck.

    • Thanks Tora. Penis reduction surgery is a common event on my side of the family as all the Lund males are “packed.” Mine cost $15,000 but I made the mistake of going to a guy who charged by the inch.

    • @Tora Spigner: Since you are an RN, I presume you also know that rates of HPV & cervical cancer are far lower among women whose husbands are circumcised. Check out the statistics from WHO: countries with the lowest rate of circumcision have the highest rate of cervical cancer and HPV.

      I was circumcised as an adult in order to protect my wife.

      • @Aaron Ashcraft:
        “I was circumcised as an adult in order to protect my wife.”

        Then unfortunately you were circumcised needlessly. Circumcision does not reduce HPV or cervical cancer. Studies claiming such have largely been discredited. The American Cancer Society does not recommend circumcision for cancer prevention (penile, cervical or otherwise). Not to mention there is an HPV vaccine – making it unnecessary for men to amputate the most sensitive part of their anatomy for a woman’s “health benefit”.

  13. Did it ever occur to you that there’s a reason no one would do it? Because it’s harmful and unnecessary. And you talk about your son like he’s not even a human being, it’s revolting, really. I feel very sorry for your son.

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