Taking Too Much Viagra and Getting Your Penis Amputated Is No Laughing Matter

Stop giggling and put yourself in their shoes.

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01 oktober 2013, 7:00am

The worst thing about taking so much Viagra that you end up having your penis amputated is that no one will feel any sympathy for you. You will not receive a rush of cards saying “With Deepest Sympathy Upon Your Literal Emasculation”. There will be no wreaths bought for the memory of your penis, because no one will define you as a victim. In the eyes of the world, when a man loses a penis in such a way – as 66-year-old Colombian farmer Romeo Gentil Ramirez Polania did last week – it is his own fault. It's the sort of thing you do through your own sheer carelessness. Its premature cremation in a medical waste furnace is simply the sting in the tail of a morality play that is as old as Eden – man, greedy for experience, has too much of a good time. And by the laws of fairytales, we all know how too much of a good time ends, i.e. in a very bad time indeed. With a loss of face, of life, or simply a cherished genital organ.

So, the next time you come across a story about one of these men who've been betrayed by their Viagra stash, think twice before forwarding it to your friends in an email with the subject line "looooooooool". Instead, try to put yourself in their shoes. Try to imagine manoeuvring your new stump over the toilet bowl and fielding endless unwanted calls from medical documentary-makers; being left with nothing much to ponder bar the day your nightmare was plastered across the world’s And Finally... columns.

This journey from dodgy internet chemist to public ridicule – via agony, A&E and the planet's giggling media – is one that seems to be made fairly often, though admittedly the details of the most recent case of planet-wide Viagra-embarrassment are extreme. “I took the medicine on Saturday at seven o’clock at night but by nine I was in so much pain I had to ask my neighbour to take me to hospital,” explained Polania to a journalist at La Nacion last week. After Romeo's horror story unfolded, it was picked-up by Reuters, and AP-ed around the world’s newswires. Rewritten, rephrased and relaunched in dozens of different languages onto a thousand syndications, all with the same, unifying slant – which roughly translated as: Ahahahaha, look what this silly dickhead's gone and done to himself.

Who knew that your tragedy could be Wednesday’s lunchbreak comedy for the entire world? That your puffy but average-sized penis, already mottled with age as your 66-year-old pubis continues to shrink back like a retreating glacier, could become international click-bait? The analysts in Canary Wharf have already read the piece about Robin Thicke’s latest misogynist outrage. The secretaries in Newark have done their duty being outraged by things that only people on the internet could care about. Now, the strivers and the shitmunchers just want to relax. And you – a sexagenarian Colombian farmer, forced to consider whether death is preferable to the life of a sexual invalid – are going to provide the downtime to go with their hastily gobbled tubs of Itsu.  

Your mouse hovers. It comes to rest on the story of your own penile amputation. Of the worst day of your life. The day you caught that bus across town – hot, sweaty, panicking beneath the heavy coat disguising a sizeable erection still burning like ice-fire in your lower quarters – feeling faint from lack of sleep, surrounded by a grab-bag of proles continuing their workaday bus conversations. The prickly, unquenchable dryness in your throat a medical side-effect of your overdose.

The mouse clicks. The story loads, the world starts reading: “Mr Polanía said he paid 2,500 Colombian pesos – around 80p – for the pills…” The only outward expression at this point is a slight broadening at the mouth, the first, sly signs of an amused grimace. “On arrival at the infirmary, doctors told the pensioner the only option was amputation so the inflammation and gangrene that had begun to develop would stop spreading to other parts of his body.”

The story mentions how Romeo wanted to impress his new girlfriend, but it doesn't go into detail about the doctor’s thin moustache, his unusually small hands. His curt manner. The smell of disinfectant on him. "I’m sorry," he said, as you sat in the examining room, fully erect and half-naked, utterly humiliated, in front of him. "It will have to go." No one will know of how you were forced to go through all seven stages of grieving in the course of the following hour, before the gurney could be found, the anaesthetist summoned, the scalpel sterilised.

Is there anything we can do? Are you sure? Are you really sure? What about money – I have money. For god’s sakes. I have a house. I could sell that if it helped. Money’s no object… please? “I’m sorry,” he says. “It’s not a question of money.” And your blood turns to ice. And a geyser of panic boils up in you – is this real? Is this happening? And then –

The mouse clicks onwards. Apparently Katy Perry has done a controversial video that knocks "Wrecking Ball" into a cocked hat. The bottom three paragraphs remain unread.

As you struggle on through depression, suicidal thoughts, a self-esteem rocking zero on the clock, you try to console yourself with the knowledge that, if you added up the micro-seconds of happiness your story brought to millions of news-grazers the world over, it would probably tot up to the same joy felt by a proud new father. Or someone who had just won upwards of $230k on a lottery. That has been your gift to the world – no cards for this organ the size of a shrew that has touched so very many lives this week. No wreaths. But in lieu of flowers, you were responsible for a small amount of joy being re-upped into the universe. It’s a calming thought. It’s the only calming thought.

Collage by Marta Parszeniew.

Follow Gavin and Marta on Twitter: @hurtgavinhaynes / @MartaParszeniew

Previously – How Grand Theft Auto Defeated the Moralising Idiot Brigade

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