Humor by Greg Schwem

"Where's the remote?" I screamed at nobody in particular one recent Saturday. College basketball was about to start and I was determined to catch the entire game, as opposed to spending the first few minutes shoving my hands into our furniture's every crevasse before actually locating the electronic lifeline to my flat screen.

My wife appeared, clutching the precious device in her left hand. "It's right here, honey," she said, a touch of evil in her voice.

"May I please have it?" I asked. Only instead of handing it over, she held it behind her back. "Not so fast."

"If you're expecting me to sit or roll over like the dog, may I remind you that my knees are killing me," I replied. "Since when does the remote come with a ransom note?"

"First, answer one question. Do you want any more children?"

"Right now I'd prefer some chips and salsa."

"I'm serious," she said, switching the remote to her other hand and extending it high over her head. "Do you want a third? Or a fourth?"

"Honey, if you're in the mood now, I can record the game. Of course that also requires that thing you're holding."

"Yes or no?"

"NO, I DON'T WANT ANY MORE KIDS!" I screamed, my voice reverberating throughout the house.

"Geez, what did we do?" my 15 year old yelled from her room.

"We thought you LIKED children," her 10-year-old sister replied from the basement.

"WHAT is this all about?" I demanded.

"Apparently you didn't read the Harvard study concluding that excessive TV watching can lower your sperm count."

"I try not to read anything that comes out of Harvard. Too many big words."

"Well you should have read this. Did you know more than 20 hours of weekly TV viewing can reduce your count by up to 44 percent?"

"Did you know that reading too many medical studies can reduce your enjoyment for life by up to 100 percent?"

"I'm just saying that maybe we wouldn't have needed, you know, 'help' to have our daughters if we'd known then what we know now."

CONFUSED READER ALERT!: "Help" is a synonym for "fertility specialist" -- although the Microsoft thesaurus would never suggest it.

"So I should blame our inability to conceive on Jerry Seinfeld and the cast of 'Friends'?" I asked, referring to the characters I howled at religiously -- even in syndicated reruns -- in the early '90s when we made the decision to start a family.

"It's possible."

"Yeah, but 20 hours? A week? If I had the house to myself for a week, I wouldn't watch that much TV."

"Oh, yeah? What would you do?"

"Change the subject please."

"You watched 15 hours of Super Bowl coverage in one day."

"Hey, that's an exception. And besides, that hourlong documentary on the history of the coin flip was fascinating."

"So, you think the study is wrong?"

"Actually, I hope it's correct," I replied. "This could be a great alternative for men considering vasectomies. No need to go under the knife anymore. Just buy the 'Star Wars' box set on DVD, curl up on the couch and hit auto repeat."

"Go ahead and make jokes," she said. "Forget all the pills, the injections and the blood draws I endured just so I could get pregnant."

"WE could get pregnant," I corrected her. "I was with you every step of the way."

"You were in the waiting room. With all the other wannabe dads."

"But I was there. It's not like I dropped you at the front door and went to a tavern around the corner."

"OK, you were there. And what were you doing the entire time?"

"Reading magazines," I said. "And . . . watching...TV."

She huffed as only wives know how to do. "Enjoy the game," she said, surrendering the remote.

College hoops shouldn't come with so much guilt.

Humorist Greg Schwem is a stand-up comedian and author of Text Me If You're Breathing: Observations, Frustrations and Life Lessons From a Low-Tech Dad

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