Tim Gilmer
A long time ago, 1985 to be exact, my wife and I decided to make use of the latest techniques for extracting sperm from a para and inseminating it into the para’s wife. So began a period in our combined lives in which everything other than our sexual organs became of secondary importance. Now that can be a fun time, yes. But it can also be stressful, mainly because those “latest techniques” usually involve white-coated hospital technicians treating your genitals as if they belong to the public domain, not the pubic domain.

Another thing that happens — in the male’s case, at least — is that you can become fixated on “practicing” in order to boost those sperm counts. As a young teen, it goes by the name of masturbation. As a paralyzed adult, it’s called “research.” And as every budding scientist knows, reputable research involves looking through a microscope.

So I went to a local science store and bought one and began scrutinizing whatever could be coaxed from my damaged testicles. Not only did they not work properly due to my spinal cord injury, they most likely had internal scar tissue due to a painful bout with epididymitis when I was in rehab. My balls at that time, summer of 1965, swelled to near balloon size and got all shiny and pink, then — thank God — gradually deflated. But I digress.

You would not believe the diversity of spermatozoa that escaped those damaged orbs during my practice sessions. To appreciate this, let me tell you what a healthy bull’s sperm looks like under a microscope. That’s right, bull’s sperm. His name was Bud. He was the curly-topped master progenitor of a small herd of cattle on our farm. A vet took a sample of Bud’s semen, put it under his microscope, and we looked at it. Millions of tiny tadpole-tailed swimmers writhed in a teeming frenzy. I was truly impressed, even astounded, at the thrashing spectacle within a single drop of sem