The Haven
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The Haven


The Manogram

After taking this test, size never matters again.

Photo by Marco Verch on Flickr

A Michigan doctor has created a cancer test which is more fun than a mammogram. Yes, there’s still a great deal of squashing. But what’s fun is that it’s done to men, and what’s flattened is far south of their moobs.

Dr. Janinka Jelinek practices on the Leelanau, a peninsula in the Michigan’s Up North known for vast cherry orchards, miles of Lake Michigan beaches, and guys with grungy penises.

That’s because the men treat their tools badly. They drink Pabst by the pitcher, which corrodes their urethras. Go commando in Carhartts®, which chafes their packages. Wear the same undies for days, then turn them around and wear them some more. That’s what breeds aggressive yeasts in their crotches.

Granted, your typical Michigan man does those things. Leelanau men do worse. They don’t regularly clean their nether regions. That’s why moss builds up on their sticks and stones. They freeze their willies for hours when ice-fishing, then warm them briefly in the ice shack when they need to take a leak. That freeze-thaw cycle flakes their skin and cracks their rods. They spend hours watching TV in their skivvies, drinking beer, noshing, and smoking cheap cheroots. Consequently, before making water in the bathroom, they have to shake the cigar ash off their johnsons, and jerk them to cough out the smoke.

Thus, it’s no wonder Leelanau men have gnarly gherkins. And they pay for it with urinary tract infections, fungal infections called Athlete’s Balls, and mushrooms in their crotches.

Then, last year, word got around that men who mistreat their members increase their risk of getting penile cancer. That’s a form of skin cancer, usually on or near the surface of the penis, though it can develop in deeper tissues. Penile cancer is uncommon: it’s diagnosed in less than one man in a hundred thousand annually. And it’s rarely fatal if detected early.¹

Nonetheless, Leelanau men were distressed by the idea that their joystick might kill them. So they took to doing self-exams. Only, they went a little over the top.

Men checked their talleywhackers at least twice a day. Sometimes by feel. More often, they bent forward, put their heads between their knees, and inspected their dingaling up close and personal.

They did it whenever and wherever the mood came upon them. A guy might check under his hood at a filling station. Squeeze his grapes in a grocery store produce aisle. Peek under his napkin while seated at a bar. Pull back the curtains while watching a movie. Feel up his steeple during Sunday services.

These public self-exams unsettled bystanders, but the self-treatments at home were worse. When a man found a suspicious bump on his baloney, he tried to pop it like a zit. If that didn’t work, he grabbed a tool from the workshop. He might try to chip it off with a wood chisel. Rasp it off with a mill file. Scrape it off with a belt sander. Grate it off with an angle grinder.

Dr. Jelinek decided this had to stop. She was spending too much time fixing boo-boos on men’s bats and balls. So she came up with a way to screen for penile cancer. Something reasonably effective, inexpensive, able to be done in the office, and as reassuring to men as mammograms are to women. Her solution: the Michigan manogram.² It’s like a mammogram, only it squishes men’s pickles.

Guys love the idea. An annual exam alleviates their worries about penile cancer. And it’s uncomfortable, which is important. Leelanau men belong to the “no pain, no gain” school of thought. Including when it comes to medical care: if it doesn’t hurt, it’s not working. That’s why they prefer colonoscopies without anesthesia. Vaccinations using syringes with square needles. And digital prostate exams from doctors with square fingers.

Knowing that, Dr. Jelinek did the manograms with ping-pong paddles.

Her process is as follows. She books time at a dentist’s office to use their X-ray generator. It’s attached to the end of a wall-mounted mechanical arm; that lets her maneuver it into a position where it can be fired point-blank at the patient’s peter.

Next, the patient performs a dry run: he practices holding an actual weiner between the paddles. That’s followed by foreplay: he drops his pants, then gets accustomed to the touch of the paddles by using them to whack his wang and thwack his balls. Finally, the main event. The man applies the paddles to the sides of his python (the film is taped to one paddle). He takes a deep breath, presses the paddles together as hard as he can stand, and holds them until Dr. Jelinek sounds a gong to signal the X-ray has been taken.

Granted, the man’s hands may tremble and blur the image. As a result, SOP is to go three rounds. If the man blacks out (which isn’t uncommon), Dr. Jelinek stands over him and counts to ten. If he comes-to and gets to his feet, the round resumes. If not, Dr. Jelinek calls the test on account of fainting.

A man had to be manly indeed to hold the paddles steady enough for a useful X-ray. If he isn’t, Dr. Jelinek gives him a couple aspirin before the test. And to wash them down, an Up North Ball-Buster (a tall glass containing a shot of rye whiskey, a shot of amaretto, twelve ounces of Cherry Coke®, and a shot of 151-proof Everclear®).

The third option — which most men take — is to have someone else hold the paddles. Dr. Jelinek won’t do it; she has to take the X-ray. A nurse can’t do it; none is present, out of respect for the man’s privacy. (And because most nurses can’t help giggling during the manogram.) Therefore, men have to supply their own paddle-handlers.

Dr. Jelinek doesn’t care who does it, so long as they hold the paddles steady. And bring a set of “Mickey Mouse” ear protectors to muffle the moans, whimpers, weeping prayers, shouted profanities, or “For the love of God!!!” shrieks a guy is likely to make during the test.

Men, however, need to be more selective. During a manogram, whomever holds the paddles wields great power over him. They can demand answers to awkward questions. Coerce confessions. Settle debts. Settle scores. In table tennis, ping-pong paddles are just playing equipment. During a manogram, the two paddles can be used to give a guy the third degree.

The average American man knows not to ask certain people to hold the paddles. The ex-girlfriend he took embarrassing pictures of, then shared with the guys at work. The ex-wife whose savings he blew on a get-rich-quick investment in DVD rewinders. The current wife who’s still waiting for a straight answer as to why she smelled an unfamiliar perfume on his shirt. Found a book of matches from a no-tell motel in his pants pocket. And saw scratches on his back she didn’t make.

Sadly, some guys don’t realize this ’til their puds are ‘tween the paddles.

[1] “Key Statistics for Penile Cancer”, The American Cancer Society,,%2C%20Africa%2C%20and%20South%20America.

[2] The Michigan manogram is not the same as, similar to, or associated in any way with The Manogram® Project.



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Miss Catherine La Grange, spinster

Miss Catherine La Grange, spinster


Retired high school social studies teacher in Michigan’s Up North. I’m a Presbyterian spinster, but I’m no Angel.