My first memory? A first memory of violence, being circumcised at the age of three. There were good medical reasons for it, of course. [Perhaps.] Nevertheless, I remember it vividly - it was very unpleasant!
At the age of six, Joseph Kallinger, an abandoned orphan later taken in by a Catholic couple in Philadelphia, had to go into hospital for a hernia operation. When he came home his father Stephen, a poor German immigrant working as a shoemaker, explained what the doctor had done.
'He fixed your hernia ... but he also fixed ... your little bird.'
In the Kallinger home, 'bird' was the euphemism for penis.
'What's wrong with my little bird?' Joe asked.
'An evil spirit ... a demon makes your bird get hard and stick out so you do bad things with it. Then your soul goes to the Devil when you die ... but you won't have no demon, because your bird will always be small, small, small!'
- Christiane Olivier
Jocasta's Children: The Imprint of the Mother
Routledge, London and NY, 1989
For the rest of his life Joseph Kallinger ... was to suffer ... violent, overwhelming anxieties about the size and performance of his penis, with recurring episodes of impotence. ... the terror, and the rage against the terror, of being a 'No-Dick' set Kallinger's feet on the trail of the series of hideous sexual murders with which 'The Shoemaker' terrorised a 1960s America drunk on dreams of peace and love.
His father called in the family doctor instead of the traditional mohel, to carry out the procedure, but after botching the job, "septicemia set in, and Lincoln nearly dies.["] To save him, the sweat glands in his groin were surgically removed, leaving physical and psychological scars, locker-room concealments, and castration nightmares that would haunt Lincoln into adolescence.
Sir Geoffrey Langdon Keynes
Tom: My opinion is ... I think that people should get to decide that stuff for themselves.
Caller: That's what I said.
Tom: It shouldn't be decided by rabbis, or the family, or anybody else... I think it's barbaric.
L The List