Of all the bizarre, tabloid-style major news stories I’ve lived through, one of the most unforgettable is that of the story of Lorena and John Bobbit. If you were alive and capable of cognition during the 90’s, you probably just had visions of knives and genitals dance through your head — lucky you. The Bobbits are as much a part of the fabric of that time in history as Tonya Harding or OJ Simpson.
A very basic primer on the story goes like this:
-Lorena Bobbit cut off her then-husband John’s penis after what she said was years of domestic abuse.
-Then she threw his penis into a field.
-Then she led authorities back to the field and, miraculously, the penis was found.
-The penis was reattached.
That is, effectively, what the public knew about the story for a long time. And even the domestic abuse stuff had to come out in court, because if you think the patriarchy is strong now, go back 20 years and tell a story about a woman cutting a dude’s dick off. We had to learn through the course of the case that Bobbit was not an innocent victim in the slightest.
Last year marked 25 years since the story made national headlines. When we cross big milestones like that, humans tend to mark the occasion, and even a tale of de-peni-cation is no exception. Comedian and filmmaker Jordan Peele produced a new miniseries on the Bobbit Affair that was released on Amazon last month. And if that’s not all, the doctor who reattached Bobbit’s bobbed knob recently gave an interview to The Cut and went into exceedingly graphic detail about the procedure required to restore John’s taliwhacker to its full, um, “glory.”
Dr. Jim Sehn was the man tasked with making Bobbit whole again. It starts out innocently enough. I mean, you know, as innocently as a cut off penis can be.
A man named John Wayne Bobbitt had arrived with an amputated penis, and Sehn was needed in the operating room.
Pops to The Cut for giving me the chance to read “amputated penis” again. That’s nice. Side-note, it’s kind of amazingly brilliant that the story of John Bobbit’s penis restoration procedure was told to an outlet called The CUT. Thank you, Baby Jebus.
The very first question in the interview provided me with information I had no idea about before. When Sehn arrived at the hospital, Bobbit’s hobbit was still out in the shire somewhere, so the initial plan was to give the de-weiner’d Bobbit “female plumbing.”
…at that point in time the organ, the whereabouts of the organ, was completely unknown, so thinking it through on the way into the hospital it looked like I would be doing nothing more than what we call a perineal urethrostomy — in other words, converting to a female plumbing system, which is a pretty brief and quick operation.
Honestly, there are so many moments in Sehn’s story that are pure comedy. Like, for instance, the fact that Bobbit’s severed unit came arrived at the hospital in a 7-11 hot dog bag!
It came in a hot dog bag on ice from the 7-Eleven where it had been retrieved, from the field where she had tossed it out her car window. It came in, as they say, on ice, and it was very recently amputated, obviously, so we thought we had a good chance to replant it.
C’mon, a weenie in a weenie bag?! If I were the type to believe in gods or fates, I’d say that there’s a great example of the comedy goddesses looking out for us all. Because that’s just too perfect.
I also really particularly love how Sehn described the end result of his nine hours of laborious surgery. Dr. Sehn said that he had to call in a plastic surgeon because as a urologist, he wasn’t all that adept at working with the microscopic blood vessels in the procedure. But when it was completed, he described how well it had gone in graphic, but yet somehow almost poetic detail.
When we took off the tourniquet at the end of the case […] there was great blood flow. The organ was pink and doing well and we thought we had a chance to save it.
Great blood flow. Perfect.
Sehn revealed that the cops how found Bobbit’s schlong in the field weren’t keen on picking it up. So they waited for medical staff, who had gloves, to do the deed. I like the mental image of a few cops standing around, jacking their jaws about the dick they’d just found in the field.
They called an EMS squad because they knew those guys always had gloves, and they stood around staring at it, until the ambulance came up and gloves were obtained from the ambulance and they finally had the courage to pick it up
Thank goodness the interviewer had the sense to ask what condition the actual penis was in when it arrived. I mean that, because I can say that I’ve definitely wondered how gnarly the thing was they had to work with.
it was certainly contaminated in the field. It wasn’t grossly contaminated. A dog hadn’t chewed on it and nobody had stepped on it. It wasn’t damaged in any serious way, and luckily, I mean, it’s always good to keep these items on ice, which it was, so we had it washed up and cleaned up pretty quickly in the OR.
Interestingly enough, Dr. Sehn gives Bobbit at least some sympathy for what he went through. Over the years, the realization that Bobbit did horrible things to Lorena, his ex-wife, have drastically changed how he’s viewed by many people. Sehn, however, sees how even Bobbit himself was a victim of his “handlers,” whoever they were.
Well, he’s not a nice guy, but he’s also not a smart guy, particularly, and he’s been abused. I think they both have been abused, for the benefit of their handlers. And I think that’s a sad comment on the avarice and greed that seems to propel a lot of what happens in our society.
One last interesting tidbit — neither Sehn nor the plastic surgeon that helped him actually got paid for his work on Bobbit’s penis restoration. That’s because Bobbit ended up filing bankruptcy, eventually.
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!
Writer/comedian James Schlarmann is the founder of The Political Garbage Chute and his work has been featured on The Huffington Post. You can follow James on Facebook and Instagram, but not Twitter because he has a potty mouth.