Hard to believe it got up for TV viewing

It’s hard to get up for it, sometimes.” 

As soon as I saw a videotape of myself mouthing those words on television, I knew I had crossed the line. 

But, nobody caught it. Never put infertility and sexual intercourse together to catch the play on words that somehow slipped out, with me never actually intending to say what I had just said. 

 Cherie Bank, WCAU TV medical reporter, was doing a series on infertility and brought a camera crew to our home in Conshohocken, PA, just outside of Philadelphia to interview me and my wife, a couple having difficulty in conceiving. This was about 20 years ago, just two years before adopting Nicholas, now age 18. 

Things were going well for my wife, Wendy and I. She’d suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) 16 years later, while I would come down with a bad case of PTSD (post traumatic stress). But back then, life was a bed or roses compared to what the next millennium would bring us. 

Oh no. You did it once again, Michael Joseph Contos!

Hot lights lit up our living room, as the professional Ms. Banks went through several questions and answers with us, the two professionals she had sought for her evening news story. Wendy was either working at the Philadelphia Bulletin, the Philadelphia Daily News or the Philadelphia Inquirer, the city papers where she held copy editing jobs over her 20-year-career. (She worked at all three, but not sure when.) I was a budding criminal defense lawyer with the Defender Association of Philadelphia. 

About 25 percent of all couples face some sort of fertility problems, particularly those delaying childbirth, according to statistics in 1990. I underwent an operation, a varicocelectomy, to remove a varicose veins that may have contributed to low sperm count. We spent thousands of dollars on in vitro fertilization, only to come up empty time and again. 

In order to conceive, it was best to have intercourse at the most fertile time for the woman. Medical research could pinpoint the most opportune time for conception, and you better be ready to get to work or you’ll miss your shot. 

So, when the television reporter asked how difficult it was for me to arrange my schedule to tie in with the most fertile time of the day or night, I was just being honest. 

I’d arrange to wake up at 3 am just as my wife was relaxing after her 2nd shift job at the newspaper. I worked a 9 to 5 job. Making love on demand was not easy. And that’s when the infamous foot-in-the-mouth quote bubbled up all by itself: 

It’s hard to get up for it, sometimes.” 

Said it with a straight face. Not the slightest hint of a smile. Turned out to be my greatest quip ever.

4 comments on “Hard to believe it got up for TV viewing

  1. 🙂 That reminds me of a major embarrassment of mine…it was back in 1990, at my first job, just learning computers. I found I had to back up my data, and I stood up and announced to the entire room, “Does anyone have a floppy-dick I can use?”. My mouth had made a major typo and my face turned red 🙂

    …But I am sorry to hear about you and your wife’s hardships. As you say, we are where we are for a reason. My parents adopted 3 kids and had unprotected sex for 20 years before I fought my way onto the scene.


    • contoveros says:

      Maggie B,

      I’m not going to touch that comment of a “floppy you know what” with a 10-foot pole!

      Now, that indeed is something that would cause major embarrassment.

      You poor girl.

      But, what a helluva story to tell . . . And, you can just bet, I’ll be telling it the next timesomeone feels a little red-faced about something.


      michael j


  2. souldipper says:

    Not ignoring you 15 seconds of infamy, my heart is stuck on the comment about Wendy’s brain injury, Michael J. The two of you have had a good share of challenges!


    • contoveros says:

      It’s been tough, but we’re getting by. Thanks Amy.

      Hey, I wouldn’t be blogging here if calamities didn’t force the world to turn upside down. I’d still be in Court, grilling cops and attacking prosecutors.

      michael j


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