The Condom Incident


Ben & Joe 1

So we’re in the car, me, Joe and Ben, on our way to the local Co-op to procure provisions. The boys would have been around 5 or 6 years old, if my memory serves me correctly.

It’s a very short journey, just round the corner really, so obviously I was expecting it to be routine and uneventful.

However . . .

The radio was on, Radio One I believe and it was close to Valentine’s Day, so there was a sort of advert type thingy, regarding the sensible use of contraception, during the upcoming sex-fest.

I’d heard it before, so I knew they mentioned the word ‘Condom’.

By the time I realised what it was, the ad was in full flow and both Ben and Joe, when perused in the rear view mirror, looked the picture of attention.


Now before I go any further let me point out that my sons were literally very small but very efficient and ruthless Question Machines.

To the point I knew beyond a reasonable doubt Your Honour, that if I didn’t hit the off button within milliseconds, the next sound emanating from the back seat would be . . .

“Dad . . . what’s a Condom?”

With no warm up, pre-planned diversion, child psychology research or the ability to convince them I’d just turned mute . . . I was left with no other option.

I could feel my heart pumping furiously and my entire being switching into fight or flight mode, as I lunged for the radio’s small and hard to detect (especially while driving), OFF button.

Time seemed to slow down to the point where it felt like I was living in slow motion CGI, mouth agape, mouthing a silent “Nooooooooo . . . “

“. . . CONDOM!”

Literally, as I pulled over to park, the sound reverberated around the car interior, like a drunk Autumn wasp, as my head sank, the bitter taste of defeat in my mouth.

Time to face the music Coleman.

But wait . . .

A few terrifying seconds passed, then a few more and . . . no questions. Just silence.


I bounded out of the car, ran to the curb side and gleefully flung open the rear door.

“C’mon boys, let’s goooo!”

And I’ll never forget Joe’s cute little cherub face, as he looked up at me and said . . .

“Dad . . . what’s a Condom?”

I felt the arse fall out of my world.

“Er . . . “

Both of my Cubs are now side by side, looking up at wise Daddy Bear, patiently awaiting a simple answer, to their simple question.

“Er . . . “

For crying out loud Coleman, improvise!

“Ok. You know how grown ups have babies?”

“ . . . yeeees”

“Well, if they want to be together when they’re in love, but don’t want to have babies . . . “

Blank faces. Don’t stop now you blithering idiot.

“Well, they use a condom.”

Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock, tick tock . . .

“Oh, cool.” Said Joe as they turned to walk towards the Co-op.

That’s it?


Joe and I are approaching the shop, Ben is a little further behind and we’re in the clear!

Until . . .

“Dad . . . what do Condom’s look like?”


“Casper the Ghost son.”

Please don’t ask, I have no reasonable answer for you.

On the bright side, Joe was overjoyed with the answer. However, my sudden pride at a job well done turned to complete embarrassment, as he turned to Ben, on the busy high street and in a staggeringly loud voice for such a little fella, shouted . . .


Much merriment and mirth between them followed, as I hurried us into the Co-op, nodding my head to the bewildered passing public, in a “What they like eh?” sort of way.

Is there a lesson here?

Yes. In no way, shape or form does pre-Dad life, prepare you for this shit.