Whose is bigger?

A Romanian man has a wheel bearing removed from his penis.

Published October 3, 2000 7:30PM (EDT)

What started off as an innocent penis-bragging contest in a Romanian bar ended up with one man's trip to the hospital to get a wheel bearing removed from his member. The operation took three hours, doctors said, and was a delicate process of cutting and draining the penis that should make all men -- Romanians or no -- think twice about entering such events.

This modern epic of woe began in a pub in Ramincu Valcea, a town of 120,000 in south-central Romania. A 43-year-old man and his buddies held an informal competition. The contest was simple: Who had the largest penis? Our tragic figure, identified by hospital officials only as "Ion L.," thought he could outsmart his pals and, before arriving at the pub, slipped a steel bearing over his penis to keep it erect. That way, he was sure to win the all-important match. Or so he said.

His brainstorm backfired, to say the least, when the bearing became horribly stuck. The man spent the next three days attempting to remove it himself, at the same time pretending to act normal in front of his wife and three children. But the pain was so intense he finally realized he had to go to a hospital. Barely able to even walk, he convinced a friend he had stomach cramps, and the friend drove him to a hospital.

Dr. Mihail Serbanescu examined the patient, and realized he'd seen a case like this only once before. In that instance, the foreign object was simply cut off. Not so with Ion L., the poor unfortunate penis-bragging contestant.

"This bearing was from the wheel of a crane and was toughened steel, so it was a much more difficult and longer process," the doctor explained with some efficiency. "We would have had to use an acetylene cutter to get the bearing off. Instead I had to cut open the penis and drain it to solve the problem."

Ion claimed this penis contest was an isolated incident, and that he does not usually participate in such activities. As for his penis, doctors have suggested that it rest for three months -- and lay off the wheel bearings.

By Jack Boulware

Jack Boulware is a writer in San Francisco and author of "San Francisco Bizarro" and "Sex American Style."

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