Thank the Fertility Gods this is the City Paper and not the Country Paper, for, according to new research, rural guys are sporting lower sperm counts than their citified brethren. “Wait,” you say. “You mean with all the smog, ditched crack vials, slammed Red Bull and vodkas, and horse piss steaming off the asphalt — not to mention swift kicks to the gonads by liberated co-eds — city boys actually have higher sperm counts?”

Surprisingly, yes. Seems that all those metropolitan dangers perpetrate little comparative damage to the baby batter; it’s pesticide runoff in drinking water that’s the real home wrecker. Professor Shanna Swan, formerly of the University of Missouri-Columbia and now of the School of Medicine at the University of Rochester in New York, studied sperm counts in men living in rural Missouri and found they were significantly lower than those in men living in urban areas, like New York, LA, and Minneapolis. Holy Upstate! I knew I felt a little slowdown in the family jewels last time I visited Abbeville.

Dr. Swan warns that the numbers tested were small, so broad conclusions can’t be drawn; but there’s no denying that would-be dads should avoid mixing bug juice into their morning coffee (or beer). Especially potent pesticides are atrazine and diazinon. Men infected with high levels of atrazine are 11 times more likely to have a low sperm count than those not infected; and guys infected with diazinon are 30(!) times more likely to have a “low semen quality.” Here’s the kicker: most of the injured men studied were not even farmers. They just lived in pastoral areas where drinking water supplies are susceptible to agricultural runoff. Since water treatment plants don’t filter out these chemicals, their faucets were veritable sperm slashers.

Of course, these men could take to the metro habit of toting around bottled water, but I can’t imagine Farmer Joe — or his non-farming neighbor — taking a break from his harvesting to swig some Evian instead of tar-thick coffee. But who knows? We’re so addicted to pesticides, maybe that’s where we’re heading. We’ve already got the horse and buggies in the city; might as well ship the Gucci water to the country.

Stay cool. Support City Paper.

City Paper has been bringing the best news, food, arts, music and event coverage to the Holy City since 1997. Support our continued efforts to highlight the best of Charleston with a one-time donation or become a member of the City Paper Club.