Although, ask me what sort of writing, and I must confess that I don't have that part of it nailed down, yet. Not exactly. It will be exciting stuff, when I finally get around to it... worlds will drip off the tip of my virtual pen... gritty landscapes... paced by dark-yet-funny characters, smart-yet-cool heroes. And heroines. There will be fighting. And sex. There may be zombies. Alien races. Talking animals. Or historic warriors. There may be a rebel angel. Or demons. Or all of the above, duking it out apocalyptically. I admit, I once thought I might write about vampires - alas there must be a literary moratorium on nosferati, as they are presently covered in bad-movie-poop. But I digress.
My point is that I'd never -not ever- have guessed that I could find myself writing about anal blisters... yes... disturbingly large, debilitatingly painful, annoyingly persistent butt bubbles... you know... you have experienced them, or heard of them... the ones that must not be named (but their name begins with H, and rhymes with asteroid)...
And yet, here I am. Growing older but not up, as Jimmy Buffet put it. And while the "not up" bit points - I like to think - to a solid record of prancing around warning signs, crumpling-up caution brochures, and banzai cannonballing into uncharted waterholes (retard stuff like this or this, or this)... the "older"characterization... refers to a vehicle (my body) whose dashboard is starting to light up with maintenance and malfunction lights. Nearsightedness. Cholesterol. Achy joints. Achy everything else. High blood pressure. Socially objectionable quantities of hair erupting from nostrils and ears. And yes goddammit... freaking hemorrhoids. Seriously?
So there you have it. The universal advise to aspiring writers is that we ought to write about what we know... Well, it turns out that right now, lying on my stomach for the fifth day in a row, I know asspain. But I am getting ahead of myself.
It began... a long time ago when early H-warning lights were still a pleasant shade of sunsetty amber, humming to themselves unobtrusively (as opposed to fire-engine red and pulsating to the tune of Flight if the Valkyries).
But for brevity's sake let's say my experience with...them... started early this winter when I decided it was about time to get back in long overdue shape. Because one can only go so long pretending one hasn't noticed the high blood pressure light blinking... and the one that reads "15 measly steps that was... and you're winded!?" ... and the subtle one that reads "Another physical readiness test and behold, your running times are even slower than last time... Is that even possible? And more to the point... what are you planning to do about it?"
Enough! What I finally did about all this noise was this is: I started PT'ing (working out). For an hour or two, nearly every day of the week. I kept it up four weeks straight. And indeed all was going swimmingly. I felt lighter on my toes... springing up them steps. Less achy and slow. But something malevolent was simmering behind the... um, scenes.
One morning I was surprised by a new pain. It started just before lunch as a glowing burn that made me shift uncomfortably on the hard surface of my chair... by dinnertime it had me prostrated over a mound of pillows, whimpering like a little girl. Mercifully, my wife located some forgotten Percocet and I managed to live through the night in a haze of pain and artificial feel-good stupor.
Next day at the ER, a doctor compassionately informed me this here was nothing more than your mark-1 mod-0 hemorrhoid... standard-issue aging stuff. Take some Preparation H and (don't) see me in the morning. I plainly told the the doc that she was high or, at any rate, mistaken. I knew hemorrhoids, I explained. We'd been uneasy pals for years now... and whatever this... was, it wasn't them.
She pulled the old "zcuz me but who's the doctor here?" line.
To which I may have replied something like... Whatever lady. I'll be back after your misdiagnosis runs its course... and won't you feel foolish then!
But... let's play your silly game and pretend for the moment that you are not an ignorant pretend-doctor who couldn't recognize a whatever-this-is-that-isn't-a-hemorrhoid... thingie... if it slapped you in the face (dear largely hypothetical reader, at this point do accept these as mere words... black scribbles on white background... actual imagery is neither required not desired)...
What -I asked- are my options here?
Her response -which I already knew, courtesy of the internet- was that the most popular option is to just learn to live with it... and to minimize the "flare-ups" through the implementation of a few lifestyle adjustments.
It turns out the gist of these adjustments, in my case, would probably entail three modifications: First, I must give up sitting in my throne with the latest edition of Wired (or Field and Stream, or whatever) magazine... reading it leisurely from cover to cover. Second, a high fiber diet. Third, that whole multi-hour running thing I used to do (like this)... yeah well... not so much any more old guy.
The Doc noticed my expression of incredulity and helpfully suggested I go make an appointment with general surgery if I felt like taking some more drastic measures to deal with my... situation. More drastic than learning to live with it? Damned straight I feel like doing something more drastic, lady! Because, while I am happy to give up my dual purpose reading sessions, and I find Metamucil to be pleasingly tasty... I don't want to give up my prerogative to walk out the door and go running for umpteen hours whenever I damn well please.
Besides, the suggestion that I might expect - even after lifestyle changes - to accomplish nothing more than a temporary cease fire, meant that the "most popular option" was not an option I found all that endearing.
A few weeks later I was listening attentively to the Navy surgeon as he drew for me - in intricate pain-explaining detail - a useful diagram of a hemorrhoid-besieged butt... And he explained my other options. Errr... my other... my... one single option: Hemorrhoidectomy. A six syllable disguise for: Slice them off and stitch up your butt-hole; with a chance of recurrence of less than 5%.
The pros and cons were blindingly clear. Pro: the source of my misery, sliced off and banished, most likely for good (hurrah!) Con: a stitched-up butt-hole (sniff-sniff).
Well... hmmm... lets see... 5% chance of recurrence... what the hell... where do I sign up baby!
Which brings us to my current position and new area of expertise.
When I decided I would one day become a writer... Did I imagine myself elucidating the lesser known functions of the sphincter? Not so much.
But again, here I am.
There is nothing like having a stitched-up caboose to bring to your attention the depth of the involvement of this unglamorous little muscle in your daily life. Basically, you pucker-up about 698 times a day (and night): whenever you pee, sneeze, cough, laugh, jump, flinch, startle, strain, have sex, think about having sex, go up steps, or down steps, grunt, or catch something... While I ain't no Chuck Darwin, I suspect the biological justification for all this puckering is, presumably, that it reduces frequency with which you must switch your tighty-whities. Call it an educated guess. But whatever the actual reason, the beauty of your sphincter's busy life is that it normally goes on all by itself... you never ask, and your butt never informs you what its up to. And this is a good arrangement. Ah, but just you add a fresh surgery and a few stitches... and suddenly there's 698 start-spangled, tear-sprinkled reminders each day (and night) of all the work that goes on... back there.
But who wants to read about this?! Seriously. I think I'd rather go and read a sappy vampire novel.
Still, if you are so weird that you found this funny, there is some more personal-anatomy embarrassing stuff here)
P.S. As in the past, the images used in this post have been copied and pasted without explicit permission from their sources www.funnyfidos.com and www.gibbleguts.com, whom I can only hope don't care about my copywrite infringement.