By Richard E. Bleil, Ph.D.
So there I was, in the Big Apple. I was living on the upper east side, and had a little apartment not much bigger than a dime, but I could afford it.
You know those movies where they kick in the doors in New York City apartments? It’s nonsense. The doors are steel. Trust me, they don’t kick in. But, being new to the city, I had no idea how many keys to my door were floating around, so I went to a locksmith and bought a new deadbolt just to be sure. But, the deadbolt was too big, so to install it, the locksmith had to widen the hole in my steel door, throwing steel splinters all over my place. I cleaned it up the best I could, but there it was.
It was my first real apartment, so I needed furniture. I purchased it from this company that uses Pine, and shapes it to look like it was made from shipping crates. It was superb furniture, but, it did have its splinters. So now I have wood splinters along with the steel.
Soon thereafter, I wanted to steam some buns, but I didn’t have a proper steamer. What I did have was a set of glass mixing bowls, so I set up a double-steamer. I put a little bit of water in the bottom of the biggest mixing bowl, put the mid sized on top of it, the buns in the midsize bowl, and a glass lid that just fit like a glove on top. Like an idiot (DO NOT DO THIS), I put it on the burner of my gas stove. On very low heat, it was working perfectly. I could see the water boiling, and the steam circulating, but I thought that perhaps I should let some steam out so the buns don’t get soggy. But, as soon as I lifted the lid…BOOM!
The big mixing bowl exploded, throwing glass throughout the apartment, the biggest piece being maybe one square centimeter. I stood there, holding the lid, in shock. The medium mixing bowl was sitting on the burner, as if it had been lovingly placed there. I closed one eye to be sure I could see out of the other, then reversed the order, and knew everything was okay. Once I knew I didn’t blow an eye out, my response was a pretty typical one for men. I smiled and said, “COOL!”
Now, when you’re a single male, you tend to spend a lot of time, uh, let me think of how to say this delicately…oh, let’s say you spend a lot of time BUCK NAKED! After all, what’s the point? You get home, get out of your work clothes, and put on comfortable clothes. Why? Just get naked. Let’s face it, with no roommates, and nobody living with me, why not just get naked?
So here I am, eating dinner, yes, BUCK NAKED, in an apartment newly decorated with wood, glass and metal splinters.
Laying in bed that night, I notice something in my butt. Yup, felt like a splinter. I couldn’t say since I couldn’t really see it, but there it is.
Now, here’s a dirty little secret about men. We don’t like mirrors that go lower than our waistline. Frankly, we don’t want anything to ruin, oh, let’s say our overly inflated source of pride. If you’re dating somebody, you can always ask them to take a look, but when you’re single, it becomes more complicated. It’s not like I could go to the two gorgeous women who lived next to me saying “Look at my butt and tell me if I have something stuck in it!” They would call the cops…and I wouldn’t blame them.
I had tweezers, but the only tweezers I had were pointed, and without a mirror, the closest thing I had was the mirrored finish on my toaster. Now, either my butt is WAY bigger than I think it is, or that toaster was warped!
So there I am, at one in the morning, poking myself in the butt with pointed tweezers while trying to look into a toaster. Nope, didn’t work, but it did start to feel infected.
I was working at a college associated with a hospital, so I figured, they probably just have a little clinic. So I go to the executive assistant for the department to get the form that I needed. She said, “Why do you need to go to the clinic?” I replied, “I’d rather not say.” She said, “I can’t give the form out unless there’s a good reason.” I drew a breath, and whispered, “I have a splinter in my butt.” She said, “What? Can you speak up?” I said, louder, “I have a splinter in my butt.” And she laughed, a loud raucous laugh, and shouted “HOW DID YOU GET A SPLINTER IN YOUR BUTT?” Now, I’m pretty quick-witted, and smooth under pressure, so my mind raced. I replied “I don’t know.” Well, how would YOU respond? “But,” I continued, “it’s infected so I need it looked at.”
And I got the form. And she said my boss had to sign it. Ugh. So I go to my boss, and say that i needed him to sign this form. “Why do you need to go to the clinic?” he asked. “It’s kind of personal,” I replied, “I’d rather not say.” He said, “I can’t approve it if I don’t know what it’s for.” I said, “I have a splinter in my butt!” He laughed. “How did you get a splinter in your butt?” I gave the same answer, in my best William Shatner voice, “I…don’t…know…but it’s…infected. Can you please…just…sign…the form?”
So off to the clinic I go. I walk in, and the waiting room is pretty full, with only a couple of empty seats. I walk up to the receptionist. She asks, “why are you here?” I said, “I’d rather talk about that with the doctor.” She says, “I can’t put you on the list unless I know!” Under my breath, I said, “I have a splinter in my butt.” She said, quite loudly, “how did you get a splinter in your butt?” EVERYBODY looked up. I said, “I don’t know, but it’s infected, it needs to get out.” She told me to have a seat.
So I picked one of the empty seats. I kid you not, the two people next to me got up and went to different chairs.
Finally, I get in to see a nurse. “Why are you here?” she asked. “It’s on the form,” I said. “My eyes are so good,” she replied. Oh, great. And, yes, we replayed the whole scene. Until the doctor came in, and asked why I was here, and insisted, again that I replay the conversation.
What is the point of forms?!?
So he tells me to drop ’em. And I do. “Yup, something is there,” he said. He pulled out the biggest needle I’ve ever seen, and holds it for me to see it. “See this sharp edge here?” he asked. “I’m going to cut a little hole with this.” “But my butt already has a hole,” I protested. “And I’ll take that out,” he continued ignoring me. He went on to say that he has to use the needle, because if he used a scalpel it would constitute surgery, and he’s one step away form losing his license as it is.
So he goes digging around in my butt. And sure enough, pulls it out. “Yup, there it is, and it’s covered in pus,” he said. “Do you wanna see it?” Why is it when somebody asks if you want to see it, and you say “no”, they feel the urge to show it to you anyway.
So that’s the story about the scar on my butt that I’ve never seen but I’m sure is there. Well, I’m pretty sure I overheard a story about a man’s butt on the national news that night, but that’s pretty much the end of the story.