The Great American Butt Tumor
I suppose a fair warning is in order. This is an entirely true story, being told in its entirety, with the purpose of a sort of political catharsis. It involves a lot of swearing and talk about sweaty, hairy ass cracks.
The snow was melting in Missoula, Montana, I was closing out my first senior year of college (due to changing majors, not being stupid, and lots of people take five years all right?), and I had a major pain in my ass. Literally. Sitting down brought severe pain to me, and all the Tylenol, marijuana, whiskey, and leftover codeine from wisdom teeth removal couldn’t alleviate the sharp jabs I felt each time my weight pressed down on a seat. It made school hard, it made sleeping on my back hard, it made watching porn comfortably hard. Everyday I had a thirty-minute drive to the middle school I was working at, per pre-teacher regiment, and the drive was spent awkwardly shuffling around and placing random soft things under my butt to try to make it better. Looking back on it, I’d say I suffered for a good three weeks before taking any medical actions.
My first thought, because it is always my first thought, was cancer. Some sort of rare butt tumor had it out to add me to the list of dead family members. It’s not like I’ve tried to prevent the cancer genes that run in my family, years of nicotine and no sunscreen are going to get me one day. It was embarrassing, really, to have cancer of the ass. (I never really thought I had ass cancer, and to make light of such a serious cunt of a disease is probably in poor taste, but I’ve gotten enough death rattles for Christmas presents to deserve a free pass here.)
You need to understand, for at least a week or two, between my girlfriend and me, I had a butt tumor. The pain wasn’t severe enough for me to take any action beyond self-medication and a lot of whining, and it was kind of funny to refer to the growing lump betwixt my cheeks as a butt tumor. No one else knew about this condition, and for the most part I just assumed it would go away. Being a middle class, white, cis-male (the necessity of labeling in today’s society has to relate to the popularity of Game of Thrones and Khaleesi, right?) my life has been blessed with a general sense of optimism. Even tragedies have a silver lining, and for the most part, the right things usually happen, do they not? So, time, laughter, and overpriced dub sacks seemed like the best cure for whatever vile demons had infected my ass.
The other working theory at the time had to do with a snowboarding tumble. This particular winter was a weak winter, the type one could point to and say, “HA! Global warming is a thing you redneck fucks!” The two times I made it up to the local ski hill, the smallest of trees were exposed and there were more rocks than there was actual snow. I was going because my favorite uncle got me tickets and to not use them would be, like, a dick move. For the most part, I had a great time. Winter has always been a time for coffee, contemplation, over-eating and snow sports. I went, I slid down the hill in highly controlled fashions, I purposely hit a few jumps to be rad, and of course, like any one would admit, I took a few spills. Biffs, as one should call them on a ski slope. For me, snowboarding (and skiing) are all about the joy of controlled chaos of falling, about getting lost in the tree’s and the sort of aesthetic that comes with watching snow rooster-tail behind the board. If you fall a few times, who gives a fuck? Just go have fun, drink a bunch of beer, and let someone else drive back. Regardless of my feelings on winter sports, one fall in particular, on this rocky hill pretending to be a resort, resulted in a bit more pain than one would want. The time correlated to the time my ass began to hurt. I was never one for math, but this seemed like a clear, fall + bad conditions = ass pain situation. Best to ride it out, take the micro-sympathy I could, and let the young human body do its job.
It wasn’t until the third week that I began to consider something else might be wrong.
I started to not just have the pain in the ass, I started sweating, a lot. Laying down, moving from bed to bathroom, picking up a Safeway donut, it all brought about severe sweats. Then the fever set in. And I started to feel the bump in my coccyx region. It was large, about the size of two half-dollar coins (full dollar?) and it had several centimeters of height. My body began to feel weak, the kind of weak I hadn’t felt in two years, back to when me and my roommate didn’t have money for both food and weed so we sacrificed and purposely starved. The joking about my ass tumor stopped, and it became something that altered my life. I stopped going to classes. I called in sick to the middle school. I played the victim a lot with my girlfriend, making her place the online domino’s orders. It was a dark time in my life, but I refused to throw in the towel and go to the doctor, at least not before I consulted WebMD one more time.
When I finally went to the clinic (totally free to students, btw) I was positive I had bruised/broken my tailbone. An injury, which any self-respecting Internet sleuth knows, takes about a year to heal, and probably a hemorrhoid pillow. I dreaded the results, mostly because I was sure either I was right and the only recommendation would be a lot of time, or I was wrong and the solution was some stupid medication that I wouldn’t like. In the words of our five-day pumpkin-pie Gollum in chief, “Wrong.”
It took the nurse/doctor lady, a lower-thirties brunette who specializes in pumping frat-boy stomachs, about five questions to figure out what was actually wrong with me. I had a pilonidal cyst. An ingrown hair that had been there since I was a wee lad, and for some reason, this nest of ass hair had suddenly become infected. In her words, it was only a matter of time before this infection had happened. It was also, in her words, the largest one she had ever seen, and the pain of such an ass infection usually brought people in very early. I had been putting up with it for so long, it had already begun leaking pus just to relieve the pressure.
My lifelong optimism had almost led to a full body infection.
The next steps are pretty gross. They led me into a sterile observation room, had me pull down my trousers, and shoved a fuckton of cotton into my ass crack and taint below the cyst. A large, spooky, doctor razor blade thing was produced, and they cut a centimeter hole in the pus mountain that had arisen in my ass canyon. There was instant relief when that pressure was released. Followed by the worst pain in my life, as the doc began squeezing, as one would a pimple, the cyst and infection goo out. I’ve broken bones, lost loved ones, and been into several surgeries, and nothing has ever hurt as bad as this ass pimple popping. Making it worse was the smell, of weeks of infected internal fluids finally tasting fresh air. I’d prefer the smell of cat shit and rotting eggs to whatever my body proved capable of creating.
I cried, audibly, verbally, and with great shudders, as they drained the cyst. The whole thing took a few minutes. The whole room smelled like the worst part of a slaughterhouse, and through my tear shot eyes, I watched the two middle-aged woman meticulously play with my hairy ass. When it was finally over, they held up a thick, curly black hair, several inches in length. They exhibited the same pride fishermen do when the measure a big catch.
A special kind of thin medical gauze was shoved in the open butt cut, and I left with the orders to keep the wound in a nice, airy place. The walk home consisted of trying to hide tears while the smell continued to haunt my nose. After a few days, things returned to normal. The special gauze came out, the docs warned me about wiping my ass the right way, and I got some more painkillers to later sell to other friends as college kids do.
All in all, this tale of tail-end pain serves no purpose. So lets give it some, lets reward you for picturing my furry white butt all swollen and red.
Like most of you, I’ve found myself confused, hurt, and in a lot of fear after the 2016 election, and more specifically, the inauguration of president Donald Trump. I’ve found a lot of the habits that erupted when I first began experiencing ass pain coming back into circulation. Also, like a most of you, I’ve been struggling to find a proper way to cope, to wrap my head around the changes that will begin happening in our society in bigly fashions.
Unlike most of you, I was one box of wine away from realizing why all this insanity had some sense of similarity to it. Trump is a butt tumor.
Part one of the current landscape is none other than the WebMD diagnosis. We all saw Trump spouting his fascist verbal stew, and we freaked out. We freaked out a lot as he made short work of life-long politicians who very much wanted to be president. We stereotyped his followers as middle school-ers and idiots and bigots and fucking piece of shit uncles and Nazis. We made him the underdog, and if you’ve seen any 90’s movie you know how important underdogs are. Just like me, this nation watched Trump become the republican nominee and we turned into echo chambers to confirm what we already knew, we had cancer, and it was on our butt.
Then we looked for other reasons why this happened. What had we done recently that could have resulted in such shocking and horrific pain. Hillary being a bad candidate who people disliked so much they would rather vote in a pumpkin pie Gollum is the bad snowboarding conditions of my story. Russia interfering with the election is just me being an okay snowboarder and crashing a few times during my day of fun. Well undeniably true, these were not the cause of Liberty Bell-sized cyst on the statue of liberty.
Just like my cyst, the cause of our current post-apocalyptic situation had been part of us our whole lives, waiting to flare up. Fear. Fear of our fellow man. Trump himself, or perhaps his many villainous aides are masters of manipulation of fear. Any politician or media figure needs to be a master of this most basic manipulation, for no other emotion embeds itself as deep inside of humans as does fear. I know it’s hard to imagine Kellyanne Conway being a master of anything except some sort of poor fellow who just wanted to try necrophilia without the consequences and now has to do a lot of submissive work, but someone on that team is a master manipulator.
Currently, my fellow Americans (and World-ians) we are at the point in my great gluteal tragedy when we start to realize we have to go to the doctor. For the little bump on our ass has turned into a roaring, enflamed, oozy dome. It’s starting to alter the way we sit down, the way we walk, and everyone can see through the excuses we offer when we grimace and take our seats.
With his nomination to the highest job of public service, Trump has allowed our little coil of ass hair, our fear, to start accumulating pus. Pus in the shape of Steve Bannon being on the NSC, or reporters being detained on the inauguration day without just cause, or a real Muslim ban, or “Alternative Facts”, or using the CIA’s fallen heroes memorial site to host a cry-baby session about crowds, or removing anything relating to science from government websites, or promising to build a wall that of-fucking-course actual Americans have to pay for, or making sure oil is just dumped into water sources, or forming policy based on Fox News (an entertainment channel), or not releasing tax returns, or saying stuff like, “Grab em by the pussy,” or clearly being on cocaine before presidential debates or broken promises or just generally being a piece of shit. And this pus is coming in rapidly. And to write about all the pus would be to join in the clusterfuck that is discourse these days. But the pus is infecting our nation. Trickle down economics might not work, but pus trickling from the ass sore that is Trump is already starting to impact our world. Schools are finding swastikas next to the word Trump. Mosques are being attacked. The White house is attempting to “Gaslight” a whole nation.
I’m certain of this, my comparison of the country I live in, love and believe has some good central ideas, to myself writhing in pain on my bed and trying to get a better look at my own butthole to see why it hurts so much, is an accurate comparison. I’m also certain of this, some day soon, maybe in four years, maybe in a military coup, maybe in a violent revolution, two middle-aged women are going to hold our country down, pull out some scary doctor razor blade, and they are going to drain the great American butt tumor. And it’s going to hurt like hell, and its going to smell, and the pus is going to get everywhere. At the end of it, they will hold up the long, oozing hair that poisoned us for so long, and we will look at our irrational fear, or mistrust of each other, and we will all throw off the shackles we deemed necessary, and with a reminder to wipe away from the cut, we will finally be able to be human again.
(The essay is over, but I feel the need to add this in there. Donate to the ACLU. Join activist groups. Follow real news sources, I like WaPo and NYTimes. Punch Nazis in the face. Fight any and all injustice. Don’t just talk, action is needed.)