I just celebrated my 54th birthday, and like most men in their fifties, I am beginning to show some signs of wear and tear that tend to surface in middle age.
Specifically, I’m having trouble with my O-ring.
If you’re still reading this after that sentence, it’s probably safe to assume you are a middle aged man. Who else would want to hear about someone’s anal leakage?
Guys are funny. We’ll ignore this kind of problem as long as possible, until we’re forced to deal with it. The very phrase “anal leakage” can cause most dudes my age to cross their legs and change the subject. It’s not something we talk about, except perhaps when confronted by whoever does our laundry, or after a few shots of Jagermeister at a poker game. (“Hey, man, is anybody else dribbling from the doggie door?”)
In my case, it wasn’t as dramatic as “blowback” or “splatter,” just a bothersome amount of what appeared to be butt sweat. It had to come from somewhere, and there’s only one valve down there.
After a man hits fifty, any atypical developments in the poop chute are immediate cause for concern. The Big C looms large in our heads, and in our underpants. I took my leaky fart pipe to Dr. Nick for a look-see.
When I called for an appointment it wasn’t easy to tell the nurse why I needed to come in. “I’m having anal issues,” I said.
“Anal issues,” she said. You mean like OCD?” I knew she was fucking with me.
“Yeah, I want to make sure I’m not late for some guy sticking his finger up my butt.”
She checked the schedule. “Oh, it looks like we have an opening,” she giggled.
“Very funny,” I said. She gave me a time.
I arrived at Dr. Nick’s office the next day and felt like everybody was staring at me in the waiting room. I leafed through a People magazine, but my paranoia made me feel like I was reading Ass Masters.
Dr. Nick walked into the exam room, looking at my chart on his laptop. “How’s it going, Bob? Why are we seeing you today?”
“Well, you’re going to be seeing a lot more of me in a couple minutes,” I said. “I have sweat or something leaking out of my, uh, rectular area.”
“Oh,” he said, looking at me over his glasses. “Anal discharge. How old are you?” I told him. “It’s pretty common in guys your age. You know how you have to replace that rubber ring in your garden hose every couple of summers?”
“Well, sure, but I need to know if I should be worried about this. And how to stop it. I mean, you know, The Big C.”
He nodded gravely as he pulled on a blue latex glove. “Let’s have a look, shall we?”
After shedding my pants and boxers, I laid on my side on the exam table. He showed me a clear plastic cylindrical device with a tapered end. “I’m going to insert this and take a look around.” Sort of a bunghole diving bell.
“Knock yourself out,” I said, trying to relax my pucker string.
“You have great sphincter tone,” he said after a few seconds.
“I’m not sure how to take that,” I said through clenched teeth.
“It’s a compliment.”
“Oh. Thanks.” I stifled a pucker.
“Have you taken any blows to the anus?” he asked.
“Not since the softball picnic. So what’s going on up there?”
He squinted through his head-mounted magnifier. “It’s hard to say. It looks like a tiny nativity scene.”
“Very funny, Radar. Do I have cancer?”
He shook his head. “No polyps. Nothing unusual, really.”
I tried to concentrate on the forest scene in the painting on the wall. Never noticed it before but all the trees looked like giant Sequoias.
He withdrew the device and ruled out hemorrhoids or anything other obvious culprit. There was a bit of vascular dilation, he said. “Kind of like varicose veins.”
“Gotcha,” I said, much relieved. “Only it’s much harder to put panty hose over it.”
He prescribed a corticosteroid that would quickly bring down the swelling, and hopefully stop the watery discharge. “You’ve had these before, right?”
“Sure. Cortisone is no big deal.”
“No, I mean suppositories.”
Um, no. In fact you’ve just boldly gone where no man has gone before, I told him. I generally treat that orifice as “exit only.”
I stopped at the pharmacy on the way home. Twice a day for fourteen days is what it said on the box. How bad could it be?
Let’s just say I learned a few things about my body. Number one, my rectum has a mind of its own. I tried to insert this thing, and I kept thinking about Christopher Walken in Pulp Fiction, telling a young Butch how he carried around his father’s watch in his ass for two years. People smuggle drugs like this. People bring contraband into prison like this. I assume this includes rolled up copies of Ass Masters.
The suppository was only the size of a Mike ‘n Ike, but the moment it entered the promised land, my sphincter sounded the alarm: “Intruder! Intruder!” The muscle tightened like a fist, expelling the waxy bullet.
(If you’re still reading at this point, I commend your fortitude or possibly your morbid curiosity.)
So I had to employ what we used to call back in the Penthouse Magazine days, “second knuckle insertion” to send this baby home. I finally got it far enough in so that when the drawbridge slammed shut, it was inside the castle.
It’s been four days. Eight doses. I won’t go so far as to say I’ll be reporting to spring training with the catchers, but it is getting easier. I can hardly wait to see what else the glorious years of middle age have in store for me.