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My Fissurectomy

From Mongrel by Justin Chin

Anal fissures are common enough, and they occur in many people, but when a gay man gets it, people start to act weird, and their eyebrows start to rise in insinuation and innuendo. Their minds, especially the straightest and the most conservative ones jump-start into speculation and the most unsavory innuendo. For the record, I wish I got it by butt-fucking, because then it would probably be worth it.

So, I've checked into the hospital for a quick snip. The procedure went as smoothly as possible for a patient who had seen The Exorcist III only two days ago on cable. The scene where the devil kills all those people in the hospital was fresh on my mind.

Everything was fine when I was discharged. I felt strangely all right even though I had been through some minor surgery. I felt like renting movies for the night, going to Boston Market for dinner, and maybe even having an extra chocolate fiesta. I was fine and dandy until the last bits of the epidural wore off at about midnight. Then it felt like there was something in my ass.

Do you know that feeling when someone you're really hot for has fucked your butt really long and hard? Well it feels nothing like that. It feels like there is an eternal fight between good and evil in my ass. This is how I cope with the pain in my ass. I imagine that there are three elves who live in my ass. Kiki, Rupert, and Chunks. They are the Colon Elves. They are kind of like the Smurfs, but more dusky and fibrous. Maybe like the Chipmunks but not as musical and with regular voices. Usually, they get along fine, living in harmony with the elements, and visiting each other with bags of Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies, but most of all, they just love having picnics. But sometimes they have wild adventures. Like the time the elves went off in search of hidden pirate gold after Chunks found the treasure map but they had to do it hot on the heels of a bunch of evil thieves who wanted nothing more than to snatch the gold >from the elves' little hands. The trail was long and hard and, guided by that tattered map, the elves had to solve clue after clue along the way to help them on to the next step, and wait a minute, that's the Goonies, not the Colon Elves. The Colon Elves do have wacky adventures, they're just too modest and reserved to talk about it much.


This is how I deal with the pain while waiting for the painkillers to kick in. I lie on the floor and imagine that I have been abducted by aliens and subjected to the Anal Probe. Then I have a terse exchange with FBI Agents Mulder and Scully.

"Agent Mulder, you believe me, don't you?" I'd ask with a plaintive look in my eye. And then Agent Scully would conduct an examination of my ass. Bent over on the examination table, I'd hear her say, "Mulder, come take a look at this."

"What is it, Scully?" he says.

"It's extraordinary." She frowns.

I try to look back. "What? What's happening?" I want to know the truth. The truth is in there.

Agent Scully looks at Agent Mulder incredulously. "Mulder, it looks like elves."

"Scully, don't you see, the light fibrous texture of the fecal matter, the consistency of the blood, it all points to alien abduction. Why won't you believe, Scully?" Mulder drones.

"Mulder, I want to believe, but there are elves in his ass."


There is a videotape that helps parents potty-train their kids using catchy little songs. In the climactic scene, the little girl poops in the toilet all by herself and she goes down the stairs like a Miss Junior-Petite USA beauty queen (presumably she's wiped, but the video is vague on this) where she is greeted by her parents who reward her with a special song: "She's a Super Pooper Potty Pooper."

I never had such luxuries in life. No song and dance to cheer my bowel movements. My parents got me a small red potty. At least I think they bought it because I refuse to believe that it was hand-me-down like so much of my stuff. From the time I could sit upright till the time I could climb onto cold porcelain, that was my throne. I'd sit on it and read comics and watch TV. As a child, I developed a circular ring imprinted into my butt. When it was time to move to the porcelain, my folks snatched my little red pot away and told me that if anyone ever knew I ever used the red pot, they'd point and laugh and I would die from embarrassment and wouldn't be allowed to go to university and I'd end up a roadsweeper.


My proctologist is Dr. Robert Bush. He is a very competent doctor, a good surgeon with a wonderful and comforting bedside manner. But what the hell would possess a man to devote his life and a considerable amount of education to a field that makes him look up people's bottoms for the rest of his professional life? Sure, it might be fun for the first three or four hundred asses, but after that, it must be pretty tedious sticking your fingers and hollowed Plexiglas tubes into people and shining searchlights in --


"Oh," gasped Kiki. "Did you see that?"

"See what?" asked Chunks. He had just finished his third Pepperidge Farm Milano cookie, but he was still hungry for more of those shortbread cookies covered in a smear of dark chocolate and a thin layer of crushed walnuts, sandwiched together into one delicious cookie.

"That light," Kiki said impatiently.

"I saw it too," said Rupert. "I hope it doesn't spoil our picnic. The last time we had a picnic, that horrid rubber thing came out of nowhere and just kept ramming our picnic to shreds! And I spilt a cup of tea on my new Banana Republic shirt. It's ruined now. No amount of soaking could get it out, and now it's only fit for dishrags."

"Oh relax," said Chunks, cramming yet another Pepperidge Farm Milano cookie into his little elf mouth. "You're always seeing things, Kiki, like the time you said you saw a small mammal, not unlike a gerbil, you said, not unlike a gerbil! Now really! What would a gerbil be doing here , of all places?"

"I didn't say it was a gerbil, I said I saw something woolly and furry like a mammal," Kiki said crossly.

"Wait, there it is again," Rupert said. True enough, there was a thin ray of light hovering over the elves' very special picnic. Even Chunks was forced to put down his Pepperidge Farm Milano cookie to stare at the strange light.


The night after the procedure, my friend Lisa brings over a stack of Kotex Stick-on Maxi-pads (with wings) which I'll need because of the blood that is discharging from my butt. They're huge. I stick one on the inside of my underwear before going to bed and the next morning, it's stuck to my left armpit. How do you keep it in place, I ask her. She says, it's a skill you develop.

But I'm on the mend. Chained to the routine of fiber, Metamucil, fluids, wet wipes, sitz baths, and painkillers. In my family, we deal with pain and medical procedures with quiet fortitude, grit our teeth, and get on with life. My great-great grandfather carried on his church work even when leprosy had taken its toll; he'd lose fingers and toes on simple walks. To my horror and annoyance, my mother mowed the lawn two days after her hysterectomy. Aunt Esther toughed out her stomach cancer with colostomy bags and volunteer work. Cancer, arthritis, gout, snapped bones, infections. The butt thing is nothing. There're worse things ahead, and I know that. And every time I get sick, I think that this might be the year it all falls apart: This might be the year that I won't bounce right back; this may be the year that I'll be left uninsured; this will be the year that I will have to learn a new vocabulary to describe what is happening to me. That this will be a difficult year, chained to pills and blood work, insurance forms and prescriptions, X-rays and tissue samples. Or this will be just another year after all.



Sounds good, right? Now read some excerpts:

Copyright © 1999 Justin Chin.

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