Monday 2 January 2006 @ 5:46 pm

The sad tale of My Boring-Ass Anal Fissure continues…

I was really sweating the visit to the proctologist, as I’d never been to one before, and the only touchstone I had for an ass-doc was that scene in “Fletch” where Chevy Chase sings “Mooooooon Riverrrrrr!” while M. Emmett Walsh probes him with “the whole fist”. I confessed this to my good friend, uber-producer Dan Etheridge (Mr. Plug) before a private “Clerks 2” editing room screening. Dan must’ve sense I was trying to use the screening as an excuse to not keep my proctology appointment for that morning, as he hit me with with a little supportive chat that calmed my nerves somewhat. As a man who’d had some experience with proctologists, Dan summed it up thusly: “Going in, you want to cancel, because you can’t imagine a more humiliating position to be in than bent over an examination table, with your ass in the air. But once it’s done, you’re really glad you went, because you’ll probably find it’s not as bad as your imagining it is back there, and they’ll try to get your fixed up quicker than you’ll heal on your own.” And based on that sage-like advice, I shot over to Beverly Hills for my first visit to a proctologist.

My initial impression was “I’m the youngest person here by thirty years.” Predominantly, it would seem, sphincter-trauma is an old man’s game, not a worry of the young. Indeed, as I filled out my paperwork, I glanced over to see the great Sidney Poitier leafing through a magazine. This relaxed me somewhat, as I thought to myself “Any ass-doc that’s good enough for Mr. Tibbs…”

Once in the examination room, I was joined by the doc, who was much younger than I’d imagined he would be. I told him about my symptoms, and he told me to drop trou and get up on the table, laying on my side, in that colonic position I’d come to know over the last few years. Prepared for a probing finger or camera tool of some sort to intrude upon the soleace (or sole-ass) of my rear end, I was shocked when he merely opened my ass cheeks a bit, let ‘em close again, then stood up and said “Alright, we’re done.” As he washed his hands, the doc explained there was little point in looking beyond the surface, as he could easily see I was suffering from an anal fissure, and that any probe deeper would cause me to leap off the table. He gave me prescriptions for two creams – one to be applied three times daily around the “peri-anal” area, and the other to be applied when needed, for pain. I’m not sure what the first cream does, but the second is essentially a topical numbing agent. I rub it in, and my asshole goes to sleep. If I ever found myself up on Brokeback Mountain, this is the cream I’d want to have in my rucksack… and in my asshole. Sadly, however, the fissure travels up the colon a bit, so while numbing the surface provides some relief, it’s the cut deeper up the mine shaft that I feel after shitting, which the doctor described as an “involuntary constriction of the sphincter and colon”. He explained that the pain didn’t come from the cut itself so much as the colon’s reaction to the fissure once feces traveled over it. His metaphor was this: “If I cut your arm with a razor, you’d draw your arm as close to your body as possible and apply pressure to the wound, right? That’s what’s going on down in your anus now, only that clenching is involuntary, and no matter what you do, you can’t relax it. Your body’s just protecting itself from more pain, but it’s creating more pain in the process.”

But hearing my asshole was rebeling against me wasn’t nearly as disquieting as the info the doc imparted regarding the creams he’d prescribed: “In a few weeks,” he said. “You’ll feel 50% better.”

I was quietly outraged. Was this the best modern medicine could offer? 50% better in a few weeks?! I don’t wanna hear about anything less than 100% better in a few hours, if not “After I tap you with this magic wand, your asshole will not only be instantly healed, but from now on, it’ll periodically release a pleasant scent that’s a natural aphrodisiac.” And failing magical cures, where are all the “Star Trek” healing lasers and shit? We’re in the 21st fucking century, people! I wanna walk into a doctor’s office, lay on the table, and say “Bones, run that light-thingee over my bung-hole and high-tech my fissure shut, post-haste!” And then I want to shoot a fucking Klingon.

In the midst of this, I did, however, learn some fascinating trivia about anal hygiene. My biggest concern about my condition (outside of when it would heal) was the idea of toxic waste traveling along a path that sported an open wound. How could this NOT lead to infection, I asked the ass-doc, to which he replied “Your anus isn’t nearly as virile as your mouth. The bacteria that lives in your mouth thrives on oxygen, so it’s much worse than any of the bacteria in your stool. If you had an open wound on each arm, and you rubbed shit into one and your saliva into the other, the saliva-treated wound has a much high chance of becoming infected.” This doc, it seemed, really relied heavily on the cut-arm metaphors to get his points across, but it was effective, as he was able to make me understand a concept my conservative critics have been trying to unsuccessfully impart to me for over a decade now…

I’ve got a dirty mouth.

And apparently, it’s dirtier than my asshole.

But this all begs the question that if a dog’s mouth is supposedly cleaner than a human’s mouth, would that put a dog’s mouth on the same hygenic level as your asshole? And is that because dog’s eat shit, and shit’s apparently cleaner than saliva? The mind reels.

Regardless, that’s where I’ve been for the last month: in varying states of little brown starfish distress. The moral of the story: drink lots of water (it’s a natural stool softener, apparently), spend as little time sitting on the bowl as possible (stop, drop, and go), never “bear down” (if the shit ain’t ready to come out by itself, don’t force it out by straining; just wait), and don’t lick cuts on your body – you’d be better off rubbing shit into them instead (though don’t do that either).

Without good rectal health, you have nothing.