Saturday, March 04, 2006

The asscrack that ate America

I was working on a story at the coffeeshop last afternoon when I saw it. I couldn’t help but see it, since it was about as big as the front of a bus and whiter than a Presbyterian choir. Great waves of dismay washed over me, the newly-eaten sandwich in my stomach made a mad dash for freedom, and my retina were singed with its horrible imprint. It wasn’t just a bit of exposed buttcrack–oh no!–it was something far worse. A glimpse into oblivion, a nightmare made flesh, a round and fleshy portent of inevitable doom–this was all that and more. There are buttcracks, and then there are cracks in the facade of human dignity. This was one of the latter. And it wasn’t very clean, either.

It belonged to one of those guys we all see around now and then. You know the type: about fiftyish, morbidly obese, badly dressed, and worn down by a life they’ve never managed to master. From what I could tell, he seemed to be intelligent, but his intelligence seemed to be the capricious and cruel sort. It gave him a head for trivia and facts, but not for understanding; the kind of mind that could tell you the exact minute the Titanic sank, but somehow forgot to tell him that he should pull up his pants. He was with a friend and they were chatting about something obscure and nerdishly erudite; when he gestured and when he shook with indignation, his square yard of exposed ass quivered so nauseatingly that I had to find a new seat.

This did me little good, however. That man’s naked ass was like a malevolent sun: you couldn’t escape it, you just had to have faith that it would go away sooner or later. I doubt there was a place anywhere in that little room where it couldn’t be seen and the atmosphere suffered for it. Laughing people would innocently cast their eyes around and suddenly fall silent, their faces jerking away as though an invisible hand had slapped them. I heard mumbled comments, I heard tasteless jokes. Everybody knew that an awful ass has broken loose, everybody–that is–except for the owner of said ass. He was the picture of obliviousness, ranting on tirelessly about Napoleonic campaigns, common fallacies in calculating barometric pressure, or something of the sort as his jiggly buttocks kept up a sort of wordless, appalling counterpoint to whatever he was saying.

I owe him my thanks, however. Like I said, I was there writing a story. Because of his gruesome nude posterior, I got far more done than I would have otherwise. Ordinarily, I’ll jot down a couple of sentences and then spend the next five minutes staring off into space. I couldn’t do that this time. If I looked away from the page, I ran the risk of once again seeing that doughy, pale pile of unshapely man-flesh wiggling about. I didn’t want to do that. Lacking anything better to occupy my time, I wrote. I wrote and wrote and wrote, and eventually it was like I was writing to spite that guy’s ass. By the time my run had ended and it was time to leave, I had gotten down something like two whole pages. Unless the cappuccino’s really kicking, I never get two pages. I’m more likely to get two paragraphs, I’m so goddamn slow.

Really, that guy should break out his ass in my presence more often. It’s good for my creative side.