You know you're getting older when you start needing to do things like buy Metamucil. Which sucks on many different levels, not the least of which is the realization that you apparently can no longer do things as simple as forming a decent crap without help anymore. Maybe it is a by-product of years of stupidity and treating my body like a cesspool. Maybe it is stress - dealing with idiots and self-centered people all day is not as much fun as it sounds. Or maybe I am just getting old.

Whatever the cause, I found myself in the office of a gastroenterologist - a nice enough fellow, but his mild-mannered facade masked a serious inequality of bargaining position that I did not yet fully appreciate.

I figure guys like my doctor, based on the shit they have to deal with on a daily basis (literally), have got to have a pretty good sense of humor. The good doctor initially seems to confirm this, as he starts with what is clearly his go-to attempt at humor, which is obviously calculated to ease the unspoken tension that comes along with being two dudes in a room in which one of the dudes is about to go exploring in the other's dude's asshole. So he leads with, "Hi, I am Dr. Bartolo, and I am a gastroenterologist. That means I deal with everything from the mouth to the anus." (smile) Not, bad, but I immediately come back over the top with "So you are literally an ass-to-mouth doctor?" (smile fades). In retrospect, perhaps not the best foot to put forward at this particular point in time.

Anyway, I explained to the doc that I was there because ... well, that would be too much information for me to put into writing, even for an anonymous blog that no one will ever read. Regardless, I explained my problem, and he immediately launches into an interrogation of my toilet habits. He wants to know all about my poop. I swear, this guy asks so many questions he has got to be some kind of shit sommelier. Color, smell, and my favorite category: consistency. He's like an Eskimo with 26 different words to describe fecal matter based on consistency - mushy, loose, hard, watery, etc. Most disturbing is that this discussion is taking place with a him sitting about 6 inches away from me. It is all way too much for me, but this has become an odd battle of manhood, like a staring contest to see who will crack and look away first. For my part, I just want to Rocky and go the distance, but he knows he will break me, and he is right. I finally tap out and just tell him I don't really study it that closely. But we both know that he has won this round.

Fear and Laziness: Ass-Doctor edition (redux)

The doctor was really after the nose of my particular brand

He then smoothly transitions into the action portion of our meeting, instructing me to remove my pants, roll onto my side (facing the wall of course) and cover my bare lower half with what amounts to a large paper towel. This is presumably for modesty, as he then leaves the room while calling his nurse to the room to prep. She begins laying out a disturbing assortment of devices, gloves, and copious amounts of KY Jelly, politely telling me that it is all "just in case" the doctor needs to take a look around. I ask her to be liberal with the KY, "just in case", and she laughs that laugh that people laugh when they know a person is totally fucked, but the fuckee still has a sliver of hope that the danger will pass. The laugh represents the acknowledgment that the hope is foolish, and only she knows it.

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Dr. Bartolo returns to the room, and at this point he clearly knows the game is entering its final stanza - all foreplay is over, it is time to get down to business. I am immediately left to question why I was told to cover myself with the paper towel in the first place, as the first thing he does is whip it off of me like a matador with a cape. As he dons his rubber gloves, he explains that he is in fact going to make use of the "just in case" arrangement prepped by the nurse. For her part, she keeps her back to me, not out of modesty, but instead to hide the fact that she is smiling at my misfortune. Of that much I am sure.

Fear and Laziness: Ass-Doctor edition (redux)

A bit backwards, but once the cape was removed, this is not too far from the truth.

What comes next is so unpleasant that it defies explanation here. It will suffice to say that there is no romance involved, aside from a helpful recommendation that I "try not to tense up - relaxing will make this easier", and in the end my asshole is no longer a virgin under the biblical definition of the word. I feel like I took a detour and ended up in a hotel room in Eagle, Colorado, and Kobe just took it to the hole. I am convinced that Dr. Bartolo wore a black-market Super Bowl ring just for the examination, and I am certain the KY jelly has gone completely ignored. In short, he has declared war on my colon, and for most of the time I feel like he is trying to plant a landmine in my lower GI tract in the hopes of ambushing an unsuspecting floret of broccoli that may someday get lost and stumble into my body.

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In the end, there is nothing seriously wrong with me, which was a great relief, and almost makes the literal pain in my ass worth it. But, my relief notwithstanding, he was not ready to let go of this adventure quite yet, instead circling back around to a further discussion of consistency. This leads him to break out a whole new series of adjectives - I will never hear the word "bulky" without feeling my asshole instinctively pucker - which ultimately winds up with his recommendation that I begin taking Metamucil.