When I was in grade one, my favourite outfit was my genie outfit.  It was 80% red crushed velvet, 20% magic – all in two classy pieces.  The ribbed vest could be worn over a sweatshirt or Northern Reflections t-shirt, and was always paired with these pants that draped in a way that made me feel whimsical (even compared to other six year olds). Jeans and tights were so constricting; these pants were different.  They had all the romance of a dress, but the freedom of pants. Nothing was tight. Nothing was uncomfortable.  My mom called them harem pants, but I knew the proper name was genie pants.  I knew this because, if I had a genie, I would have used all of my wishes to get more pairs of those pants.

Though typically reserved for play, one day I wore my prized outfit to school.  I’m not sure what made me feel worthy enough to wear the outfit on that particular day.  Maybe I was feeling sad because my parents had moved our family for the second time that year.  Maybe it seemed like a better option than jeans when faced with the daily chore of wearing long-underwear to survive the sub-zero climate of Slave Lake, Alberta.  Maybe I already had enough self awareness that I knew the red velvet brought out my eyes.  Whatever the reason, the outfit was what I was wearing when I pushed my lanky six-year-old body between a classmate’s pulled out chair and an old bookshelf.  A very old bookshelf.  A very old bookshelf with lots of slivers of wood – one of which lodged itself in my right ass cheek.

I know for certain that I didn’t mention this lodged piece of wood for at least a day. Maybe I wanted to avoid the inevitable quizzing of how it got there.  Maybe I didn’t want my three siblings to laugh at me.  Maybe part of me liked having it there – like keeping a hang nail because it provides just enough pain to know you can still feel something.  Whatever the reason, I spent a full 24-hours leaning to the left (and earning myself a few confused stares) before finally confessing what my beloved harem pants had allowed to slip through.

I should mention at this point that my parents fucking invented DIY.  When I was really little and had accidentally knelt on a piece of glass, my Dad took it upon himself to dig the glass out of my knee himself using only a knife and Peter Pan (to play in the background and distract me).  If I’d known then just how free Canadian health care was, I would have been far less calm while he performed this procedure. As it stands, I still can’t watch Peter Pan.

So I’m not sure why I expected a different approach when it came to an ass sliver.  This was not as big a deal as a piece of glass, and an ass is much less useful than a knee, so what harm could really come from pulling out the summabitch in the kitchen…bent over my father’s knee…while the whole family watched.

This became a nightly routine, and after almost a week of unsuccessfully retrieving what was now a bonafide artifact in my ass, my father gave up and took me to the doctor to perform the procedure.  The doctor froze the entire region, retrieved the now-seemingly-small piece of wood, and then gave me a sticker shaped like a star.

I never wore harem pants again…and neither should you.

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