Author: samarmitage

Recently, the 20th Anniversary edition of In Utero was released.  With every playback, all I can think about is the same thing that most people think about when they listen to Nirvana – talent.  It’s something we all claim we wish we had – I can’t tell you the number of people I went to University with whose greatest struggle was that the more they learned, the less talented (read: unique, because that’s what they really wanted to be) they felt.   But ultimately, how many humans with extraordinary talent convince themselves that that talent means nothing – so much so that they decide to throw it all away?

Frustrating? Definitely.  The message after the tragic death of someone like Kurt Cobain always seems to be “how could this happen to someone so talented?”.  A reasonable question – that is, until you consider the alternative.

The alternative being Kanye West.

I’ve had several conversations lately with people that just can’t stand to listen to Kanye.  But to clarify, when I say this I don’t mean they can’t stand to listen to his music.  In fact, there are very few people I’ve encountered that don’t have at least some place in their heart for Kanye (at the very least, Dark Twisted Fantasy, which ironically followed a period where he was condemned by enraged, MTV-award-watching Americans).  But they cannot stand to listen to Kanye West…the person.  The reasons are as numerous as the interviews – but usually it all boils down to one thing, and that thing is arrogance.

He has openly called himself a creative genius.  A mastermind. A god.

And this angers people.

Which confuses me, because all that should really matter is how talented he is.

All of the interviews and the disorganized thought aside, it should truly excite society that pure, creative and confident talent like Kanye West can still thrive in a world where people are typically too afraid to be more. Numerous platitudes devote themselves to encouraging children to “be all they can be” and “go further”, but all we’re really talking about is being enough to get by.  And if you do happen to be more than the average, you had better find a way to at least pretend like you think that you’re not.

See, we say that talent like Kurt Cobain is tragic, but if we’re being honest with ourselves, his story has become society’s wet dream.  Someone so obsessed with not buying into his own image, that he ultimately lived and died only by the image that society was comfortable with him having.  In Kurt’s case, this was a grungy punk rocker who refused to give in to materialistic needs.  Which is ridiculous, especially when you consider how materialistically capable he was at taking care of himself and his family.  He got caught up in being attached to that image of humility and teenage morality – an image which stifled his music and, ultimately, him.

In the event of an emergency, we want the creative, the talented and the innovative to put society’s air mask on before they put on their own. And if they aren’t willing to make that sacrifice – if they are aware enough to realize their own value – they are condemned as being self-centred and arrogant.

Thanks to the amount of information people are forced to consume on a daily basis, I believe we’re closer than ever to reaching a point where we are sick of all of the interviews, and the analysis, and the paparazzi-style journalism. I really want to believe we’ll soon reach the breaking point, where all that matters is the work that people produce. I just don’t know how many talented people we’re going to lose (or god forbid, ignore) in the meantime.  If only they could all be as confident as Kanye…

There are few things in this world as arbitrary as any given human’s relationship with their name. Well, really, any given anything’s relationship with its name, but for the purposes of this discussion, we’ll limit ourselves to humans.

In light of this fact, it’s pretty ridiculous that we hold names in such high regard. One lousy story from your mother about how she, “couldn’t decide on a name until she looked into your eyes and just knew you were a Rodney”, and suddenly your entire life is carved out like some magical road of phonic destiny.  “Sarahs” are princesses…”Kevins” are gentle… “Davids” herd sheep (or something). These meanings are all attached to religious or mystic constructs that were barely important to generations that were barely important to our grandparents. So why are they so important to us?

Every time you hear about a pregnancy, the first question people ask is, “boy or girl?”, followed almost immediately by, “have you thought of any names yet?”.  True, this is just polite chit chat, but I also think it’s due to the fact that we all know on some level that naming the thing is the best part.  Really, after you’ve named your child, it all goes downhill.  This is true power, and it lasts for as long as the kid lasts. That’s why people take so long deciding – you’ll undoubtedly get sick of the kid within the first couple months, so if you’re sick of the name just as fast, you might as well abort the thing now.  Yup – you get to name it and then you get to convince it that that name had some sort of special meaning…you’ve never felt so powerful in your entire life.

I don’t think this is true of the entire world – again, this is just what I witness in your average, middle class, unimportant North American existence.  Which is part of why it’s so dangerous – names are seen as a way to distinguish ourselves. If you have a unique name, your path is pretty well set.  This doesn’t mean you are in any way contributing to society…but people will consider you five seconds longer (or something) than they would a Kristen or a Johnathon. If your name is one of those, you better get to work because you have a lot to prove, asshole.  This is not your fault.  This is your name’s fault.  Your future employer may have sat next to a kid in elementary school with your name who also ate their own snot.  You may share a name with the ex-girlfriend of your soulmate, and the constant reminder will drive you both mad, until you eventually break up and die alone.  These are realities we all have to live with, and we have to live with them because we all believe we can tell something about a person by their name.

But we can’t.

Just as you can discern the intellect of a child by how they name their pet, I can usually tell my closest friends by how many nicknames they will tolerate.  I have yet to be friends with a human who has any real attachment to their first and/or last name in its purest form.  One should be open to any blending of their names – and if they concede their middle name(s) to my vindictive little fun house of mind games, we’re almost guaranteed to remain friends for at least two years (or something). Likewise, I would never consider dating someone who wasn’t at least a little open to me re-naming him.  How else am I going to convince him he misheard me when the name I call out isn’t his? (*high fives the mirror*)

For this reason, I’ve turned the names of others into mind games. There are a lot of terrible things about me, but if I really think about it, the fact that I play these games is the worst one. You can play these games with yourself, you can play with a friend…really, I care less about what you do with these games than what you call yourself while you play them.

Game #1: Choose your own inflection.
This game is best to implement naturally – specifically if you have several people by the same first name in your office or family, thus allowing you to quickly concoct false justification for your actions. Beginning with a monotone voice, state the subject’s first and last name during all encounters. Repeat it when running into them in the kitchen. Repeat it when passing them in the hallway.  The more mundane the run in, the more disturbing they will find it that you are speaking to them so “formally”.  After several weeks of this behaviour, begin varying the intonation on the first and/or last name ever so slightly.  Your intent will be lost on them, and they will begin eagerly anticipating how you say their name next.  Note: this game can prove dangerous.  For example, one subject thought I was flirting with them, while another ultimately thought I was planning their professional demise. Good times.

Game #2: Who’s your daddy (and what does he do)?
This game requires four steps:

1. Experience one of the following two life events:
(a) Be a female who has been convinced that a wife has to take her husband’s last name, get married, and then get divorced (but don’t change your name back).  I call this, “the Dorothy Parker”.
(b) Have some other reason* for changing your surname to something other than what you started with.
*You can get creative here…what do I care…

2. Once you have engaged in one of the above two events, attend a party or function where you run into someone who:
(a) Recognizes your last name as belonging to someone they worked with, are related to, hated once, or banged in college (hopefully not all of these, but you never know).
(b) Has the same last name as you.

3. Listen to said individual try to trace your lineage while you casually deny everything and double-fist triples. You legit don’t know the answers to any of their questions, and you don’t even have to try.

4.Watch them finally give up on you…and on everything they once understood about life.

Game #3: Let’s change that, shall we?
This game is pretty simple. All you have to do is learn the person’s name, and call them something else.  While seemingly very simple, it actually takes a very skilled gamesman to play this in a way where no one gets hurt (i.e. you don’t get fired or slapped).  The trick? Confidence.  If you’re confident enough, you can turn any Ryan into a Patrick. Rachel will soon answer to Darla. When you are truly skilled, try to work in the “call them the wrong name, and then correct yourself with an even wronger name”.  Double the insults, double the fun.

I stumbled on an article today entitled, “The worst word in business: “busy”.”  It reminded me of a health and wellness seminar I sat in on a couple of years ago, referring to the fact that we basically use our full itineraries as a crutch.  The article, and this seminar, discussed the fact that, if you asked someone how they’re doing, their first response will inevitably be how they’re “so busy”. In many cases, I would even take it a step further and say that we as a culture judge those who haven’t yet mastered the art of appearing busy, because, “don’t they have something better to do than lord it over the rest of us with their ability to not check their phones?”.

As someone who has often lost touch with friends, relationships and (let’s be honest) reality because of my codependence with busy-work, it would be pretty foolish of me to contest the argument of anyone who suggests that this myopic and ego-centric approach to life can be a detrimental way of living.  But as someone who has also  recently taken a work position that is significantly slower than what I’m used to, I’m not going to lie and say that the transition has been anything close to easy.

During the busier times of life – the times when I would break a glass in the kitchen, only to tip-toe around the broken shards for days – I developed a coping mechanism which has proved quite helpful no matter how many times my iPhone buzzes.

I just imagine Morgan Freeman is narrating everything that I do.

In good times and bad, with friends or alone in my office, I allow Morgan’s cool, crisp tones to wash over me.  Slowly, calmly, Morgan will describe the situation just as it is – no more, no less. There’s something both critical and curious about Mr. Freeman’s tone that provides me with a surprising amount of insta-comfort.  The man knows how to spew a sentence. His is a tone that is most befitting of my life (well…mine and Andy Dufresne’s), probably because I often feel that I’m just flapping in the wind, and his voice is just so unflappable.

If you choose to adapt this coping mechanism of mine, you don’t have to saddle yourself with Morgan.  Selecting a life narrator is one of the biggest commitments you can make, and there are so many talented voices available to you.

For example, if you are overly self-aware and yet feel endowed with a certain intrinsic level of culture, Alec Baldwin is your man.

If you never really grew up, or (let’s face it) grew up far too fast, the tone you seek can be found in the crystal voice of Anthony Hopkins.

Kathleen Turner has a certain asexual quality that’s nice if you want to be simultaneously coddled, criticized and seduced with only one voice in your head.

You would think that David Attenborough would be a logical choice, but quite honestly his tone brings with it a certain level of adventure that the average North American day just lacks, and if you think this applies to your life you probably don’t deserve David.  In fact, your self-important ass should really choose Alec Baldwin instead.

Why is this technique so effective, you ask? Because adding a third-person narrative has a way of making you feel small.  And I think more people that attend health and wellness seminars and read articles on the internet about how to manage the way they communicate in a business environment need to feel small.

Being constantly tense about whatever situation you’ve put yourself in (especially when that situation really isn’t that bad) is ridiculous. Grabbing lunch or going to the bank is not busy. Going to work and doing the job (for which you get paid) is not busy.  Meeting up with a friend or co-worker or client for a drink is not busy.  It’s just life. You can choose to spend that life alone, or raising a family, or with a partner, and the daily tasks associated with these choices may vary – but it’s still just life. And if everyone else is too busy to put this into perspective for you, and you can’t see this fact for yourself…

“Sam stopped typing for a moment, raised her head a little, and looked out the window…at all the other lit windows in the city…who were undoubtedly preparing for the next busy day ahead of them.”

…you should probably find yourself a louder voice.

Women are known for their body image issues.  This is basically a pop culture fact.  It’s on every TV show…every interview with every female musician…and the ratio of minutes female comedians spend laughing at themselves in relation to the number of minutes of laughter that ridicule earns is typically about 10:1.  Even when women seem to have it all together, the mere fact that we point out that we are “now comfortable in our own body” highlights the fact that at some point in life (let’s be real guys…yesterday), we hated every cell in our overly-cleansed, non-dairy, gluten free, lululemon-swaddled bodies.

Well I’m sorry to ruin it for everybody, but I’m completely fine with myself.

Except my feet.  I really, really hate my feet.

Your feet are not something you notice when you’re little. My older sister loved passing down her “jelly” shoes to me, and I’ll admit it…they made me feel pretty.  Those sparkly pink pieces of plastic seemed to have been made in Taiwan with the express purpose of covering my little piggies and transforming me into Cinderella.

But that was all a lie. Because those shoes were just a mask.  ALL shoes are just a mask.

Some women never overcome the shoe era of their lives. And that’s okay.  If I could live my whole life without knowing the harsher truths of what my ankles are attached to, and just blindly dressing them up to carry on with my day, I would.  Every time I hear a song about a break-up, all I can think about are my feet.  And just like the lyrics found in Cher’s heartfelt anthems (where did Cher come from? let’s just go with it), I’m about to help you confront some ugly truths.

I’ve always been a swimmer, so it naturally wasn’t long into my childhood before my feet got warts.  My mom used to take pleasure in scraping away the wart goo (I could only imagine what was really down there…like my vagina, it took years before I examined the region with a hand mirror) with a little tiny knife.  I have no idea where that little tiny knife came from.  It seemed to be crafted by sadistic little elves, with the express purpose of tearing away the epidermis of my childhood to expose what feet really are – nothing but bone and shame.

From then on, I wore flip flops at the pool. And (obviously) at Grandma’s house.

The first year I went to summer camp was probably the hardest (i.e. I spent the whole week barefoot, walking around sans any footwear “because that’s what Jesus and Joni Mitchell would want me to do”), but eventually my feet became accustomed to the abuse they were in for.  At the end of just one week, having traversed fields and creeks and dirt roads, my soles were broken hearted. Battle scarred.

If I could turn back time, guys.

*flings hair over shoulder dramatically*

I would forsake each foot – both the right and the left – throughout the rest of my childhood and well into my teen years.  By the time I started my first job, I had pretty much spent my young life treating shoes the way most girls treated boyfriends: I would settle on one that could take me anywhere and make me feel pretty for four months, and then when their back was broken and the smell made others complain, I would throw them away.  My style of choice was typically something flat and neutral – that is until I started my first job and one of the project assistants mocked me for forsaking the holy high heel.

That weekend I went shopping, realized I was not only smarter, but now TALLER than everyone else, and never looked back.

But I did fall down.

A lot.

Now, I’m 26 and my feet look and smell the way I’m sure Hugh Hefner’s testicles look and smell.  Used. Scabby. Funky. Wrinkled. Shedding.

You’re welcome.

The “situation” south of my ankles is not in any way aided by the fact that I’m a runner.  I run at least 10 miles five or six times a week, and my feet are reaping none of the benefits of this. I read an article last year that said runners are starting to opt for surgery to remove their toe nails – simply because losing a nail to downhill running can be pretty un-sexy (and, more importantly, slow you down…duh).  I might hate my feet, but I don’t think I’m there yet…if only because ripping all the nails off would cause the top of my feet to closely resemble both the other side of my foot and (incidentally) Steve Buscemi’s face.  Just a mess of pink and white and blue in all the wrong places, with the odd hair sticking out here and there.

I can only assume that this life-long struggle will only get worse. Cher lied.  There is no life for my feet after the way that I’ve treated them.  But there are little victories.  Like actually taking care of these ol’ hooves every once in a while.  I’ve tried pedicures, but the last time I got one the lady scraped away the skin for a good 45 minutes with a fancy metal file thing before calling for her assistant to bring her another so she could start on the other foot.  And I just don’t have that kind of time.

Lately a bit of pleasure (read: relief) can be found in soaking my toes in hot bathtub water.  Unfortunately I’m several months into a relationship right now, and we’ve hit that point where we’ll spend the whole weekend together.  These times are great for the heart, but momma needs a good sole-soaking every once in a while, y’know?

Following a long weekend of love and bonding, I couldn’t wait to melt away the calluses tonight when my boyfriend called me up.  “What are you up to?” he queried.

Why hide, you guys?  I know what I am.  I know what my feet are.  There comes a time when you just have to let go of those body image issues.  How much is all that comedy really benefiting society, anyway?

“I’m just about to scrub the calluses off my feet in the tub,” I answered honestly.

His laughter was akin to that of a guffaw. The way I always imagined Gilbert Gottfried sounds at the moment of sexual fulfillment (again, you’re welcome).

“I love that I see you as this young, beautiful woman…and in reality you’re an 80 year-old Polish immigrant.”

Ladies, if you want to know if he loves you so, it’s in his diss (that’s where it is, oh yeah).

“If you could have any super power in the whole world, what would it be?”

Children toss this hypothetical around a lot. As we get older, the answers seem to be tied to more than just personal interest. Responses are more and more creative as the person in the hot seat tries to solve as many daily struggles with one simple power.  Of course, that power would be linked to many other related functions, but the core strength – what would that look like and why? It’s a pretty stressful task, committing to one power for all eternity in a make-believe world of hypotheticals.

Thanks to my Norwegian heritage, I’ve always been fascinated with mythology. Odin, Freyr, Loki – these are my mind-friends, and their plights and parables have raised the bar for powerful storytelling in my life.  Once you’ve heard a few of these fables, you find that a story just isn’t a story unless the punishments are as impressive as being tied to a rock while a snake drips poison into your eye, and battles are sub-par unless the ramifications for losing include being sent to another world (note: there are nine in total).  But the thing that has always struck me about these stories is that these super impressive gods and goddesses all lack super powers. Sure, there are gods of love and war and drinking and death – but each have multiple functions at their disposal.  Just like regular life, some of the characters are strong, some are crafty and some are blindingly-beautiful.  The abilities and intricate relationships among these gods and goddesses are really quite human; and yet the notable thing that distinguishes the deities from the common man isn’t in their ability to climb up buildings or fly or breathe under water.  It’s their ability to be (and believe in) the extraordinary.

They aren’t arbiters of good and evil.  They have vendettas, and they drink and have sport-sex and form alliances and wage wars just like humans.  They live their life seeing only their perspective (barring a trip to their local oracle) and react to treachery or blessings or change as they see fit.  And, often, their reactions are very telling of the society upholding the myth that sustains them.  Familial quarrels, decade-long wars and torrid love affairs are all painted with colours contingent on the culture selecting them.  Some of these differences are slight (i.e. the transition of mythological gods from Greek to Roman culture), and some are significant, but they all deal with issues facing that particular society – and the lessons are far from limiting.

But if those stories said so much about the societies of the time, I worry about what stories like Batman and Spiderman are saying about us.  As someone who loves comic books, it pains me to say this, but the heroes we seem to embrace are pretty weak. It’s something about the way that we cling to good and evil as if it’s the only thing that matters – a dichotomous view of the world that seems to comfort people but is really pretty myopic.  In the North American tradition of comic books (which have now been embraced by hollywood),  it’s almost as if good and evil is made clearer through the eyes of a mask – a mask that we mold to suit our own goals and opinions.  We’ve become so uncomfortable with the indeterminate nature of life, that we’ve created these extreme versions of humans and given them the ability to determine right from wrong. Even Superman – the comic book figure which has arguably embraced classic mythology the most – doesn’t have enough struggle to him.  The reader is never conflicted about whether or not Superman will do the right thing.  He might fall from grace for a bit, but at the end of the day we find comfort in the fact that he’s still Superman.

But comfort is not always compelling, and this right/wrong model is not something you’ll find in every modern culture.  If you read Dragon Ball Z, for example, Goku and his friends (and even his foes) wrestle with evil in a way that is more about sentimental attachment than what is actually good or bad.  Characters die, have battles on other metaphysical planes, return to earth, visit and re-visit enemies, and all the while the reader is encouraged to ask questions and therefore compelled to turn the page.  The comic book’s ability to embrace mythology in such a unique way demonstrates that North America’s limited perspective says more about our culture than the medium.  It also makes me all the more thankful for magical minds like that of Neil Gaiman.

Again, I’m passionate about this subject and will probably revisit it again, so I’ll wrap this up with one last thought. I’m reading Kafka on the Shore by Murakami right now, and one of the things he references early on in the book is Plato’s Symposium.  The characters discuss the myth that, in the beginning, there were three different kinds of people – men/men, women/men and women/women – but then god got angry, and took a knife and cut everyone in half.  This is offered as an explanation for why people spend their whole lives looking for their other half – why we’re all looking for different people, and why we all get lonely sometimes.

I’ll take this explanation for love over being rescued by a masked-man any day.  The former is charming; the latter is limiting. At the end of the day, there’s just something constricting about capes…

My boyfriend and I recently visited the Ai Weiwei exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario.  It’s one of those exhibits where you walk in and feel immediately like you know the artist on a personal level.

One of the first pieces is the x-ray of Ai Weiwei’s own head after he was struck by a police officer one night. Immediately following this was the movie “Never Sorry” projected on an adjacent wall – a documentary which examines the work of Ai Weiwei (what he’s been through and what continues to drive him). Fearlessness is the obvious theme in his work, particularly in his photography.

Ai Weiwei’s entire career centres around not allowing critical issues to be swept under the rug; his aim is to give a voice to the voiceless (in this case literally – there was a line up of people volunteering to read portions of the list of 5000 children who died in an earthquake due to the poor construction of schools).  No topic is off-limits, whether it’s the de-facing of ancient terra-cotta pottery, or the re-purposing of bicycles which have fallen out of use. Every sculpture is a labour of love, and every photograph has been meticulously taken to form part of a larger message.

Powerful, meaningful work that stretches over a lifetime and deserves to be celebrated.

So why was I so uncomfortable?

One of the things that Ai Weiwei has embraced is social media.  He openly blogs; he actively tweets; he gives a voice to his daily life and encourages others to get involved.  There’s a piece where different people face the camera and say “fuck you” in every language.  It really doesn’t get more powerful or subversive – and yet, when it’s anyone other than the artist’s face on film, something important is lost.

For some reason, that genuine passion and frustration with what’s going on in the world can only be found in the eyes of Ai Weiwei.  Whether it’s speaking or sculpting or taking a picture, it’s obvious that he’s never compromised a day in his life.  He’s constructed a strong personal brand that will no doubt speak to generations for years to come.  But his voice will not be able to speak on behalf of those generations, and simply appropriating that brand onto the faces of others seems to dilute the message and move into the realm of sheer anger.

And, despite what many people think, anger is not what Ai Weiwei is all about; he is passionate about his country and about the people in and around his life.  But in a world where anger and passion are more and more prominent (and more and more commonly voiced), I worry that the anger is all that people will remember.  His art already calls out to you – compels you to understand and consider things that it would be a mistake to forget.  But the added volume of social media turns that compelling voice into a scream – and when someone screams at you, all you want to do is cover your ears.  We have to begin to be concerned about how we interact with these mediums, and whether or not they are diluting the true experience and message of what we’re trying to say.  I think in many ways his avid use of social media has furthered Ai Weiwei’s message. Or has it simply stretched that message – the further its reach, the thinner it becomes?

One of the last pieces was a video/writing booth, where you could speak up and voice your opinion about what was going on (presumably politically) in your life.  You could easily look around – see the middle finger in front of the Eiffel Tower, the painted Coca-Cola logo on the ancient pottery, the construction progress photos of the unfinished Olympic sculpture – and summarize a clear and present anger.

Or, instead, you could notice the perfect image of China that he delicately carved into wood assembled from the Qing Dynasty, and know there is something deeper going on – national pride.  It’s the kind of pride you can’t fake, and that’s something that should make everyone squirm a little.

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.