By Jim Hagarty
I was very recently, yesterday I think it was, called an anus. I am using the polite form of what I was called, even though it didn’t seem to be very polite at the time I was called it. In fact, the name that was applied to me seemed entirely impolite when I was called it.
Being called an anus had the effect of sending a shock right through me as I have used up a lifetime of effort attempting not to be an anus. In fact, years of churchgoing seemed designed to help me avoid that fate. And yet, there I was, being informed that my character most resembled that part of the body the purpose of which is to extrude human waste. I sensed, right away, that the term that was applied to me was not meant to be complimentary.
To be referred to as an anus upset me so I did what I always do when I am upset and proceeded to cut my lawn. Some weeks, I have the best kept lawn in town. And as I pushed my ancient grass cutter up and down the grounds of my property, running right over the dog’s playthings in my absent-mindedness, a nagging question swept over me. Is it possible, I wondered, that, in fact, I am a genuine anus? I went over and over the evidence which supported that assessment and the few facts I could gather up that would dispute it. And I am sorry to say I had a hard time escaping the conclusion that the person who had so confidently labelled me an anus might just have been onto something.
I have been advised, over the years, when something seemingly unkind has been said about me or to me, to consider the source. And so that is what I did in this case. And that is when my self-doubt really took hold.
You see, my character referencer is a well-known local pharmacist. Not a licensed, registered pharmacist, but one who works out of his home, serving a very select patronage. His medical services are well-known to local authorities and for his efforts, he has attended some government-sponsored sabbaticals in provincially supplied housing facilities during which periods he has chosen to suspend his pharmaceutical outreach to the community but on his return home, he has always been able to resume his healing activities.
So, I am sure you will conclude, as I did myself, that the person who so emphatically referred to me as an anus is no doubt just the right person to be rendering such an assessment of another human being.
I am not sure what brought on yesterday’s conclusion that I am, in fact, a human anus, but I have considered the fact that I have remained loyal to my own pharmaceutical dispensary and have not brought any custom to the pharmacy operated by my recent character referencer.
And so there it is. A bit of a blow but in a strange way, a freeing thing as well. Knowing now that I have been fooling myself these past six decades plus when I have thought myself to be woefully lacking in anus qualities, I can now embrace the reality of what it is I really am and proceed accordingly. I guess what I am saying is, why fight it?
If you feel, after reading this, any desire to acquire an accurate character reference of your own, let me know and I will introduce you to the neighbourhood pharmacist but act quickly as it is possible he has another sabbatical scheduled. If you are lucky enough to meet him, please do not let his somewhat gruff appearance and demeanour and random arrangement of teeth put you off. By his own admission, he has a lot of non-anussial qualities and I think you will, as I did, come away from your encounter with him thinking, “Wow! What a sweetheart!” And if a good character assessment matters to you at all, you might consider purchasing some of his pharmaceuticals. He seems to favour those who do.
Although now that I think of it, that last comment I made is just the sort of thing an genuine anus would say.
If an anus could actually speak, that is.
And lest you think I am over it and not bothered at all by this whole matter now, consider the fact that I have just finished writing this story at 3:50 a.m., a time when all decent anuses are usually sound asleep, if an anus can, in fact, sleep. Only a human anus wouldn’t know the answer to something like that.