Toronto
3 min

When the bubblebutt bursts

But I am 29 now, squatting before the full-length, having found some semblance of purpose and earthly contentment

LOOKS LIKE ASS. My ass has never been one of my better features. Credit: Xtra files

I was appraising my ass the other day, in the full-length mirror in our bedroom. Flexing, squatting, pulling the cheeks apart with same kind of mute yearning that the refugee child holds the empty bowl in those Save The Children subway ads.



My ass has never been one of my better features; by the time I was 14 it resembled a well-worn rec room bean bag chair. My unsightly ass was, from the get-go, a totem of my preternatural world-weariness. In a sea of taut glutes and kicky adolescent possibility, my sad sack of an ass said one thing and one thing only: “Why bother.”



But I am 29 now, squatting before the full-length, having found some semblance of purpose and earthly contentment. I am now one of those people who dances nude in my living room on my days off, to the jubilant music of Ladysmith Black Mambazu. I bend down to run my fingers through the loamy soil, smell its richness, heedless of the irate housewife shooing me away from her flowerbed. Life wish!



So you’d think, with all that goddamned dancing and bending, that my ass would be a little more taut, that my boyfriend wouldn’t emerge breathless and haunted as a Vietnam Vet after eating my “nether hoop.” But noooooo, my ass in the mirror remains the wildy undulating, portable water bed that it’s always been, a terrible lint haven, the reason why I only received spankings when my parents wanted to teach themselves a lesson.



My ass is ugly. And I am finally, oddly, absolutely fine with that.



Some other things I am absolutely fine with? Back alley abortions, nose cancer, genocide as performance art, Pia Zadora’s scandalous Golden Globe victory in 1981 for Butterfly, and the fact that my first full-length play has recently been torn to pieces by critics all over the city (“Suprisingly not funny” – Thank you! “Rambling and maudlin” – L’echaim!).



You’d think I’d be elated, that all the things that would, historically trigger moral outrage in me (or, in the case of that last item, a drunken monologue at the Epicure about how critics are afraid of genius disguised as crap), now simply run down my back to settle in the impossible crevice of my Henry Moore sculpture of an ass. But I am not elated, because I hate serenity.



Why do I feel like such an accidental tourist in this state of grace? Why this need to declare war on peace? Why am I neurotically punning on book titles, as if I was trying to seduce Bill Richardson or whatever the name of that relentlessly quaint CBC radio host is?



It is so, so difficult to let go of the psychic curios and tiny torments which once defined you but, for whatever reason, no longer apply.



For years, I was renown as the butt of my own butt jokes; what will replace those butt jokes, now that I am happy in my own mottled, charred, largely unsightly skin? Will I start telling innocuous, inclusive, feel-good jokes?



Did you hear the one about the nurse’s aide who fell down an elevator shaft? No? Good, because neither have I! Let’s go make a snow angel, just for the “heck” of it! Who am I?



The phrase “personal growth” has, for me, always had such a sinister ring. I visualize a weeping cyst on the underside of one’s scrotum, to be shown to a prospective lover only when “the time is right.”



I mean, just think of all the great artists who turned into idiots once they resolved their own versions of my “ass shame:” Christopher Durang, Gus Van Sant, Elton John, David Bowie, Liza Minnelli post-rehab, circa 1984…. The list goes on and on: Liza Minnelli post-rehab, circa 1989, Liza Minnelli post-rehab 1998….



What exactly is the trick of getting older but staying bilious and spiritually stunted? You could ask George Bush Jr, but that would involve months of red tape and even then he’d just call you a terrorist and then ask you if you thought his mom is pretty. Or you could ask me!



How To Not Change Ever, By Greg Kearney.

• Always be drunk.

• Die.

• Who am I kidding? I’m happy and I know it – kiss my beautiful, ugly ass!