I’ve decided to add a, perhaps somewhat unexpected, item to my ‘thankful list’ this year.
It’s amazing timing that I was presented with the unlikely opportunity to recognize a bodily reaction that most of us take for granted yet is readily available to us when we need it most- at times of fear, surprise, excitement, or Indian food.
Here is my story of thanks:
I drove over to my best friend’s house to drop something off on her porch. They have this grey cat, Lola, who likes to hang out, unseen, in the bushes just in front of their porch. Oftentimes, as I walk down the pathway leading to Nikki’s home, Lola will step out of those bushes and walk with me to the door.
Last week, as I approached the house, I heard the familiar rustling of leaves coming from the bushes. I expected to see sweet, slow moving Lola emerge from her hiding place and join me for the next 20 steps. I was relaxed (likely the Xanax) and prepared to lean down to pet her. I was woefully mistaken.
Instead, an ordinary squirrel with terrible manners shot out of those bushes like a bullet on fire. This bushy-tailed bastard was traveling at approximately 2,500 mph and his trajectory was across the top of my my foot. Did you hear me? ACROSS my foot. Like, his clawed-ass feet made contact with the top of my foot. I shudder as I write this as I can still hear the sound of his claws scratching across the leather of my (super, super cute) boot.
I was leaning somewhat forward and had plans to squat down to greet a familiar cat when he ambushed me.
I reacted, in what I assume looked to the neighbor standing in her yard, like I was preforming my own spastic version of Riverdance while hopped up on 10 shots of espresso or maybe Crystal Meth.
My knees met my chest over and over again as my feet stomped against the concrete in what sounded almost like a deliberate pattern. I pulled my arms in, bent and with fists clenched, close to my rib cage. I yelled, at the top of my terrified lungs, “Mother F*cker!” There was no other word choice more suitable in that moment. Sorry, Nikki’s neighbor, if I offended and/or worried you. That squirrel deserved to have his feelings hurt, though. He was (and will forever be) a mother f*cker.
The bastard was long up a tree by the time my traumatized brain recognized that I could stop my awkward tap dance of defense. This horrifying attack by volatile fauna left me shaken but then,ultimately, relieved and thankful.
Thankful that I still have a fully functioning and swift reacting anal muscle clench. I don’t know the medical term for the anal muscle so I will just call it ‘the anal muscle’ but I can tell you that it deserves recognition and praise.
Had that muscle failed me, I’d have shit my pants. There would have been shit down one or both legs of my pants. The neighbor would’ve seen me go from random public tap dance to walking all stiff-legged like Frankenstein’s monster toward the front door. I would’ve had to ask Nikki if I could take a shower and borrow new clean pants and undergarments. She lives just ’round the corner from me so she would probably think that request bizarre. I’d have been late to pick up the little kids from Preschool. I’d have had to explain to the sweet ladies who take wonderful care of my children: “I’m so sorry I’m late- a rude, asshole squirrel attacked (attacked!) the top of my foot. I thought it was my friend’s cat, Lola, but it wasn’t so then I shit myself and had to shower and change clothes and all. I would like to say that it won’t happen again but how the hell do I know? Squirrels are shifty mofos.”
What I’m saying to you is simple. In this holiday season, while we’re all taking stock of our lives and what we value, be cognizant of what your anal muscle can do for you. Its rapid response to an unexpected adrenaline dump can, literally, save you from taking a different type of dump right in your pants. That muscle is quiet, unseen and modest. It doesn’t ask for much (muscles can’t talk) yet, aside from the heart, could possibly be the most important tissue in our bodies.
So I’d like to publicly say, thank you, anal muscle, for your rapid, ass clench response just when I needed you most. You will not be taken for granted ever, ever again.
You may want to take a minute to consider the well being and happiness of your anal muscle before you’re ambushed by a furtive, psycho squirrel or Salvation Army bell ringer or whatever this holiday season. You want to stay on the anal muscle’s good side lest it betray you right in the middle of polite society.