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I wished for a lot of tail. In hindsight, I should have been more specific.

February 4, 2011

I’ve been reading a book, and I thought I’d share it with you. Except by “book” I mean “uncorrected proof.” And by “reading” I mean “sitting on.”

I’ll just start over.

I’ve been sitting on an uncorrected proof. It’s by historian Lawrence Leamer and called “The Kennedy Men.” At 880 pages, it’s a bit much for pleasure reading but perfect for a rump booster. I found it in a dusty pile among promotional publications and periodicals that were sent to the newspaper where I work, presumably for us to preview, critique and then recommend to our readers – not cram in a corner until a copy editor with chronic ass ache needs something to prop herself off a chair.

The spine of this book has been twisted and crushed under the weight of an adult woman. They just don't make books like they used to.

We get all sorts of free shit mailed to the newsroom, usually movies that go straight to DVD or books that make a beeline for the bargain bin. Another title that recently caught my eye was “Spelling Love with an X” by Clare Dunsford. I hope she’s a better writer than speller.

My pain in the ass started in late September, when the newspaper was switching from an archaic program called Atex, miraculously still somewhat functional but precariously held together by duct tape and pterodactyl bones, to a new computer system. Our former computers looked a lot like the three-decade-old machine inside the hatch that Desmond on “Lost” used to input a string of numbers every 108 minutes to save the world. I’m pretty sure we’re not saving the world. Unless saving the world involves cutting down millions of trees to turn into newsprint. Then we’re totally doing that.

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My co-workers and I were required to show up three and a half hours early for our shifts for two weeks straight, so that we could train and familiarize ourselves with the new platform while still continuing to meet nightly deadlines and go to press every morning. After the first few days, I started to notice discomfort in my derriere. I had hoped it was just temporary and that it would improve. It wasn’t and it hasn’t.

Seeking relief, I bought a cushion shaped like a ring – the sort that might come in handy for prostate surgery. Or hemorrhoid flare-ups. Or cats. Raved a satisfied customer on Amazon: “I used this after I had a baby and had stitches that healed very slowly. It really helped take the pressure and discomfort off and let my sore places rest and heal.” My sore places aren’t faring as well.

To go from sitting to standing is a painstakingly slow process. It involves pulling myself up by my arms, with intermittent pauses to wince and swear. I’m also thinking about installing a hand rail in my shower. Not because I need it. I always covet the one at my grandfather’s apartment; it’s a quality addition to any bathroom.

After more than three months of enduring the wrong kind of ass spasms, I finally broke down and went to a nurse practitioner last week. The anal probing examination went as follows:

Nurse: I’m going to put some pressure on your spine. Tell me when it hurts.

Me: OK.

Nurse: Now?

Me: No.

Nurse (heading south): And now?

Me: Nope.

Nurse (continuing descent): Yes?

Me: No.

Nurse: Huh.

Me: Huh?

Nurse: You have a really long tailbone, my friend.

Me: I can honestly say no one’s ever said that to me before.

Nurse: Wow. It’s almost a tail.

Me: *concentrates* *tries to wag it*

Nurse: This certainly explains why …

Me (interrupting): … I feel such a kinship with Teva and Isabel.

Nurse: … your tailbone isn’t healing.

Me (jerks from pain): Owwww. There. That’s the spot.

Nurse: You’ll probably need to see a spine specialist.

Me: Just curious, which animal’s tail would you say mine most closely resembles?

Nurse (ignoring inquiry): You should try icing it once or twice a day.

Me: Maybe starts with a “C” …

Nurse: I’m going to prescribe an anti-inflammatory. That should help with the swelling.

Me: … ends with an “at.”

Nurse: Call me in two weeks if your symptoms persist.

Me: Caaaaaaah …

Nurse: I don’t have to look at your throat. You can get dressed.

My official diagnosis is Cat Lady, confirming my long-held suspicions. The nurse didn’t actually say that, per se, but it was definitely implied.

During a sexual drought spanning on and off for the past several years, this wasn’t the sort of tail I’d been fantasizing about. In the future, I’ll be more careful what I ass for. Although I have been telling everyone that I’ve been sitting on the Kennedy men, so technically I wasn’t too far off the mark.

43 Comments leave one →
  1. February 4, 2011 7:25 AM

    We can also conclude that Lawrence Leamer is something of a pain in the ass.

  2. February 4, 2011 7:25 AM


    I’m quite jealous that you have a tail. Do you have incredible balance?

  3. February 4, 2011 7:28 AM

    So… Cat Ladyit is. The big question is if you now feel compelled to get the Cat Women suit or not.

  4. February 4, 2011 8:06 AM

    You have officially beaten the time my GYN told me he couldn’t find my cervix and I told him it was in my other pants.

    • February 5, 2011 5:34 AM

      I told you getting that maze installed was a bad idea.

    • February 6, 2011 1:34 AM

      Nice one hoodyhoo. I’ll send you the bill for the off the scale broken laugh metre.

  5. February 4, 2011 9:16 AM

    Whoa…a tail. Only you can pull that off.

  6. February 4, 2011 9:26 AM

    you should be sitting on “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”, bound together with “Catcher in the Rye”… i think that would help the healing.

  7. Danna permalink
    February 4, 2011 10:11 AM

    Too funny. Your work computer looks like the computer I had when I was 14. That’s 22 yr ago. Really, it looks just like it!

  8. February 4, 2011 11:05 AM

    Oh man, that must really hurt but this is really funny. I actually have an extra vertebrae at the end of my spine, causes me lots of backache. Also, my chiropractor says it is kind of like a tail. So, you are not alone friend! So, how is icing your arse going? Sounds really uncomfortable…

  9. Dear Sweet Mama permalink
    February 4, 2011 11:27 AM

    I always have wanted a tail – now, maybe, not so much. As to the ass icing, we do a lot of it this time of year in upstate NY and I think it actually CAUSES a pain in the ass.

  10. February 4, 2011 11:29 AM

    So is this one of those situations where you’re starting to look like your pets? Or a biological predisposition to other creatures of your kind? I need to know if you GREW your tail, in which case I’ll tell my chiropractor to take more X-rays to check the progress of MY tail.

  11. February 4, 2011 11:40 AM

    I think you should out for something that’s prehensile.

    Cat tails are lovely and all, but they can’t pick things up.

    Wouldn’t that be cool?

  12. February 4, 2011 4:57 PM

    I want to be a cat lady too.

  13. February 4, 2011 5:03 PM

    Dear Cat Lady,
    Once I broke my coccyx on a toboggan. It was the the second most pain I had ever experienced, the first being a surgery to remove hemorrhoids. Dear God, the pain! That damn little blow-up donut pillow did nothing. Demand the strong drugs. I repeat: DEMAND THE STRONG DRUGS! Also, I want an uncorrected proof. I’m going to add that to my Bucket List since cracked crack and rhoid removal have already been crossed off.

  14. February 4, 2011 5:41 PM

    Not only are you spiritually connected to Teva and Isabel but also evolutionarily connected. SWEET!

  15. February 4, 2011 6:00 PM

    There was a guy on the radio the other day calling in to ask if he should tell his new girlfriend about his tail before they sleep together. Apparently it’s nearly three inches long!

    I’m not gonna lie, a three-inch tail sounds pretty creepy. Yours just sounds like an overachieving tailbone. 😉

  16. February 4, 2011 7:05 PM

    one jessica journalist/homo-blogger to another i have to say: nothing will ruin your spine and/or ass like being a writer. make sure to stand up at least three or four times an hour to avoid the dreaded “secretary spread.” yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like.

  17. February 4, 2011 7:26 PM

    Sorry to hear that your coccyx is sick. While I don’t have a tailbone as extensive and inflamed as yours, I do have a slightly sore back from camping. Recommend swimming laps whenever T and I free up your lap.

  18. February 5, 2011 1:16 AM

    steal your special pillow back from the cats and fill the center with ice. sit. maybe when it melts, it will take the stains of unknown origin with it.

  19. February 5, 2011 3:42 AM

    I knew it! it makes perfect sense. you’re a cat lady. you’re my hero. you have a tail. therefore? you’re Cat Woman.

    sorry about your ass

  20. February 5, 2011 4:42 AM

    Do you have 33″ legs and a 22″ waist? Julie Newmar has the costume for you…..

  21. February 5, 2011 5:41 AM

    I think you should keep trying to move your tail. Tails can be very expressive, so maybe the reason you couldn’t move it at the nurse’s office is that you weren’t attempting the appropriate motion for your mood at the time. The next time you’re annoyed at someone, try flicking your tail.

    You should probably also try purring and retracting your fingernails.

  22. February 5, 2011 7:07 PM

    I still don’t understand how your tail cannot be healing correctly? I mean, you weren’t just born, were you? Or are you some blogging savant who’s really six months old whipping out these hilarious posts? Are you being raised by cats?!

    These are the kinds of things that keep me up at night…

    xo Susie

  23. February 6, 2011 10:15 AM

    almost laughed my ass off reading this…

    I hope you feel better very soon – sore tailbones are not much fun (says the lady who went roller blading with the younger man to show she could still do it)

    be well,

  24. February 6, 2011 5:46 PM

    What did you do to your tailbone? Like… Originally?

    I wonder if you should start carrying a whip, and dressing in leather cat-suits… You know it’s probably the next step in your transformation!

    • February 9, 2011 9:35 PM

      Sitting on my ass for three-plus hours of computer training and then immediately followed by an eight-hour shift for two weeks straight was enough to injure my backside. I’m a delicate flower, apparently.

  25. February 6, 2011 8:59 PM

    Now I feel sad and inferior.

    My tailbone has never been complimented.


  26. February 6, 2011 10:32 PM

    Omg…this is hilarious. Aren’t there people who, like, get surgeries to get fake tails (you know, the people who try to tattoo their entire bodies in order to look like a cat/tiger)? I’m sure you’d make those people totally jealous.

    Also, I was just talking to my sister today about how I am so lazy that I think standing up in the shower is too much work for me. I’m convinced that if I got one of those elderly shower seats that my life would be complete. Thanks to reading your entry, I realized that maybe installing a handrail wouldn’t be a bad idea either…that way I can practice my Swan Lake moves in the shower and continue on in my diligent efforts to become more like Natalie Portman.

  27. February 7, 2011 4:49 PM

    Oh, God. I totally relate to this—the cats, the pain, the p-a-i-n. I bet I have a tail, too. Goddamit, just what I needed.

    At least my cats will be happy to hear this.

  28. February 8, 2011 2:53 AM

    I’m so sorry your ass hurts! I hope the jazz hands really helped in your healing process.

    Do you by chance work with Mary Tyler Moore? I feel like you may have similar offices.

  29. February 8, 2011 10:25 AM

    They always say that pets and their humans look alike. Kudos to you for going above and beyond in the effort to resemble your cats! They are very lucky. Also, I’m glad you don’t have goldfish instead…then you’d have to invite Daryl Hannah over…wait, maybe that wouldn’t be so bad? Get some goldfish.

  30. February 8, 2011 4:56 PM

    Hope the a** errr tail feels better soon from one Cat Lady to another!

  31. February 9, 2011 4:02 AM

    Hey Cat Lady,
    I hear ya! Um but if you’re of a certain age then you can legitimately now be a cougar. Would that not be cool? No? I hear there are cubs out there will to help with . . . you know. . . all sorts of stuff. . .at least that’s been my recent experience and I don’t even have the advantage of any kind of tail. . .

  32. February 10, 2011 6:20 AM

    This would make a good episode of Quincy wherein you would get a Bum-ectomy as the denouement and there would be some heavy moralising about SEE WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU KISS CANDIAN GIRLS AND LIVE WITH CATS!?

  33. February 10, 2011 7:12 AM

    ROFL. Nice post. You may want to go to a butt doctor. Last time I had ass pain at work I went to the doc and loe and behold… my boss was up there! Had to have her removed (aka quit.)

  34. cinnamontoastsquirrel permalink
    February 10, 2011 6:40 PM

    Oh gosh. I’m a copy editor at a local newspaper. Our old computers looked very similar to that…we used C-Text. We just upgraded within the last two years.
    And my chair…it’s covered in creepy stains.
    Those pictures are an all too familiar scene! I think all newsrooms look the same.

  35. February 10, 2011 9:11 PM

    There is a sure fire way to tell if you’re a cat – get someone to hold you upside down then drop you. If you land on your feet, well…


  36. February 13, 2011 5:14 PM

    Wow. I’ve never known anyone with a tail before. Although when the girl was in utero, the baby books would tell me she had a tail, which is not something you want to know about someone growing inside you. It felt like the XFiles.

  37. February 18, 2011 5:09 PM

    You are what you hang with.

    On that basis, I’m pretty sure I’m going to turn into a pigeon. Great.


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