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Published in: January-February 2007 issue.


FIFTY. I stretch all I’ve got around it, but barely grasp its half. I thought that cresting at the half-century mark might spark a wrenching essay or clever poem but, so far, the whole thing leaves me flat. Another Monday. Another Monday at the office. Another paycheck on Wednesday I’ll spend on … let’s see … pen refills, shaving cream, jam, and another dozen legal pads that somehow seem to be disappearing with alarming regularity. My pharmaceuticals are due for a refill too, and are pricey, but I can’t have my blood pressure spiking or my gastrics acting up. Certainly not on my birthday.

I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I was forty before I was dumbfounded by the realization that I’d never seen my own ass. Only glancing glimpses of its right and left, but the rest of it, barely viewed in second-hand reflection. Amazed by the oversight, a mini-epiphany began to manifest itself, and when I next realized I’d never really seen my own face, I had to go sit down, on an ass as alien to me as yours.

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