Dignity is easier to swallow with hot sauce

Within our lives there are certain moments that inspire a deeper understanding of ourselves. I experienced such an epiphany yesterday morning during a quiet moment of introspection; crouched in the backyard; sprinkling dog poop with hot sauce.

To clarify, I was not attempting to create the world’s most disgusting Cajun appetizer. According to a book on canine behavior, this would train our dog to avoid eating his “leftovers.” It was in that moment, while clutching a bottle of Tabasco and trying not to be seen by my neighbors, I came to realize that somewhere along the way providing our dog with decent manners had become more important than maintaining my personal dignity.

How did this happen?

I’m a 46-year-old man who survived the diaper phases of two children — both of whom were heavy eaters. I’ve had my share of high profile, low-dignity diaper changes, one of which required quick thinking, commando-like precision, and a paper plate. I’ve sat across from my four-year-old son at a busy restaurant in downtown San Francisco, handed him a cheese stick appetizer, and watched him yak up what appeared to be everything he’d consumed since graduating to solid foods. I tried to salvage the situation by waiting for a lull in gastrol activity and then racing him into the men’s room. And let me just say had the rest rooms been clearly marked, we probably would’ve made it.

What got me through those times, of course, was knowing, as a parent, I could look forward to eventually becoming an embarrassment to my children once they entered middle school.

However, as I crouched over Stanley’s latest pile with my Tabasco bottle at the ready, one thought kept running through my mind:

You can’t embarrass a dog. Particularly one with questionable intelligence.

This meant I had either (a) matured to the point of not caring what others thought of me based on their own one-dimensional perception, or (b) succumbed to the realization that the last of my dignity had been wrung out into a mop bucket in San Francisco.

In either case, it meant I had moved on to a new phase in my life. A time that will eventually prepare me for my later years, when I’m secure enough in myself that the opinions of others — or even the basic rules of traffic — no longer matter. However, reaching that level of self assuredness is still years away, which is why, after noticing I’d been crouched over the same pile for several minutes, I quickly sprinkled it and moved on.

As far as I can tell, Stanley is no longer interested in his “leftovers.” I know this because he has stopped coming in from outside and standing with his tongue in the water bowl. At the same time, it’s proven to be a trade-off since I can’t put Tabasco on my eggs without getting queasy.

The important thing is that the experience has allowed me to achieve some personal growth thanks to a few moments of introspection about fodderhood.

(You can write to Ned Hickson at nhickson@thesiuslawnews.com, or at the Siuslaw News at P.O. Box 10, Florence, OR 97439.)

Cosmetic surgery—boldly taking us where no one in their right mind has gone before

Today, we will be talking about an important milestone in the field of cosmetic surgery. Why? Because on my desk this morning was a press release with the following headline:

At long Last! Buttocks Enhancement Surgery available in U.S.!

So, as you can see, I really had no choice.

Especially since, as a professional courtesy, one of my fellow journalists had taken the time to write “Urgent!” across the top. (And, yes—these are the kinds of things that regularly cross my desk.)

As you might expect, buttocks enhancement surgery is just like other cosmetic procedures in that the sole purpose is to improve the physical attributes of a person. This is accomplished by either enlarging or reducing the size of said attribute.

Which can be singular or plural.

And we’ll just leave it at that.

In this case, however, we’re talking about enlarging the buttocks. While many people, such as myself, prefer to achieve this naturally through a program of rigorous eating and lack of exercise, there are others who don’t want to wait for the holidays for a larger rear. For these people there is Dr. Mark Jewell, vice-president of the National Aesthetic Society, which is currently offering this procedure here in the U.S.

According to the press release, buttocks enhancement surgery has actually been popular in South America for many years.

Ah, yes—South America! We may not have indoor plumbing, but just look at our butts.

The enhancement process itself can take place three ways. The first is to inject fat directly into the gluteus muscles, which may SOUND gross, but…

Okay, yeah—it’s actually pretty gross.

The second is to go with plastic implants that are inserted directly behind the gluteus muscles. This technique, according to Dr. Jewell, is supposed to look the most natural.

That is, as long as you don’t plan on going swimming. If you do, the natural buoyancy of the plastic implants will add a whole new meaning to the term “bottoms-up.” It’s because of this that you can expect to see an increase in the number of pool injuries, particularly those caused by large children leaping onto what they thought was a wayward floatation device.

The final option is for the surgeon to make an incision directly in the skin surrounding the buttocks, and then stretch it up much like a face lift. The main difference being, of course, that too many of these, and you’ll permanently suffer from the world’s worst wedgie.

This brings us to our next segment: Face transplants.

This is exactly what it sounds like—surgically replacing someone’s entire face all at one time. This is obviously a vast improvement over replacing someone’s face over the course of many years, which, as you know, was first pioneered by Michael Jackson.

According to a report in Britain’s The Daily News, plastic surgeon Peter Butler says he plans to carry out a full-face transplant as early as next April. Butler says the experiment will be performed at London’s “Royal Free Hospital” — which is the perfect place since, if something goes wrong, his patient will be royally…

Well — you know.

Butler, however, isn’t the only surgeon vying to perform the first successful face transplant. According to a recent article in the journal Medicine, there are at least three other teams of surgeons around the world working on techniques that will allow facial skin, muscles, blood vessels and nerves to be removed from a corpse and attached to someone other than Ted Koppel.

As you can see, we have a lot to look forward to when it comes to the future of cosmetic surgery. Yet, I’d suggest against going in for buttocks enhancement surgery and a face transplant all at once.

Unless your willing to risk finding out that hindsight really is 20/20.

(You can write to Ned Hickson at nhickson@thesiuslawnews.com, or at the Siuslaw News at P.O. Box 10, Florence, Or. 97439)

The bigger your lips, the sexier you’ll be when it comes to dating a sucker fish

Nothing says “sexy” faster than someone with a pair of giant lips, even if that person’s collagen injections have made their lips so enormously seductive that they can’t actually pronounce the word “sexy,” and must instead settle for calling themselves “shek-shee.” The point is, big lips are no longer just a cosmetic enhancement for people less fortunate than Mick Jagger and Angelina Jolie, whose lips are so large and incredibly sexy that they are prohibited by international law from bearing children together because, quote: “Said children could potentially upset the delicate balance between populations of humans and sucker fish.”

Though we all know that true beauty stems from inside, as any cosmetics surgeon will tell you, no one will notice unless your lips are the size of tractor tires. Which is why a new product called City Lips is being heralded as the newest, easiest and safest way to give you the lips you always wanted, but never dreamed you could have, at least not without surgically implanting tire stems in them and inflating your lips to 350 psi.

Until now, those of us unable to afford expensive collagen injections were forced to live with the embarrassment of having normal, everyday lips. But thanks to City Lips, you can avoid the hassle and expense of collagen injections by using their patented do-it-yourself lip enlargement process!

That’s right! Say goodbye to snobby surgeons telling you how much better you’d look with Julia Roberts lips when their own lips look like Phyllis Diller’s. With each purchase of City Lips you’ll receive one bottle of specially formulated “lip transformer” solution and a patented dual-action applicator. This applicator is a crucial part of City Lips’ groundbreaking, two-step process — which starts by applying the “lip transformer” with one side of the patented applicator and then, after turning the applicator over, whacking your lips with it as many times as possible for 10 minutes.

Okay, I made that last part up. But according to City Lips, their new product has been named “Best Over-the-Counter Lip Plumper” by Good Housekeeping, which, as you know, recently debunked the common misconception that you could increase the size of your lips by spraying them with Pledge (although it will keep them shiny and smelling lemony fresh).

I’d also like to point out that after three large margaritas, trying to say “Best Over-the-Counter Lip Plumper” will at least make your feel like your lips are really huge.

I bring this up because I’m concerned about the mixed message this sends to young women. On one hand, they’re seeing supermodels getting thinner and thinner. On the other hand, they’re seeing those same models trip over their own lips on the runway, with nothing to break their fall except for other stumbling models, who then land in a flailing heap of inflated lips and silicone.

No more. It’s time to quit pouting, pucker up, and accept each other’s lips just the way they are.

Unless pouting makes your lips look fuller, of course.

(You can write to Ned Hickson at nhickson@thesiuslawnews.com, or at the Siuslaw News at P.O. Box 10, Florence, OR. 97439)