I had no idea that it could get that bad.
Granted, I understood that even this level of nastiness could actually happen to me, but never has it crossed my mind that I would be one of "those people." The kind that go about life, not knowing that they are in a special group that is talked about behind their backs; that others sometimes avoid being around them because they walk about blissfully ignorant that they cause offense to all that they pass. But then I was confronted. It was right there in my face. All up in my face- in my nose to be more specific. There was no denying it: my ass was stank.
I dropped the shorts at my feet, gagging, but it was too late. My nostril's inner linings had been burned, my throat created a histamine blocker that caused me to wheeze for the next two minutes, my eyes watered. I had just taken a giant whiff of my own ass smell.
I had worn these shorts every day for the last two weeks. They're the only pair of shorts that I own. Green cordoroy cutoffs. Big pockets. They sit perfectly on my waist- not too low, not too high. I love these shorts and wear them often: during my day time errands, sitting in my unairconditioned car, walking about here and there, attending and working in rehearsals.
Oh dear God. Rehearsals in a hot barn with outside toilet facilities that sometimes did not work. Rehearsals where I'd sit next to others to stretch out the ol' limbs, pop the back, get the neck, shoulders and pelvis all warmed up, getting my ass ready to do the tasks that would be required of me.
Once my mind came out of shock from the scent of my butt, it quickly ran a scan of all moments from the last few days where I might have exposed others to the stench of assness. I recalled someone abruptly moving from a gym mat after I took to doing some stretches while sitting next to them. I remember sitting down and catching a whiff of something horrid, but assumed that it was probably the scent of still water that sometimes collected and molded below the hot barn's foundation. And then it remembered practicing The Stunt-
Oh no. Oh no no no no no.
The Stunt: (noun, Th*uh St*uhnut) A techinque that is required from LadeeLeroy in the present show she is involved with. As the show has a clown theme, the opening number is a large explosion of energy with many people, dressed as clowns, descend apon the set. Said The Stunt consists of LadeeLeroy picking up another cast mate (the former D-lander Thereman), flinging him about her waist only to catch his legs, wait for him to flip himself upside down and hold himself between her legs. (See fig. 1)
We had practiced The Stunt numerous times the week prior all the way up to the moment when I discovered that I posessed an ass of smelliness. Yes, I had showered several times during these days, but I had yet to wash the shorts. The shorts that seemed to act like an olfactory sponge of cordoroy. I began to panic.
Thereman had to climb past my ass numerous times to achieve the conclusion of The Stunt. I could't even remember how often we had to pause to figure out where to put one lankly limb while another was trying to find some point of stability. He must have paused at least four times right in direct contact with my ass. Oh God. How could he not notice? How could I look at him the next day? How could he not have mentioned it to other cast members?
Thereman: Hey. Have you ever noticed that LadeeLeroy's ass smells like rotten string cheese?
Castmate: No. No, I haven't.
Thereman: Well, next time you have the chance- like if you're near her ass- try not to breathe because it reeks. Seriously.
Castmate: Thanks for the heads up.
Thereman: If I can save just one person from the evils that live between Leroy's butt cheeks, I feel my life has made a difference.
Castmate: You are my new Jesus, Thereman.
Thereman: Spread the gospel, brother. Spread it to all that are around: The smell of Leroy is that of ass, and all should avoid her at all costs.
I threw my shorts in the washing machine, dousing the crotch and ass area with another extra cup of detergent, just to make sure that anything that might have germinated there would die a sudsy death. The next morning, I pulled the shorts from the drier, sniffed them long and hard, made Lipman smell them to make sure that I'd not been brainwashed by the stench from yesterday, and slipped them on.
On my way to rehearsal, I was practicing ways to approach Thereman to apologize to him about my stinky offense. I wasn't sure if I should make a joke of it: "You know what stinks more than my acting in this scene-- my ass! Am I right or am I right?"... Or if I should be apologetic: "I am so so so sorry so sorry about my ass smell. I have a low self esteem that might have evolved into the smell that has been emitting from my pores, specifically my ass pores the past several days."... Or maybe I should just ignore him and counter any rumors that he may have started.. "Oh, he said that about my ass, did he? Well have you ever tasted his angel food cake? Yes, it may be delicious, but seriously. It tastes like food from angels. Why is he taking food from angels? Doesn't he know that angels need to eat, too? Not cool."
When I pulled up to rehearsal, I had no plan. I walked up the deck stairs and found Thereman standing by the doorway. "Hey Leroy!," he said, in a sincere manner, no less. "Hey Thereman."
"Hey, I don't know if you noticed or not, but my ass really stank yesterday and I didn't discover it until later, when I sniffed my shorts after taking them off. So I'm sorry if you were exposed to any scent of unpleasantness the other days. I just had no idea. So yeah. Apologies."
He smiled. At first I thought he was going to nod in an affirmative manner as if he had been waiting for me to acknowledge the foulness he had been exposed to for days on end. Instead, his smile crinkled into an amused smirk and he said, "Ha ha ha. I didn't even notice. Your ass smelled? No. I had no idea."
Then I felt embarassed. He hadn't been aware at all, and now he knew my deep, dark secret. One that I should have always kept hidden away, knawing at my innards. "Or maybe he did know it and was just being polite.," Lipman stated later. "It is a bit of a disgusting topic that people don't want to talk about."
Well I'm sorry that I've brought this out in the open. I'm sorry that I'm talking about something that every single person has dealt with or will deal with in the near future.
In the meantime, come see my show. I play a clown. A clown with an ass that smells like lilac growing on mountains.
August 13th -28th
*pictures taken by Kenny