I Fear I Am the Butt of All Jokes
What's at the bottom of all of this?
I was atop Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, AZ when my butt made its bare appearance. The merciless desert sun blazed down on me, and I couldn’t move anymore. When I reached Camelback’s peak, my body melted. I collapsed into a nook in an enormous red-clay boulder.
My sweat had sweat and it soaked through my tank top. My heart pounded with shame at how badly the climb kicked my ass. I caught my breath and gazed out at the painted desert vistas below. I ran and hiked Colorado mountain trails daily. But this mountain — with a straight ascent and without a cooling, tree line shadow — bested me.
Two men — well over the age of seventy — ran past my shelter and waved. An urge to kick them in the shins enveloped me. I hadn’t planned on the hike but found myself with five hours to kill.
I rationalized my hot mess of a performance by my gear — tank top and cut-off jeans shorts — and lack of headwear. Those old guys would’ve eaten my dust if I’d worn outdoor apparel.
My rotten mood transformed to exhilaration. I jumped from the rock but paid no mind to the ripping sound I made. Exhilarated, I stretched my arms to the cloudless sky. A gust of wind blew in, and my butt grew cold. “Huh,” I thought. “That’s weird.”
They’re probably impressed that I’m running in jeans shorts
Fatigue begged me to rush back to the car. So, I began my descent, passing scores of tourists on their way up. I could feel their eyes boring into me as I passed.
“They’re probably impressed that I’m running in jeans shorts,” I told myself.
About a half-mile down, I realized every person I passed was staring at me. None were eager to return my ebullient “hellos.” And, my butt still felt cold.
I sidestepped off of the trail to ensure I hadn’t sat in water. Nope. But, the entire left backside of my shorts waved in royal salutation. My boulder sanctuary had ripped my shorts from beltline to hemline. A pale butt, barely covered in thong underwear, greeted every trekker on the mountain.
In Colorado, I typically carry layers of clothes and a pack on my hikes. In Arizona, I had only a water bottle to cover my nudity. I tried walking on the side of the trail. I prayed my Nalgene bottle could cover my shame, and I awkwardly held it over my butt cheek.
I thought about passing each tourist with a “Yeah, they ripped when I peaked. So embarrassing.”
But alas, nothing worked.
So I laughed hysterically instead. After a thousand hours of despair, the trailhead finally emerged. I could sprint to my car and forget my horrific cloud of embarrassment! As I started running, I heard delighted screams and prepubescent laughter from behind me.
I glanced over my shoulder and noticed a side trail to my left. A large Boy Scout troop and their Scout leader were frozen on the trail. Skinny, acne-faced boys pointed accusatory fingers my way. I heard the click of a million cell phone cameras.
“Feeling breezy?” A malevolent Scout asked.
“Bro, I am so putting this on YouTube!” Another said.
My shame grew defiant. I lowered the Nalgene bottle. I bent over and shouted, “Snap away, boys. Snap. Away.” I giggled and shook my rear.
I’ve reflected on a trilogy of long-forgotten butt moments this year. And I’ve come to the conclusion that my butt has a mind of its own. It’s out to sabotage me. I’m fearful of my future role as the butt of all jokes.
This story originally appeared in MuddyUm on Medium.