My Ano Teaches Me an Important Lesson

Scene: AA Meeting, Somewhere in Tokyo

“Hi, my name is Kerry and I’m a recovering asshole.”

As my ol’ buddy, the buddha, once said, “Do bad shit and bad shit happen to you.”

Becoming an ad agency executive seemed like a good idea at the time but I didn’t realize the price of admission included doing bad things to people.

Oh sorry, that’s “making tough decisions, taking action, growing profits.” Sure, I was very well-compensated, enjoyed the trappings of power, and actually did produce some great advertising.

Along the way, however, my ego got huge, my heart hard, and my time spent focused on the wrong things in life.

In the pursuit of profit, I become a quick-to-judge-others, angry and aggressive, self-satisfied asshole — the kind of person I don’t like to hang out with. Which is a problem since you have to hang out with yourself 24 x 7 for the rest of your life.

That’s likely why, as I write this, I’m recovering from asshole surgery. No, not my personality, my anus.

More precisely, to fix “fistula-in-ano” (the Latin is much more poetic than “anal fistula”). If you’re really interested in the gory details, please visit: to enter the world of the Mystic Knights of Fistula-in-Ano. (note: website no longer available online)

This condition is painful, messy, and embarrassing — just what I needed to bring me down to earth.

I’ve been humbled by my dependence upon others to help me because I am not worthy of such compassion.

I’ve been awed by the cheerfulness of the nurses as they do things that most of us would refuse to do — these kids studied long and hard to get here and they’re wiping my ass and cleaning my bedpan. With a smile.

I’ve come to regret all the lost chances to be nice to people, to help people, to make people laugh.

Most importantly, I’ve realized that Life is giving me a chance to start over. Sometimes, real pain in the ass is just what is needed to cure an asshole.

IN ANO VERITAS (In Anus, Truth)

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(Originally published June 13, 2008)

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