Guest Commentary

When you literally have your tits in a wringer...

Mammogram, mammogram. Doesn't that sound like fun? Like a topless waitress outside your front door delivering a birthday greeting. I can see it all now: jaunty hat askew, cake held aloft with one hand, song lyrics in the other as she belts out a tune Ethel Merman-style, tits jiggling as she shimmies and reaches for the high notes.

Well maybe ... in the best of all possible worlds. But I'm beginning to suspect this is not the best of all possible worlds. Truth is, I don't even think this one's in the Top 10. A mammogram in this world involves allowing a medical technician to stick your tit in a vice, squeeze it down as tight as she can without you screaming for mercy and giving up every state secret you know (picture a breast stuck between two Encyclopedia Britannicas and a real fat person sitting on top) and taking an X-ray of it. When she's finished with the first position, she takes it out to mash it around and shoot another angle approximating 45 degrees from absolute pancake.

This time, she insists it's possible to get your armpit in there as well as your breast, leaving you bent at the knees, embracing and holding on to a grip on the side of the machine snared utterly, like a rabbit in a leghold trap.

In between screams, I asked the technician why she was doing this to me. She cocked her pretty little head and informed me of the interesting fact that many women have breast tissue in their armpits. Now is that exciting, or what?

That day, upon returning home, my mind filled with the peculiarities of feminine anatomy, I decided to head to my computer and Google "breasts." After wading through pantloads of titty sites, including one site called "World's Biggest Boobs" (the mammography challenges involved with some of these pairs would be truly awesome), I found out that it's not unheard of for entire breasts to lurk under the female armpit! In fact, during the middle ages, a third breast was one of many ways of identifying a witch. Thank God they didn't have mammograms then. There would have been no hiding.

I'm sure all the men reading this right now are thinking ewwww! I don't wanna hear all this stuff about two of my favorite toys. Well, wake up Johnboy, this--alas--is the reality of breasts. Not that I don't like having them. They're soft and bouncy, and when you curl up in the fetal position under the covers on a cold night, they're a great cuddle--who needs a teddy bear?--but the other side of being lucky enough to possess the things is that they're great reserves of fat and soft tissue, inclined to take in and hold on to every toxin--environmental and otherwise--you've ever absorbed: sort of like testicles and prostates, only bigger. So when you're past a certain age, or if anyone in your family has ever had breast cancer, you have to go in once a year, stick 'em in the diabolical machine and have them squashed and photographed whether you feel like it or not--no ifs, ands or buts about it. Sure, you might get by without it, but with breast-cancer rates on the rise all the time, is it really worth taking the chance?

Whenever I have a mammogram, I ask the staff to please promise to release me should the building catch fire. I have a vivid and horrifying picture in my mind of them all running out of the building while I contort wildly, like a Cirque du Soleil performer, trying to reach the handle and free myself. Maybe I should talk to Hollywood about it, see about turning it into a Lifetime Television for Women movie. You know, sort of the chick version of the hiker who has to cut off his own arm.

Maybe Valerie Bertinelli can play me.

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