I was on the phone to Iszi Lawrence yesterday. This in itself isn’t an unusual thing. Also, not unusually, I asked her what she was doing. She replied, “I’m drawing a beetle’s anus.”
Now, out of context, that’s a particularly random response – but in this case it made perfect sense to me, and so I wasn’t thrown by it at all. Thus my reply was the well thought out retort of, “I don’t believe a beetle has an anus.”
Here I should mention that I have a propensity to react to facts of natural history with incredulity. At the moment I think those thoughts, I believe them to be one hundred per cent accurate, but half a second after I articulate said thought out loud, I change my mind and realise how utterly stupid I am being. So it was when I once firmly declared that “spiders don’t have eyes.” Of course they have eyes. They have eight eyes, eight legs and eight cocks for all I know. So, if you ever hear me say, “a bee has nipples,” just ignore me and carry on drinking your rotten crops.
In this instance however, no such volte-face of the brain occurred. Iszi, on the other hand, accustomed to such ridiculous mind farts is automatically primed to belittle any such assertion I make about animals or insects. “You don’t think a beetle has an anus?” she mocked.
“No,” I replied firmly, “I have no doubt they excrete and have a mechanism with which to do that; but I do not believe they have a spinchter out of which they push poo.”
Every good anecdote has a beginning, a middle, and an end.
This is not a good anecdote.
But like all good insomniacs, as I fought for sleep last night, my stupid brain began to relive the moment. It needed closure. It needed a punchline.
“Beetle’s anus,” it thought. “Beetle’s anus. Beetle. Anus. An anus is a ring of muscle. An anus is a chocolate starfish. An anus squeezes out shit. Ahhh.”