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part 7. an open letter to lesser gods.

Dear Mr. Robert Pattinson:

This is not a fan letter. I am not a teenage girl. I do not want you to take me to my prom. I do not want to know if you have a favorite jelly bean. But I do want something.

I want you to help me. This is my most desperate hour and even though you are a pretty boy film star and more likely a patchwork of schoolgirl fantasy and a bit of chicken wire than a real human being, it would seem you are my Obi-Wan Kenobi; my only hope. I don’t need to imagine the hurt you endured amid the particularly cruel speculation that your nipples were uneven — I am that unlucky abomination. Asymmetrical nipples is a very real, chronic affliction. And today, as each day since my diagnosis with monster nipples, I suffer.

Living with monster nipples is unimaginable, like Steel Magnolias without Dolly Parton. Multiplied by infinity. Plus two. On steroids. It’s scarier than finding Mr. Belvedere in your closet with a monkey wrench. Each day darker than that movie (I can’t remember the name, but it might be Mr. Baseball) where Bambi’s mother dies. Folks stare at me like I’m Magnum P.I. without the mustache. Forget the entertainment analogies, let me put it another way: if our respective nipples were ice cream flavors, yours would be vanilla, or maybe french vanilla since you’re a heart throb movie star, and mine would be something like raw horse meat.  On a given day, I am lucky if only five or eight people assault me with a tack hammer.

This is not a life. Thus my lonely eyes turn to you. You’re a survivor, of sorts. You know the weight of these not-so-twin albatrosses around my neck. Only I don’t have movie star quality nipples to save me. Which is where you come in. I’m not talking about a nipple transplant or even grating some of your nipples into a fine dust that I could sprinkle on myself. Nothing like that. All I ask is that you befriend my much maligned nipples and take up my cause. Not just for me and these wayward teats, but for the tens or millions of others struggling with the public’s scorn. With the appropriate exposure and proper positioning, I believe it would be possible for the bravest of my kind to cross the nipple line and begin to carve out a life among civilization. As the public face for the monster nipple movement, you could make that moment happen.

Think about it. This is an opportunity to establish your legacy. Be remembered not only as the English actor, model, musician, and executive producer, but as an humanitarian icon: the Beastly Bosom Buddy; the Godfather of Miscreant Mammary Glands; the Patron Saint of Peculiar Points; the Mother Theresa of Monster Nipples; the Count of Monte Fisto. Actually, I think that last one is a nickname of Apollo Creed, but depending on your success it may not be out of the question. You could be like Santa Claus, Robin Hood, and Ghandi tied together with Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth and deep fried like a corndog.

So please, Mr. Pattinson, get into your fighting clothes and start making the world safe for monster nipples!

Yours in the brotherhood between men and cabbages,

mmm…pseudonym

p.s. A bit of housekeeping — should you decline my offer be advised that I am likely to mutilate myself into a hot dog deity. I don’t know if I’ll be able to control my powers.

p.p.s. Also, please keep making those New Moon movies. They’re really, um, great.

p.p.p.s. Any chance you can throw in an autographed 8X10 glossy? If so, please address it as follows: “Dear mmm…pseudonym, I am the tender wind that carries you. Heart your banged-up nipples, you could go from negative to positive -Spunk Ransom.”

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part 6. the art of sameness.

The thought occurred to me that I’ve got this all wrong. My dream, I mean. I still had nipples like Linda Hamilton’s hair in Terminator. But what if, in the dream, I wasn’t a hot dog monster at all? What if I was a hot dog god? Maybe the people weren’t chasing me with malice, but reverence, as though I was a kind of footlong sacred cow. Divinity put a different slant on things.

Yes, perhaps the absence of nipples could accord me godlike status: the sacrosanct cylindrical meat sausage. The more I thought about it the more it didn’t seem that far-fetched; the theistic tradition of toothsome totems is well chronicled (see: pastafarianism). But to simply discard my ruinous nipples and be greeted with adoration, supernatural powers, and, if I was lucky, deathlessness – that seemed too easy. Sure my miserable mammilla were a burden no mortal should bear, but wouldn’t there have to be trials, double-digit labors, a sacrifice, something? Actually, maybe the act of casting off these calamities was heroic enough in itself – the thought of eyeballing them again turned my stomach more than this beverage (see 2:30). I had, in fact, taken to wearing eye-patches over my angular nipples to guard against such an episode.

Protective Eye Patches: A Model

Nevertheless, the appeal of levitation and shooting laser beams from my eyes was inadmissible and took root.  And a good night’s sleep. And all for the good. I wanted to help old ladies properly apply condiments. Or cross the street. I wanted to build a better hot dog. Adopt a pet. Start a neighborhood watch. Learn how to sew a button.  I wanted to annihilate hunger. I wanted to protect Japan from giant monsters. Perhaps my omnipotence would warrant a shrine. I wanted my own Dia de los Perritos Calientes, an extravaganza of sombreros and candy hot dogs.

Traditional Artwork Celebrating Dia de los Perros Calientes

I wanted hot dog water libations poured out in my honor. I wanted to gaze upon the wicked and turn them into pillars of all-beef kosherness. I wanted terrifying meat-medley monoliths erected to frighten the weak into worship. I wanted provincial towns to appease me Shirley Jackson Lottery-style to ensure a good harvest.

But where was this headed? What was the ultimate difference between gods and monsters? Point of view. I already believed my Gorgon nipples would turn those who beheld them into stone. And I was ready to throw this power away to transform people into hot dogs? Maybe Nipple Street wasn’t a highway to hell after all. Or maybe nipplelessness was just a shortcut to the same, sad fate. Granted, there is significantly more glamour in hot dogs than nipples, but I would not travel such roads as these.

The Glamour Quotient Of Nipples and Hot Dogs

I needed a third way. I needed a niche in this world where, with or without my nipples, I could live with dignity. I knew it was out there. I just needed to find it.

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part 5. and then it came from coney island.

April 17, 2010 1 comment

I slept terrible last night. Tossed and turned. An awful dream: I was walking the streets in a nameless, foreign city where the locals spoke only gibberish. I wore no shirt. Nary a nipple graced my frame. I puffed out my bare, nippleless chest, swollen with pride as I walked. The people all pointed and whispered. I thought it must be the way I was walking. I exhaled and let my arms swing naturally, casual. The pointing and whispering continued. Perhaps my trousers were on backwards again. I checked. Nope. Maybe it was my hair. Or my face. I always thought I had the kind of face you just wanted to punch until it could not be distinguished from a sloppy joe. I carefully examined my reflection in a shop window. Hair – ordinary. Face – relatively inoffensive. Still they pointed and whispered. Then, the words “hot” and “dog” seemingly floated out of the babel. I gave it no thought. I heard it again. Hot. Dog. And again. Hot dog.  And again. Hot dog. Until it seemed all anyone said was hot dog.  Hot dog. Hot dog. Hot dog. Suddenly I was wrestling a man for his shirt. A crowd circled. Hot dog, hot dog, hot dog! The scuffle ended. I had the man’s shirt. I covered up and ran down a side street. I didn’t look back to see if the crowd followed. Hot dog, hot dog, hot dog! they screamed.

I woke up with the night sweats. My bathroom mirror confirmed that I was not a hot dog monster. It was only me staring back. Just me. And my horror nipples, like two checkers ready for diagonal battle across my chest.  A small lump rose in my throat. I swallowed.

In theory, nipplelessness was a way out of Monstertown. But how would it translate in practice? Would it really make me less of a monster? Or more so?  Was my nightmare a product of panic or would unnippled smoothness only reduce me to a meat slurry torpedo in pants?

Perhaps Ken’s nippleless existence wasn’t ideal. I mean, who else was living sans nipples? Only Grimace came to mind. Not helpful. Particularly when I remembered that, besides being a purple blob of unknown provenance, Grimace was initially evil and had four Shiva-like arms for stealing milkshakes. Evil, four-armed, felonious purple blob = MONSTER.

Ken or Grimace? It was 50-50 on the nippleless front. I was back on the fence, maybe even climbing back down on the side of living with rank nipples. At the very least, I was not ready to drop my nipples cold turkey. I needed to come to terms with the possible reality of entering the nipple void. So, naturally, I turned to technology and pulled into simulation station for some sophisticated computer modeling.

Project Nipple Simulation

The outcome suggested that life without nipples would be okay, if not enhanced by some rad scarring. Still, I was unconvinced. I could not see Brad Pitt, Capt. Cool Nipple Scars. I could only see Brad Pitt, the nefarious Hot Dog Monster.

Project Nipple Simulation Through My Eyes

That’s when I realized, hot dog monsters were everywhere.

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part 4. two roads diverged in a wood.

To be nippled or to be nippleless — that is the question:

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,

Or to take arms against a sea of uneven nipples,

And by opposing end them? Nipplelessness: to sleep;

Knotted nipples no more; and by a sleep to say we end

The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks

That mangled flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummation

Devoutly to be wish’d. Nipplelessness, to sleep;

To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;

For in that sleep of nipplelessness what dreams may come

When we have abandoned these distorted points,

Must give us pause: there’s the respect

That makes calamity of such a life;

For who would bear the whips and scorns of monster teats,

The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,

The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay,

The insolence of office and the spurns

That patient merit of the unworthy takes,

When he himself might his quietus make

With an electric shaver? who would ogre-nipples bear,

To grunt and sweat under a weary life,

But that the dread of something after nipples,

The undiscover’d country from whose bosom

No traveller returns, puzzles the will

And makes us rather bear those nipples we have

Than fly to nipplelessness that we know not of?

Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;

And thus the native hue of resolution

Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of nippled thought,

And enterprises of great pith and moment

With this regard their currents turn awry,

And lose the name of action. – Soft you now!

The fair Athelia! Nymph, in thy orisons

Be all my rotten nipples remember’d.

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part 3. nipplelessness: a theory.

It is often said that “Time heals all wounds.” Well, despite the passing of a few days, my nipples remained uneven. So much for the magic hands of time. Perhaps in the future, should the occasion arise, it would be more accurate to say “Time heals some wounds, but not nipple wounds.”

Even though my condition had not improved, I felt strangely hopeful. I found perspective; maybe I had gnarled, gnome-nipples, but I wasn’t the biggest monster out there, at least according to this chart. The aberrations that are my nipples tipped the scale somewhere between the Wicked Witch of the West and T-Rex. My spirits lifted, but I still hated my nipples, incongruent as they were. I might as well have been Sweetums or Garthe Knight.

My Nipple Potential: Sweetums/Garthe Knight

That’s not a life. I wished I never had nipples. The very moment that my wish escaped, I was struck by the Newtonian apple of Nipplelessness. Nipplelessness. Why not? If I could have corrective surgery to affix fake nipples to my chest or run out and tattoo a perfect pair of nipples on there, why couldn’t my nipples just be done away with entirely? Why did I need nipples?  I didn’t lactate. I wasn’t in porn. My nipples were purely ornamental. Purposeless. Unnecessary. My ghastly uneven nipples added zero good to the world. If anything my nipples subtracted good. They angled toward evil. A life without nipples, though, could be zero-sum.

Nipplelessness, while freaky in the abstract, had to be better than the asymmetrical hell I occupied. Take, for example, this nippleless, asian chicken soup can monster. Odd, maybe, but not scary. I could get down like that. You know who else doesn’t have nipples? Ken. Ken’s alright. Ken’s cool. Everybody likes Ken. I could live as a monster like that. I could even wear the same crazy skin-tone underwear as part of the bargain (though I wouldn’t want them permanently molded to my body). Ken represented a life, a life filled with possibility, of not being bound by my David Bowie Scary Monsters (and Super Creepnipples).

Ken: Nipples Not Included

Ken. Nipplelessness. This could work. I could rise like a Phoenix from nippleless ashes.

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part 2. internet research

I wanted to feel informed. I wanted to own my repulsive nipples and shrink them down from a symptom of alien metamorphosis to a simple curiosity. Maybe there was a pill I could take that would even them out or at least contain their obliquity. I wanted to know what was going on and why it was going on with me.

WebMD offered nothing on the subject of scary nipples. A Google search on “uneven nipples” yielded 584,000 results. Not bad. I could do work with 584,000 hits. It seemed likely, in that heap, I would find something or someone that could help me before I go all the way Gregor Samsa. Maybe that’s the way it started with him, asymmetrical nips, only he didn’t notice and suddenly he was a giant bug. I Googled “Kafka’s nipples” just in case that led anywhere – 26,900 hits – not least of which directed me to Amazon for Phillip Roth’s “The Breast“, a short novel about a man who wakes up as a 155 pound breast. Sure it’s fiction, but I did not take this as a good sign. As “Kafka’s nipples” only depressed me further, I abandoned them and dove back into the “uneven nipples” bounty, however, it quickly became difficult to make heads or tails out of it. Mostly, uneven nipples seemed to be a symptom of bad plastic surgery, though I did turn up this curious item: just last year there was a big stir about uneven nipples. It seems Robert Pattinson, an actor, was under suspicion for harboring some scary, screwball nipples underneath his clothes. Sordid stuff. In fact, a subsequent query, “Rob Pattinson Mipple Gate 2009,” produced 276 million hits. That’s got to be like half the internet. This proved to be a real can of worms, though, for a few reasons:

1. Mr. Pattinson doesn’t actually have spooky beast nipples, though he does play them on film. Mr. Pattinson’s real nipples were made up for his role in an alleged vampire movie, only cementing a concerning link between uneven nipple deformity as a characteristic of depraved monstrosities.

2. None of the links I explored offered any legitimate medical information for the treatment of Mr. Pattinson’s alleged Frankenipples, unless you count this, and that’s purely cosmetic. Still, there is something enjoyable about of a nipple makeup specialist going on record, by way of self promotion, to say Mr. Pattinson suffers from “grossly uneven nipples” when his “grossly uneven nipples” were in truth the effect of makeup. One would think a counterfeiter would recognize a counterfeit. Based on photographs of Mr. Pattinson outside of a single scene in an alleged vampire movie, I would characterize his true nipples as only grossly normal.

3. 276 million hits for one man’s alleged asymmetrical nipples is terrifying. Imagine were Mr. Pattinson’s nipples actually asymmetrical. The internet would crash, adolescent girls everywhere would stab out their eyes, and the world would end. 276 million hits! “Jesus” only turns up 155 million hits and I’ve heard of him. How did this story elude my attention? 276 million hits!

At any rate, I somehow missed the bus on a gangbusters uneven nipple story, even if untrue, and now I fear I am further behind the curve on getting a hold of this thing. After researching, I only have more questions than answers:  Why is a male nipple termed a “mipple” in internet slang, but a female nipple is just a nipple? Shouldn’t it be a “fipple” and we do away with nipple entirely or at least reserve it only for discussion of nipples in connection with hermaphrodites or asexual organisms? Do asexual organisms have nipples? Why isn’t there a foundation fighting for a cure for asymmetrical nipples? Is there anyone with actual uneven nipples who isn’t an abomination or portrayed as one in the media? What is going to happen to me and my spoiled nipples? How can I stop it? How long do I have?

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part 1. the man with the asymmetrical nipples

Maybe not on the level with the discovery of the wheel, electricity, or the first successful combination of peanut butter and jelly, but today was significant. Large. It happened, as events of this magnitude tend to happen, just as I stepped out of the shower this morning. I grabbed a towel. I toweled off.  I wrapped the towel around my waist.  All very standard operating stepping-out-of-the-shower procedure. I started brushing my teeth.  Suddenly every ounce of the minty freshness coursing through my mouth went sour. I spat. I blinked a few times, rubbed my eyes. I straightened up, thinking perhaps it was merely an illusion brought about by poor posture. I shifted my weight from one foot to the other. I turned left, right. I traced an imaginary line across my chest. I walked away from the bathroom mirror. I paced. I returned to my reflection. Blinked again. Leaned forward until my head rested against the mirror. This cannot be. Not me. Not me. Not me. The truth, however, was incontrovertible: my nipples did not occupy the same horizontal plane. I was uneven, crooked and absurd. Freakish. A monster by millimeters. A cubist nightmare sent to haunt the earth. An modern day elephant man. Edward Scissornipples.

How could this disfigurement have escaped my notice until now? Could there be others? Others who roam the shadows, desperate to conceal the shame of the slightly askew nipples emblazoned across their chests, these messily embroidered scarlet letters? But, how to find them? Where do I go from here?

Only one thing is certain: Nothing will ever be the same.

To demonstrate the gravity of this episode, I’ve appropriated the following time line.

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