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.
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.
That’s when I realized, hot dog monsters were everywhere.
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.
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.
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. Nipplelessness. This could work. I could rise like a Phoenix from nippleless ashes.
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?
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.
I know what you’re thinking: oh great, another blog. The internet really was missing just one more blog. Now the web is complete. Thankfully there is one more self-important idiot spewing nonsense into the void – the world will not spin off its axis. Perfect. Ah, but perhaps, as you’ve secretly hoped, this blog will be about doorknobs. Or at least mostly about doorknobs. Some coverage of important news stories concerning ice cream trucks wouldn’t be a bad thing, so long as the better part of the content tackles doorknobs. Something on the order of 93% doorknobs/7% ice cream trucks. The doorknob/ice cream truck blog. That would be something. Maybe even a smattering of monkeys on bicycles. 92.7% doorknobs/6.1% ice cream trucks/1.2% monkeys on bicycles. Yes, that is precisely the type of blog which could be useful, you think. That is the blog which the internet really is missing.
Alas, this is not that blog. Or is it?