November 10, 2016
In little more than a handful of days, I have resigned myself to paying a small fortune for ugly shoes, stripping down in a locker room as though I’ve just been inducted into a women’s prison, being publicly weighed in nothing more than my drawers, and wearing a brassiere that smashes my bosom so flat I’ll never get them fluffed out again, all in preparation for my first meet on Dec. 3. I have bought a singlet, ripped it apart for a pattern, sewn a singlet in which I can actually tolerate myself in the mirror, and deluded myself into thinking nobody will ever notice what’s underneath. I have measured seam widths, breadths, and depths. I have tried on knee socks and been quickly reminded why we actually stopped wearing “tube socks” with shorts back in the seventies. But tonight, I draw the line. I cannot, shall not, will not wear the belt. I’d sooner have the hell beaten out of me with a tennis racket than ever even attempt to put that thing on again. That is the most hateful device I have ever encountered. Lucifer himself couldn’t have designed anything worse.
Let me tell you, I was elated when I saw that Rogue box at my door. I couldn’t wait to get it open. I carried it in with both hands, gently set it on the bathroom counter, carefully slit the box seam, peeled back the packing, and freed the black leather from the protective plastic covering. Upon picking it up, I noticed it felt a mite heavy, but it is four inches wide after all. As I uncurled it, my first impression was that it was a bit unforgiving. I had been warned that it might be a little on the stiff side to begin with, but the Holy High Priest bends more than this thing. Yet I didn’t let that deter me. I wrapped it around myself and began to tug. It didn’t budge. I must have been feeling particularly svelte the day I ordered it. I held it in, sucked it in, and braced for impact. I stood tall, rocked forwards then backwards, and after working up the initial signs of a sweat, I managed to get the buckle in the first hole. Victory was mine, and I was quite pleased with myself until I took my first breath. That belt was so tight that when I exhaled I cracked a rib. I kid you not. I couldn’t catch my breath and I knew for certain I was being halved in two by a medieval vice scrip. I immediately developed a stomachache along with a feeling of room spinning claustrophobia. I had to get free of that torturous contraption. I tried my best to remain calm before full blown panic set in, but it was too late. My breathing was shallow, my palms were sweaty, my eyes began to bulge, and I was turning blue. There was no question that frothing at the mouth would soon follow. I instantly started yanking at the buckle with all my might, but it wouldn’t give an inch. It was as stiff and relentless as a bridegroom on honeymoon. At this point, it crossed my mind that save for my forty-five pound six year old child, who doesn’t know the first thing about 911, I was alone in the house. The mere thought of that caused the walls to close in around me. Fighting to keep my wits about me, I tugged again and again to no avail. This thing is of the devil. Unable to abate my shaking knees, I sat down whereupon I immediately discovered that was a mistake. I feel certain I dislodged a kidney. In ghastly pain, I dropped to my knees contemplating whether to pray for a quick death or go down with a fight. Feeling not quite ready to meet my Maker, I chose the latter. In a desperate attempt to re-position myself, I fell prostrate like a whore on Judgment Day. The flattening of all that is flesh and bone must have done the trick. With my dying breath, I yanked once more, thrashed about, and freed myself from the vengeful cowhide. I coughed, sputtered, and gasped for air finding comfort in the coolness of the bathroom floor underneath my cheek. I felt like a drowning victim regaining breath. To suggest that this is a supportive device is a misnomer at best. The blue bruising about my midriff attests to the contrary. I’m just thankful I don’t have a spinal cord injury. You’d have to assemble an entire crew of OWOWs to get me in and out of this thing. No thank you. If it doesn’t give in the next day or two, it will find itself riding a slow boat back to China and I will go cow tipping and whittle my own. I’ll need the specs and regulations, but a nice hand tooled belt and a freezer full of beef sounds good. I might even dye the leather OWOW purple.