bellocqsadeleCarriSkoczekTwenty years ago I published my first book with a small press, and it won an award my hometown newspaper described as “the prestigious Flannery O’Connor Award.” My father still thinks that’s the award name, though he says The Prestigious Flannery O’Connell Award. All writers hope that getting their first book published will change their lives. It does, variably. I got a teaching job, also firsthand insight that hardly anyone reads a small press book with a good award except writers and aspiring writers—especially an aspiring writer enrolled in your class and perhaps his mother. One day a student a few years younger than me told me his mother had read my book. I braced myself. I was in one of my grim starter marriages, and my grim father-in-law had weighed in. He’d skimmed my book and grimaced. “Trying too hard to be naughty.” He compared me unfavorably to Shakespeare, whom he couldn’t have read closely.  “Why sex?”

In DreamsDateline New York City, once the center of world culture.

Medical authorities have been forced to at last acknowledge a previously concealed epidemic in the wake of recent admittances to the ER’s of both Beth Israel and Bellevue, along with several other hospital facilities throughout the five boroughs.

According to Dr. Wynona Gripp, one of the world’s leading specialists in traumatic gynecology, “We remain uncertain as to the cause of the disorder and so we were reluctant to come forward in the fear of creating further panic. But we are now well advanced in developing a profile of the victims. So far, the pathology seems to target principally corporate publishing editors, who have been elevated in authority far beyond their intellectual capability. We’ve noted cases arising from the fields of finance, law and advertising, but publishing seems to be the hot spot industry affected.

Experts remain divided on the question of whether or not the malady is ultimately genital in nature, or the result of a systemic disease that expresses via the genitals and perianal region. Some have suggested underlying blood or heart defects-others a hidden neurological cause that is referred to the pelvis.

In a briefing to the Health & Science media, visiting surgeon Beverly Newman of John Hopkins had this to say: “We’re seeing presentations of total clitoral shrinkage and an unexplained absorption of the labia, rather like the inverse of a prolapsed scenario. In some instances, urethral function is maintained. In the more advanced cases, there has been complete closure and a kind of carapace has developed over the entire area, including the anus and rectum, which has been clogged with a sandpaper-textured scaling that resembles hardened toenails and dry wall in consistency. The retention of waste and toxins in these situations has been near fatal and has required invasive drainage operations.”

Dr. Winsome Schlick of the Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center has fueled further controversy in the matter by insisting the pathology has jumped the gender gap. “Testicular atrophy and the rapid onset of penile mortification has been rife for years, particularly in publishing. This may simply be the female manifestation.”

Urologists Dr. Peter Tinkel and proctologist Dr. Mark Ringman vigorously support this view. Said Dr. Tinkel, “I have seen several male editors who are now in a crisis situation resembling that of a Ken doll. A complete disappearance of genitalia and a strong suggestion that both guts and heart have been decisively compromised. While not one to believe in such popular myths as zombies, I have no other way to describe those so afflicted. It’s simply a medical miracle they’re still functioning.”

Fringe holistic therapist Ruth Zion of Queens has so far achieved the greatest treatment successes. Her theory is that the disorder is alimentary in origin, and she has had some breakthroughs with the radical rectal insertion of Patti Smith’s Radio Ethiopia and John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme, followed by the novels of Walker Percy and some of the shotgun paintings of William Burroughs.

Said Ms. Zion, “This is in the end an anal problem, and so the solution suggests an insertion. We’re working hard to get the balance right. Everyone, even a corporate editor, deserves to have a decent bowel movement and to at least confront the possibility of sex.”

Do you know someone in publishing who’s suffering in silence? Do you know someone in publishing who’s insisting others suffer too?

Don’t let vaginas, balls and penises just disappear. Let’s not let relatively innocent anuses seal over in unsightly crust. Reach in today. All art is in an intervention. Intervention is the art.