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There are certain headlines that can capture the immediate attention of readers from all countries, cultures, and walks of life. For example, the headline from a September issue of the New Zealand Harald: “Hospital Removes Eel from Man’s Bum.” I dare anyone to show me anyone else not totally captivated by that headline.

Now, it’s a bit of a strange thing to say, but I’ve never had much sympathy for people suffering from things in their “bums”. I had a good friend growing up whose mom was an ER Nurse. She was a very calm and reserved woman but one day, seemingly out of nowhere (although I’m sure there was some kind of lead in) she calmly blurted out to a few of us that “you’d be amazed what people come to the hospital with stuck in their butts.” From that point forward, having come from an extremely unlikely source, I was convinced that the perverse act of sticking odd things in your butt had to be more common than it probably actually is, and if it’s so common the general public should be aware of the risks associated with the activity and engage responsibly… Why should my handy Canadian Healthcare have to compensate for individuals that got a little too ambitious with a rolling pin?

In hindsight, this probably wasn’t very common… My friend’s mom was a bit of a lush and her statement was made around the holidays. Plus, this was decades before 50 Shades of Grey… If getting stuff stuck in your anal cavity was an epidemic in 1998, surely we would have been extinct by the time Mr. Grey introduced the concept of Anal Beads to my grandma and great aunts.

Anyway, what I’m trying to get at is that the New Zealand gent with the eel in his arse is deserving of your sympathy. By all accounts, it doesn’t seem that he did this to himself. He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time… and apparently there were eels there at the same time. The article reads:

… It is believed the patient was sent for X-rays and a scan, which showed there was an eel lodged inside him.

“The eel was about the size of a decent sprig of asparagus and the incident is the talk of the place,” a hospital source said. “Doctors and nurses have come across people with strange objects that have got stuck where they shouldn’t be before, but an eel has to be a first.”

I love that the sprig of asparagus is mentioned as if it’s a totally acceptable way to quantify mass. I’m imagining a Kiwi Astrophysicist giving a lecture and describing the super-massive black hole at the center of the Milky Way as being trillions and trillions and trillions sprigs of asparagus large.

Anyway, the man had the eel removed and is doing hunky-dory now. Head over to the N.Z. Herald for the whole story…

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