What is it to be an ombudsman?
This is the vexation of all who live in the in-between places. For the landmass that inherited most of Pangea, Israel has played host to countless invading forces: from Europe they went to Asia, from Asia they took Africa and from Africa they went everywhere. What could Israel say? It was a small strip on the way to greatness; it was a flimsy barrier that kept the offal out of one's land.
This is the life of the perineum. Forever it is associated with its neighbors, who are neither loved nor detested by the simple seam of flesh. So unassuming it is, and yet how important! If it could talk, might it not remind the body: "I am all that keeps your intestines from dangling about your knees."? In the great congress of anatomy, is it given its own seat, with its name embossed on a plate, or is it relegated to the pen with posterboard taped to it, a handwritten sign that says "down there," where it languishes with its fellows, the dirty and the naughty?
The perineum is nothing so exotic. It would quietly attract the attention of the speaker and say "I have no demands, my friends, and no statement of principles. But I have requests and they are these: Wash me more frequently, and with your full attention. Let the water hit me directly from the showerhead, for fresh water is cooler than I am, tucked away behind, between and beneath. Pat me dry.
"When you lie down to sleep, keep your ankles together and move your thighs apart. I need air and like to hear the crickets at least as much as the inner elbows do, though they experience night in a very different way.
"Finally, my fellows, do not dismiss me so quickly or speak of me in euphemistic terms. Am I so detestable to you that you notice me only when I am to be cut? Remember that I am more than my immediate surroundings and I have a name that marks me as my own entity. I am small, but so is the cornea, the fingertip, the earlobe that garners so much attention, and I am no less worthy of attention."
And it would sit back down where ever it was assigned, for that is how the perineum operates. It is not like the hairline, which changes and cannot be held accountable. It is not like the breasts, which spring seemingly from nowhere and are inconsistent and variable from week to week, let alone from year to year. It is not like the stomach, which makes its problems the problems of the whole body, that the head aches, the fingers quicken and search, that the legs follow the stomach's bidding at the expense of everyone else.
The perineum goes where it is told and does its job unswervingly. Would that we all could be so humble, so at ease with our sense of purpose to live next to such commotion, such wonder - the centers of pleasure and shame - and remember that we are not really a part of it. Would that our dreams amounted to the desire for air and water and the music of darkness that is not occlusion, but exposure.