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Today's word on journalism

Monday, January 29, 2007

Words as weapons:

"When he had a pen in his hand it was like giving a kid a machine gun."

--Peter Hall, theater director, on "Angry Young Man" playwright John Osborne (1929-1994)

Student fears deflation by belly button

By Jake Williams

December 1, 2006 | In 1508 Pope Julius II was looking for an artist to paint the Sistine Chapel when he came across the young Michelangelo. To prove his artistic talent, Michelangelo drew Julius a perfect circle and got the job. Fast forward to the present.

I know I'm not perfect, but once upon a time I did have one flawless feature: my belly button. Upon seeing it, Ron Burgundy would have confessed, "You have an absolutely breathtaking navel. I mean, that thing's good. I wanna be friends with it."

If he saw it today he'd say something different. My belly button is no longer an embodiment of perfection. How this came to happen was an old girlfriend told me that everyone should occasionally clean the lint from their navel. Today I realize she was joking, but it's far too late. Later that week I took out a Q-tip and starting cleaning.

A belly button, or umbilicus as its known in physiology, is what remains after a baby's umbilical cord is removed. It's really just fused scar tissue. The important thing to remember is that every person once had a hole in their stomach and this fused scar tissue is the only thing keeping us from having a hole there again. Back to the cleaning.

My innie used to form a perfect Michelangelan circle, but after two swipes from the Q-tip I noticed a problem: One flap of skin had unfolded, protruding into the center of my umbilicus! If my belly button is a clock face, the flap of skin lasts from 8:35 to 10. Linkin Park tells us that "once a paper's crumpled up it can't be perfect again." Such is the case with my horseshoe-shaped navel. I'm heartbroken.

My friends call my resulting fear Umbiliphobia. It's not like I expect to die if my belly button opens up. I just figure I'll deflate.

"That's completely irrational!" says journalism Professor Nancy Williams. Thanks professor, love you too.

The next time you're with your special someone, remember the dangers associated with Umbiliphobia. In fact, I recommend you avoid touching the stomach altogether, along with eyes, armpits, pinky toes, and Achilles tendons, but those are another story.



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