The Truth, Mainly - 11/06/1995

Gluti Maxima and the Law of Multiple Purposes
by Leon Satterfield

This is about bottoms. Glutei maxima. Duffs.

Did your bad taste detector just go off?

Mine did. This isn't, God knows, a discussion I would initiate. But another guy brought up the subject on this very page a couple of weeks ago. So it's not my fault. OK?

"God never intended," this other guy wrote, "the bottom side of a human male or female to be used for any other purpose than to expel solids from the digestive system."

It's pretentious to quibble with someone who knows God's intentions, but his view seems awfully minimalist.

Not that there's no truth to it. Clearly the digestive system terminates on the bottom side of the anatomy and clearly solids are expelled there. So one might say, based on that evidence, that's what bottoms are for.

It's the same logic Voltaire's philosopher, Pangloss, uses when he tells his students that "noses were made to support spectacles."

This is getting pretty heavy, so you might want to take notes.

Where the other guy differs with Pangloss is in his insistence that bottoms exist only to expel solids from the digestive system. Even Pangloss would say it's OK to use your nose both to support your spectacles and to breathe through.

I would go even further. Noses are also for wrinkling at bad smells and for thumbing at authorities. And that's just scratching the surface. Centuries hence, archeologists will laugh at our limited view of nose functions.

Ned, the one-eyed Beagle with the headstrong personality and the mismatched jaws, already is amused by our limitations.

What I'm leading up to here is the Law of Multiple Purposes: Nothing has only one purpose; everything has multiple purposes, most of which we haven't figured out yet. It's a more confusing universe than we imagined.

So I think we should allow for multiple uses of bottoms as well. I'll have to run it through my Logic Check to be sure, but multiple uses may even be part of God's intent.

For example, athletes' bottoms are sometimes used by other athletes as targets of congratulatory slaps, often accompanied by words like "Attaboy, Bruno. Way to maim the quarterback."

Surely, God in Her Foreknowledge knew at the moment of creation that the athletic bottom would eventually be used in that way. Surely, God with Her Infinite Power of Choice could have created athletic bottoms differently if congratulatory slaps of them violated Her intentions.

Ergo, the bottom as the locus of congratulatory slaps must be part of the Divine Plan. Are you still with me on this? I'm not going too fast, am I?

For the same reason, it follows that God may well intend that cheerleaders' bottoms function to affect the outcome of athletic contests—either by inspiring schoolmates to greater efforts or by distracting the opposition to the point that they don't know which county they're in, much less who's supposed to be maimed on 96 Smashmouth Left on three.

Those booties are made for shaking.

And following the Law of Multiple Purposes even further, I would argue God must also have intended that such bottoms be used as poetic inspiration. Thus William Kloefkorn's paean to "the rumps of cheerleaders": "O sis! O boom! O bah!/ O hallelujah/to whatever lord it is/that puts the truth to hipbones!"

And lest you think that only white-haired Nebraska State Poets at the end of the 20th Century celebrate such things, consider Robert Herrick, the 17th Century minister of the gospel, who nearly gets carried off in a fine frenzy watching Julia walk away: "Whenas in silks my Julia goes,/Then, then, methinks, how sweetly flows/That liquefaction of her clothes./Next, when I cast mine eyes and see/That brave vibration each way free,/O how that glittering taketh me!"

Note that both Kloefkorn and Herrick use exclamation points and the "O" without the "h," sure signs of divine inspiration.

A less sublime purpose of bottoms is selling jeans—and nearly every other product the Free Market comes up with. Without bottoms, American capitalism (A Very Important Part of God's Plan) would be without form and void.

I don't pretend this is an exhaustive list of bottom uses. But let me add one more:

Bottoms are also there to make us laugh. There's no part of the human anatomy that even comes close to producing the hilarity thereby derived, whether it's from the Whoopee Cushion or my favorite bottom poem which I recite every time I'm with my grandchildren:

"Grandpa Grump/Sat on a stump./The weeds grew up/And tickled his rump."

It knocks them out. It knocks me out too. We laugh so hard our chocolate milk comes out our noses. We laugh so hard we have to sit down before we fall down. You know, of course, what we sit on.

I can't imagine a God who'd take offense.


Lincoln English Professor Satterfield writes to salvage meaning from his confusion. His column appears on alternate Mondays.

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