The Utah Duck-Butt Goes Global

It’s been amazing getting to know our cousin Tempest better. Before this secret and extended visit, we’d seen her only twice and had had limited communication with her. Aunt Delila would send us the odd bit of family news every now and then and we were vaguely kept aware of Tempest’s rise through that horrible TV pop star show and into mega pop stardom. Tempest is a total unknown in The States. Because those shows and the music they promote have always been vile to Oom and me (well mostly to me – I wouldn’t be surprised to find Oom heartily singing along), we just haven’t paid attention or made much of an effort to interact with Tempest.

Illustration By: Craig Secrist

Since Aunt Delila basically kidnapped Tempest and smuggled her out of the UK to the weird wilds of Utah “to save the poor dear from those viperous media types and dim-bulb tabloid culture,” we’ve discovered that there is a whole lot more to our cousin than designer names and shiny things. The girl is smart, has a gargantuan sense of humor and has a potty mouth and imagination that withers the daisies. She’s also a great fan of the supernatural, which made it a bit easier to explain to her why her pony tail had suddenly vanished (not that we actually know why, but that in Utah pony tails have a bad habit of just vanishing) and about Aunt Leona’s spirit guide Alfredo. We also mentioned Murgatroid, the 1920s flapper turned renegade spirit guide who is part of a guerrilla-spirit guide movement and who has attached herself to Oom and me. Tempest ate it all up and asked for seconds. She’s been begging to meet Murgatroid and hoping to get a spirit guide of her own.

We’d been teasing Tempest about her new and unasked-for hair cut and told her about The Utah Duck Butt. The Duck Butt is a hairstyle developed by Utah women who’d had their pony tails swiped by the pony tail snatchers. The shorter back hair is brushed upwards and hair sprayed into place while the longer sides and front are straightened forward like wings. This gives the appearance of a duck’s butt perched upon the neck of the woman wearing the hairstyle. We all laughed derisively and Tempest promptly commanded us to sculpt the hair-do on her head. She insists on sporting the Duck Butt look because she says it keeps her from taking herself too seriously and that, in turn, makes her feel more free than she ever has. She’s got a good point. Aunt Leona recently pulled some strings and arranged for our whole extended family and about a million of our friends to get in free at a certain area ski resort. Well, it turns out that one of the minor British royals (probably only about two degrees more royal than Tempest herself) has made a whiny documentary film about how the evil tabloid media hounds innocent, overrich, pointless people into drink, drugs and erratic attention-seeking behavior. The documentary was accepted into this year’s Shundanse Film Festival. To drum up publicity for the film, it was leaked to the British tabloids that this certain royal and her family would be spending the week prior to the film festival skiing at a resort in Utah. It was at the same ski resort and at the same time of our family day on the slopes. It was a blur! It all happened so quickly. One of the British paparazzi recognized the mysteriously AWOL Tempest X, Duck Butt hair-do and all, and like piranha, they set upon her. Tempest knew how to handle them, knowing many of them personally, and I was amazed at her skill in keeping control of the situation. I was totally freaked out. If that level of insane attention had been directed at me, I’d have exploded into a puff of dust. The royal who’d paid for many of these gossip vultures to be there was totally ignored and obviously miffed. Tempest was the main story in Europe for days, upstaging two celebrity weddings, a royal birth, an English national football hero found wandering naked through trees on Hampstead Heath, a UFO seen by thousands hovering over The Hague, and the secession of Warwickshire from the rest of the UK.

It was automatically assumed that Tempest was here because “Utah is the rehab of the starlets” and her “edgy new hairstyle has infected Europe more quickly and more potently than the plague.”