GREENSBORO, NC—Though local man Joshua Bishop secretly yearns to stop exposing his ample belly for friends, family, and coworkers to playfully smack, the 28-year-old assistant project manager confessed Wednesday that he fears he has invested too much of his identity in the ritual to ever abandon it. “I admit I tire of this demeaning exercise, but without submitting to it, how else am I to reaffirm the bonds of brotherhood with my fellow man?” said Bishop, whose rotund middle has over the years been lightheartedly slapped, jiggled, and manipulated in such a way that it forms a simulacrum of a face that is then made to appear as though it is talking or singing. “To have my belly repeatedly whacked is no less than the resounding declaration of my very humanity, and yet it is a small piece of my humanity that withers and dies with each spirited bongo solo. I am nothing without this grotesque, undignified spectacle, but what part of my true self can possibly survive should I allow it to continue?” At press time, the reporter was winding up to really give Bishop a good one.
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