In 2001, I thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail and collected data for my dissertation. I had taken the trail name "Turtle" as a symbol of my desire to be persistent, to be connected to the earth, etc. After about two months of hiking (400 some odd miles), I injured my piriformis -- a big muscle in my rear -- and left the trail for a month and a half of physical therapy. Yes, on my ass. The piriformis muscle, because it was injured, banged away on my sciatic nerve, making it impossible for me to sit, stand, lie down, or simply BE without pain.
Just before my completely self-sacrificing, wonderful, and ever-lovin' spouse, Footslogger, showed up in Damascus, Virginia, to collect my sad self and take me to a hospital where I could get good drugs and some rest, a couple of hiking friends (Chris and Triple Slim) stopped by the drug store, bought a little stuffed donkey, and brought it to me in a paper bag. They said, "Your trail name used to be Turtle. Now it's (drum roll, please) Bad Ass Turtle."
That donkey is now sitting on my desk, as a reminder for me to be who I truly am. Not just a bad ass, but Bad Ass Turtle.
Want to email me? Try badassturtle(at)gmail.