Warning: This post may contain inappropriate content. Not suitable for the faint of smell.
Verb. To pass gas, break wind, fluff, phuffer, toot your own horn, butt burp, belch from behind, bum bassoon.
No matter what you call it, this is a seriously stinky matter. After all, a fart by any other name would smell as swe.., um, yeah. Maybe not so much.
To start off, I sincerely apologize to anyone whom I may offend in this post, but I feel that it is my duty to all of you to address this issue once and for all. Farts: Funny or just plain awkward?
People have been farting since the beginning of time; I think I remember hearing somewhere that Adam almost scared Eve away on their first date. He ‘let one go’ while at dinner and then tried blaming it on the snake! The nerve, right? I guess that’s where the whole ‘blame game’ started. I find it funny that after all of these years, we still haven’t gotten used to this funny fart foux pas. Afterall, they are perfectly natural; it is our body’s way of letting go of toxic materials. That doesn’t mean however that they aren’t stinky, smelly, loud (although sometimes quite silent–those are the ones you really have o watch out for–”Silent but deadly”), and mysterious. Even the mere spelling and sound of the word is awkward.
To help shed some light (and possibly air freshener) on this topic, here are 10 fart facts that you might not have known before.
1. You probably already know that farts are composed of methane and maybe even hydrogen (plus nitrogen). Methane itself is also rich in hydrogen, the same element that may one day power fuel cell cars. So, by extension, we may one day be powering our cars with our own farts (Okay, that’s a stretch, perhaps we’ll use our farts as a fuel additive).
2. Farts stink primarily because of the hydrogen sulfide gas mixed in with the methane. Meat, eggs and cauliflower are rich in sulfur and thus are guilty of much of the odiferous nature of flatulence.
3. Beans, beans are good for your heart, the more you eat, the more you, well, you get the idea. Beans may be great for your ticker but they also have many sugars that the human intestines cannot digest. The bacteria in our intestines react to these sugars which basically results in a trouser cough.
4. The top speed of a fart is approximately 10 feet per second. I wonder how one would go about measuring this type of thing (and more importantly, how one came up with the idea to measure it in the first place)?
5. Fart comes from the Old English word “feortan” meaning “to break wind.”
6. Women fart slightly less than men, approximately eight or nine times every day, but their gas is more concentrated. (And if you want to know, it does smell like flowers, thank you very much.)
7.The Whoopee Cushion was inspired by an invention that’s several centuries old: The “fool’s bladder,” a balloon made from a pig bladder that jesters reportedly used to entertain royalty. (An ancient gag that never gets old.)
8. The animal that has the highest output of farts on this planet is not the human nor the cow. It is the lowly termite that gets top honors as its digestive process and diet make it the perfect candidate. Some have even scapegoated the termite into being responsible for global warming, but this is a stretch.
9.Why is it easy for your uncle to blame his farts on the dog? Fido gulps lots of air when he gulps his food and water, causing him to be quite flatulent.
10. Some people can hold in farts for hours, but not forever. This is especially true for people who constantly work around other people. But, the farts have to come out sometime. So, when this person is finally in the comfort of their own home, lounging on the couch or catching some z’s, the room will most likely start to sound like a full orchestra. Let’s just hope that when said person decides he can’t hold it any longer, he is not in the elevator with you, walking in front of you on the sidewalk or sitting next to you on the bus. Been there and so regretfully have done that (that is, being the poor innocent by-stander, not the holder-inner of course).
Interesting, to say the least.
So what makes me write about such airy subjects you ask?
Last night while browsing the shelves at the B&N (aka Barnes & Nobles aka my mecca), I found myself in one such sticky and stinky situation. I was lucky enough to grab a comfy chair and was just settling down with my book of choice, ‘Heaven is Real’, which by the way is an amazing book! So much so that I read the entirety in just over an hour. It most definitely finds a place on my top 10 list and I highly reccommend it to anyone looking for an inspirational and thought-provoking page-turner. All of a sudden, a gaggle (my new favorite word) of pre-pubescent boys came barreling around the corner, comic books in hand. They looked to be about 12 or 13 and were mere copies of the Energizer Bunny; they just kept going and going and going, bouncing from one chair to the next. Ahh…to be young and wildly wired again (without the aid of ten Starbucks).
The boys were finally settling down, digging into their Batman, Spiderman or other various super hero “man in tights and a mask” book when all of a sudden I heard what seemed to be a a sad car horn…that, or a very small explosion. It was such an unexpected disruption of noise among the fairly quiet and stillness of the bookstore that it took me by surprise and made me jump in my chair a bit. I had an inkling of what had caused said ‘explosion’ and was proven right when after literally two seconds after the erruption, an uproarious round of laughs were emitted from the gaggle of comic book boys, closley followed by…
“Dude that was awesome!”
“Way to let one rip, man!”
“Wow! What’d you have for dinner Chris?”
“It wasn’t me!”
Yupp. That’s what I thought. But holy fart Batman! That was one serious car horn if you know what I mean. How could such a force come from such a little person? I was seriously impressed and grossed out all at the same time. Thankfully, I was sitting upwind from the fellas and right near the Starbucks Cafe which, with its strong aroma of coffee and pastries, helped to shield me from the odiferious smell (which by the sound of things, was quite pungent).
My amusement of the situation was elevated when a mom of one of the three boys came walking over to them and was taken aback by a sudden change in the air, if you will. That, coupled with intermintant giggles and laughter led the mom to discover that one of these boys was guilty as O.J in committing a serious fart felony.
Mom: “Did one of you boys do this? Really? Seriously?! Ugh, you guys are gross! Have you no consideration for the people around you? The next time you feel the need to bomb the place, please take it outside. You are just like your father.”
Chris: “But it wasn’t me! (Said in between snickers and coy smiles).
I sat there in my comfy chair, laughing about the whole situation that had just played out before me and it made me ponder a couple of things:
1. Why are farts generally much more hilarious and accepted by guys than they are to us gals. They almost wear them like a badge of honor, or ‘Rip- One-Ribbon’ if you will. If I was a betting gal, I would say that those three boys found them to be ‘totally awesome man!’, their mom thought they were gross and embarrassing and their dad, well, he would probably have been proud of his boy, gleaming with pride on the recall of the nights events.2. Why do farts almost always occur when you’re in the most embarrassing of situations or amongst large groups of people in close proximity?
3. Why do people ALWAYS feel the need to DENY DENY DENY, even if it blatentaly came from them. Well, most of the time that is. I know and have known many a person who will stand up, loud and proud of their own ‘brand’, namely guys (*cough* my father, as well as the rest of the male side of my family *cough* which can make for very interesting get togethers and parties, believe you me). The thing is, if you are going to claim your innocence, do so when the evidence is NOT stacked against you (i.e you aren’t falling off your chair laughing, you don’t turn a scarlet shade of red, and a hard-boiled egg smell is not being emitted like perfume from around your vacinity).
So I guess the answer to my question: Funny or just plain awkward? Both. No matter who you are, what your background is, your age or gender, farts are awkward. And funny. And most of the time, the more awkward the situation is, the funnier they are (think of any Three Stooges episode and you’ll get an idea). Yes they can be embarrassing and yes they aren’t the most polite thing to do, but one can’t argue that they never fail to help bring a smile to someone’s face and a good ‘ol belly laugh, even if they are doing so with a clothes-pin stuck to their nose.
Have a fartastic, I mean fantastic Thursday everyone!
P.S. It wasn’t me.