Growing up in a family of guys, I learned early on about the entertainment value of bodily functions. My brothers and uncles practiced with the concentration of Tuvan throat singers.
The variations on a fart became more advanced as more males came into my life; my little brother Seth was nicknamed The Green Fog for his incomparable, eye-burning, house-clearing emissions. My husband refined his sound effects to two simple endearing names: "bert" and "ernie". My coworker whose entire family would jet out Sneaky Petes and not miss a syllable they were speaking, looking you right in the eye.
However, as I grow older, I'm observing that delivery becomes more of a style issue. Where once a person would make no sign of their passing, I now see my peers developing signatures. Several still simply lift one cheek, leaning away from the propulsion. Sometimes a sigh follows, sometimes a slight grimace from the effort. But the enthusiastic midlifers now add flourishes- standing and hoisting a knee as if mounting a horse, holding arms up as if a conductor, bending forward and pointing at someone.
What is it that makes us take such pride in this low accomplishment? Is it a surrender to the inevitable? Is it a readjustment of standards? Or are we merely returning to the gleeful badness of doing something we shouldn't?
I tried to find a copy of the Fart Poem that I heard when I was young. Regretfully, all I can remember is "The Poot and the Anti-Poot." The rest, alas, is gone with the wind, dissipated to traces of what I thought was there, just a slight lingering bit to remind me of how funny being a human really is.
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