Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Roundtable Discussion: Is Life Too Short Not To Laugh At Your Own Flatulence?


(Though having nothing to do with the story, I thought this urinal deserved recognition for it’s incredible hanging height. That’s practically sink level. I had to use my tippytoes for Christ’s sake.)

The other night I was reading in bed while Brooke was in the bathroom, when suddenly I heard her start giggling. So when she walked back into the bedroom, I asked, “Did you make a funny fart?” and she replied, very confusedly, so confused that the look on her face bordered on concern that perhaps I had had a stroke and the lack of oxygen to my brain was causing me to speak gibberish, “Did I what?”

I explained that I heard her chuckling in the bathroom, meaning she must have farted and then laughed about it. No, she informed me a little more sternly than necessary, she was in fact brushing her teeth and laughed when she thought of something funny to write for a story she was working on. Then this: “Do you really make yourself giggle from farting loudly on the toilet?” to which I replied, “Well, not just on the toilet . . .” which I don’t think was the answer she was looking for.

It turns out Brooke and I have very differing opinions on (I’ll use the Native American term) passing wind. We both agree on some basic tenets, like there should be no carte blanche. For example, I once dated a girl who refused to sneeze in front of me because she had a deep seeded fear that I would never want to have sex with her again if I saw her “expelling mucus” face. After one of the longer, more tedious and scientifically indubitable conversations of my life, I convinced her that unless she blew snot ON my face, I was cool with her sneezing. Ironically, I subsequently lost all interest in her (sexual and otherwise) when I inadvertently caught her making her orgasm face, the memory of which haunts me to this day.

So no carte blanche. No laissez fart. No rip ‘em if you got ‘em. Like my grandmother always said, there is a time and a place for everything, and just like you should never tip a bell hop before he checks your toilet, so to should you never pass gas in mixed company. Fine.

But, I argue, there is the disturbing truth that farting is inherently funny. Farting is the Ricky Gervais of bodily functions. Situation aside, the mere act of it making noise is a cause for hilarity. Even Freud thinks so, and he’s a pervert.

Case and point (about farting, not Freud): The other night, Brooke and I are making our rounds at a few local events. The first is a party for the opening of a spa, the second is a party for art, and the third and final destination was a Diesel launch party. It’s not like they were launching something cool like a rocket – just a line of perfumes, yet clearly this perfume was of the utmost importance. The event was large, held in a three-story warehouse-style building with custom art on every wall, and bartenders on every floor. It was the typical Miami crowd: a bunch of people you can’t even imagine sharing the same zip code as you.

Brooke and I decide not to stay, but I insist on using the bathroom before leaving. After winding through a maze of backroom corridors, I find the men’s room. I approach the only available urinal, which is the short one. The one made for kids, which must be some sort of mandatory municipal code because as far as I can tell whatever this building is zoned for, it’s definitely not for kids. So I’m kind of bending down, a little bit hunched at the waist just to make sure that my downward trajectory still achieves enough forward arc. To my right is the only other urinal, a normal sized one. Standing at it is a man dressed like the American version of a British author: jeans, black sports coat, striped Oxford – but sloppy. He is wearing thick black framed glasses and scrolling on his Blackberry – mostly with one hand, sometimes with two. Without having to investigate closely, it is evident that he is doing nothing more than standing at a urinal with his fly unzipped. Whether he has peed already or not is a question that I spend a solid ten seconds pondering, not because I’m a pervert but because I haven’t started going yet and if he is planning on finishing up any second now I’d much prefer to simply sidestep over to the normal sized urinal instead of crouching at this one.

Just then, though, I am distracted by the noises coming from the stall to the right of American British author. It’s one of those deluxe-sized stalls (handicapped, I think they’re called) with it’s very own sink and everything. I know this because when I first entered the bathroom, the door to the stall was slightly ajar and I saw a man pulling down his pants, either unaware that the door was open or unaware that some three hundred or so years ago crapping became a private activity.

The first noise isn’t much – some shifting and shimmying, followed by a deep exhale, an audible ahh; like in a comedy movie when someone driving a car narrowly avoids a calamitous crash, lets out a simple sigh, and immediately drives into something much funnier like a pile of manure or an unexpected gang war. But no sooner does everything go quiet, American British author next to me still texting away, me relenting and beginning my process, than something suddenly goes terribly wrong. First a noise. Gas, most likely, but not normal gas. Not a release; an explosion. BAM. “Oh my.” He seems concerned. I am as well, and consider saying something, but really – what to say? Then another: BAM, BLOOM. “Ugh . . . no. No, this – Ohh.” The utterances now are less of concern, more of confusion – the sounds an infant might make if one had the physiological development and psychosocial wherewithal to try to wrap their head around the process of shitting for the very first time.

Then this: “Brother.” Just that word, said with so much disbelief and resignation that I feel in my heart of hearts that I am ear witnessing an existential bowel movement. A flurry of noise and action (“Christ!” “Oh what?” Why…”), but the mood has lightened to such a degree that I can’t help but chuckle a bit – the only problem being that I’m at the kiddie urinal. My margin for error? Small. My errors? Wide. If Grissom from C.S.I. had surveyed the scene, seeing the unfortunate moisture collected atop the urinal, he would have concluded that “something funny happened here.” Meanwhile, American British writer finished up on his Blackberry finished up without ever acknowledging the situation, despite the fact that for a solid 15 seconds this room had reached Rescue 9-1-1 proportions.

I washed up and left before the guy from the stall ever came out, but as I left I did (I had to) look back through the slightly open door. I didn’t see much, but I did see a big ass smile on the guy’s face.

SO . . .

17 Comments:

Anonymous paul said...

My g/f and I have gotten to the point in our relationship where "passing wind" in front of one another is acceptable...and every time I do, she laughs!

May 12, 2009 at 12:16:00 PM EDT  
Blogger headbang8 said...

The older you get, Dan, the happier you are that it's only a fart.

May 12, 2009 at 12:54:00 PM EDT  
Blogger [mother] said...

My son, my son. You are wrapped tight.

May 12, 2009 at 2:15:00 PM EDT  
Blogger danielle970 said...

I'm a chick and I laugh on occasion. Never in public, but if I heard someone laughing in the bathroom, my first thought would be "funny fart," too!

May 12, 2009 at 5:08:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Poodle said...

i don't know the answer to your question. but i do know that life is too short for me to read fart posts

May 12, 2009 at 5:27:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Dan said...

Listen, Poodle. No one even laid in their death bed thinking, "I wish I had taken flatulence more for granted." No one.

May 12, 2009 at 5:36:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

[redacted] mom - can you elaborate? I don't get it.

May 12, 2009 at 5:57:00 PM EDT  
Blogger [mother] said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

May 12, 2009 at 6:14:00 PM EDT  
Blogger [mother] said...

Dan has a wonderful way of making the mundane and normal seem like a gift from the gods.

I love that about him. Life with Dan is ALWAYS interesting.

May 12, 2009 at 7:19:00 PM EDT  
Blogger d said...

farts are never not hilarious. laugh away.

May 12, 2009 at 10:21:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jeff said...

i used to work with a gentleman who was completely deaf since birth; his bowel movements were always at epic volume as he had no reason to suspect otherwise

May 13, 2009 at 11:04:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Dana said...

You make me giggle. Farts? Sometimes. I have a hard time not giggling when there's loud gas in yoga. Deadly gas on the other hand, no laughing matter.

One time a friend was at a truck stop in the middle of nowhere and had to go badly. He ran in, grabbed the nearest stall and some guy a few doors down suddenly proclaims, "Corn? CORN! I haven't had corn in weeks!" He got the hell outta there.

May 13, 2009 at 2:05:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This post made me laugh out loud at word. Hilarious.

May 13, 2009 at 2:57:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Erin Mc said...

This kind of reminded me of a post you did back on The Daily Dump, where you farted at the urinal while you were peeing, and you started laughing, and then realized there was someone in the stall who had to have heard you fart and laugh at yourself.

Anyway, both posts are hilarious and made me laugh loudly. Thankfully, they did not make me fart.

May 13, 2009 at 4:11:00 PM EDT  
Blogger ruby said...

i was already laughing out loud at work when i read the post, but then when i read the comment by erin mc, i almost farted myself!

May 13, 2009 at 5:35:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Mona Lott said...

The "Oh the humanity!" style shitter story made me laugh REALLY HARD!

Honestly, I don't recall ever laughing at my own farts, but I'll laugh my ass off at other people:D And shit stories are a few of my favorite things.

May 17, 2009 at 2:58:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Charlotte said...

I wanted to let you know it is dangerous to read your blog at work. So far I have managed not laugh aloud, but I don't know how long I'll be able to keep it up...

May 19, 2009 at 1:28:00 PM EDT  

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