If there is one word that I could say in any class that would make most all of the males at east chuckle, it is “fart.”
There’s a little bit of onomatopoeia in that word. Give or take a trumpet or an air leak.
One may “pass gas”, “experience flatulence”, “toot”, “poot”, “break wind”, “cut cheese”, “cut one”, or “sound the Horn of Gondor”. But none of these seem to relate the experience better than that one word…
Farting is actually not an uncommon motif on literature. Shakespeare uses it in the Comedy Of Errors.
“A man may break a word with you, sir; and words are but wind; Ay, and break it in your face, so he break it not behind” (III, i).
Dante? Yep, Dante. Of course it would be in The Inferno. Canto XXI to be exact.
Along the left-hand dike they wheeled about;
But first had each one thrust his tongue between
His teeth towards their leader for a signal;
And he had made a trumpet of his rump.
Yep, that’s a trumpet for you. However, when Dante reaches Paradise, no one farts. They “release” a heavenly scent. Actually, that’s not true, but it made me laugh.
More? Of course. I present Chaucer and “The Miller’s Tale” from The Canterbury Tales.
This Nicholas just then let fly a fart
As loud as it had been a thunder-clap,
And well-nigh blinded Absalom, poor chap;
But he was ready with his iron hot
And Nicholas right in the arse he got.
That’s right. Arse = Ass. Then go to the Reeve’s Tale and you get more aroma.
And then there is Salinger in Catcher in the Rye.
“This guy sitting in the row in front of me, Edgar Marsalla, laid this terrific fart. It was a very crude thing to do, in the chapel and all, but it was also quite amusing. Old Marsalla. He damn near blew the roof off.”
In a chapel, no less. And there are more.
But art is meant to reflect reality. And farts are real. Some more potent than others. Some more audible than others. Some more debilitating than others. But they are real. And we all do it, no matter what we call it. If we could see them, then we could avoid them. But we can’t.
One of the best farters I know is Malcolm. There is no inhibition at all with his activity. He lets it fly. One time he let a fart loose that was so powerful at the dinner table that I swear he levitated about six inches off his wooden, sound magnifying chair.
Then he smiled as if relieved and proud of himself at the same time. And then he yelled “Pot!” that’s his way of saying “pooty pot”.
Invariably in restaurants he will let loose a sphincteral symphony, but he usually reserves it for places that have leather bound booths. For some reason that combination of material and bodily function allows for the entire restaurant to enjoy that favorite pastime.
Now, his mother and I, while we cannot stop the inevitable, now have gotten Malcolm to say “Scuse Me!” That usually happens while laughing maniacally, but he is showing manners.
Why does he laugh? Because he’s a boy and it’s a fart.
Last week he did something even more humanitarian. He farted in a restaurant, laughed, said, “Scuse Me!” and then did this.
That’s right. He held my nose to spare my olfactory nerves the shock of his “sounding the Horn of Gondor.”
And that’s a good thing. Because I was about to “let Rohan answer!”