Friday, May 27, 2011

Fart Proudly!

In the 1780s, American diplomat, scholar, inventor, and all-around smart guy Benjamin Franklin wrote to the Royal Academy of Brusselles. They conducted an annual prize competition for scholarly innovation, and he had an idea for a competition. It is included in a slim book of Franklin's essays titled "Fart Proudly!":
"It is universally well known, That in digesting our common food, there is created or produced in the Bowels of human Creatures, a great Quantity of Wind.

That the permitting this Air to escape and mix with the Atmosphere, is usually offensive to the Company, from the fetid smell that accompanies it.

That all well-bred People, therefore, to avoid giving such Offense, forcibly restrain the Efforts of Nature to discharge that Wind.

That so restrained contrary to nature, it not only gives frequently great present Pain, but occasions future Diseases, such as habitual Cholics, Ruptures, Tympanies, etc., often destructive of the Constitution, & sometimes of Life itself."
Franklin proposes, therefore, that the scholars of the academy devise some methods or supplement to be taken at meals that would render our farts more acceptable. Or, as he put it:
"To discover some Drug wholesome and not disagreeable, to be mixed with our common Food or Sauces, that shall render the Natural Discharges of Wind from our Bodies not only inoffensive, but agreeable as Perfumes."
He was ahead of his time, perhaps. Modern civilization has invented a whole array of methods to mask the scent of farts, including scented candles, incense, plug-in air-fresheners, and aerosol sprays.

In 1998, a gentleman named Chester "Buck" Weimer of Pueblo Colorado patented underwear that was fitted with an odor-absorbent charcoal filter.

But do these work? In my family home, the scent of Glade certainly didn't mask the scent; it mingled with fart blossom wafting in the hall and inevitably warned us to check if the other bathroom was free.

While farting is generally considered offensive and embarrassing, it also is viewed with some peculiar admiration. In 19th Century France, a gentleman with the stage name of Le Petomane was celebrated for his ability to fart at will, imitating musical instruments and creating sound effects like thunder and cannon fire. He could play the ocarina, and extinguish a candle set several yards away. Of course, other humorist wags have combined farting and flame to create other pyrotechnical effects.

Many of those who view farting with approval do so for health-related reasons. Including my surgical team.

After a successful colectomy, one of the signs of recovery is the ability of the patient to Let One Rip.

My doctors and the nursing staff await my first post-surgical fart with great anticipation. After my first fart I get to eat solid food. And if that's successful, they will let me go home. So far, I am experiencing some interesting gurgles, but no serious action, yet.

Hey, doc. Pull my finger!


Max Sartin said...

I say "Let the farting begin!" Good luck, and may they be plenty.

Beliza said...

Great post!I wish you many good farts very soon!

Hamish Mack said...

Fart like the wind! Good post Aunt Snow.

The Old Parsonage said...

Thanks for the chuckle:)


smalltownme said...

I remember having to pass the gas test after my c-sections.

Searching for synonyms for good luck... I hope you have a windfall, haha.

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

"fart blossom" - I snorted and woke my husband from his nap over this one!

I've had 2 major abdominal surgeries and well-remember the highly anticipated and discussed passing of wind.
"Let the farting begin!"

Another Ben Franklin quote:
"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." I'll drink to your full recovery. :)

Alexia said...

Very funny! Obviously the surgery did not remove your sense of humour!

Have a good windy day :)

Mrs. G. said...

You go girl!


You're amazing.
Farting is my favorite humor. It's so "junior high".
Glad to read that you're on the mend.

DaveyWaveyGoodAsGravy said...

Great Crepitation Contest of 1946:

(Remember, it's a slippery slope you've set upon!)

Unknown said...

You are so funny! I hope you feel better soon!