Was that You?
Why do we get so indignant when someone lets one rip, cuts the cheese, blows off, does a bum burp, hits 7.4 on the rectum scale, drops their guts, squeaks one out, steps on a duck, lets one off, or simply fluffs?
And why is it so hilarious when we backfire, but so horribly offensive, inappropriate and ill mannered when someone else cracks off a crowd splitter?
Just in case any of you are still unclear as to what the above various terms and expressions refer, let me be perfectly clear. We're talking about one of the oldest words in the English language, which describes the expulsion of natural gas from the anus, something we all do up to 20 times each day, even quaint old Aunt Agatha, the FART.
Let's begin by answering the age long questions of “What is a fart?” and "Why do some farts lingalonga?"
We all swallow air with our food. Indeed, some of us eat so quickly that it might appear that we suck in our food like a vacuum cleaner. It follows then that farts comprise mostly oxygen and nitrogen (the main components of air), but they also contain carbon dioxide, methane and hydrogen, which are the products of our digestive system. These last two components are of course flammable leading to the well known fact that we can actually light up our farts. This leads me to share one of the many infamous verses of that rollicking rugby club song, “In Mobile”, which goes as follows:
There's a shortage of bog paper in Mobile,
There's a shortage of bog paper in Mobile,
There's a shortage of bog paper,
So they wait until it's vapour,
And they light it with a taper, in Mobile.
But it's the small amount of hydrogen peroxide (or rotten eggs gas) that provides the icing on the cake to the moon bomb that killed the canary. This smelly secretion is generated when foods that are particularly high in sulphur are ingested, digested and ultimately transformed into the gaseous explosion, referred in Cockney rhyming slang as the ‘raspberry tart’, that, “… by any other name, would smell as sweet.”
Indeed it's often those foods rich in fibre, such as beans, oatmeal and whole-wheat products, and sulphurous foods such as red meat, eggs, brussel sprouts and cabbage, that will add lasting stink to your sphincter splitter, and hence a healthy diet may arguably mean a more aromatically acrid anal salute.
Who let the beans out?
The overall effect of these potentially lethal expulsions on the cognitive conks of the crowd, also depend, however, on the size of the room and the filtration capability of the clothes covering the rear passage. It follows that, the most effective dragon slayer to grab the crowd's attention would best be released in an elevator by a Scotsman dressed in traditional attire (it's normal to wear no undies under the kilt).
Where e'er ye be,
Let yer air blaw free.
- Robert Burns.
Of course, firing off a fizzler in an elevator, whether it's ‘silent but deadly’ (ie a Ninja fart) or ‘loud but harmless’, is just so wrong on so many levels. 🤣
Turning back to science, then, and solid analytical techniques, let's further look at what gives a cheek squeaker its greatest effectiveness. I recently stumbled upon the work of a team led by neuroscientist, Dr Helen Pilcher, who reportedly studied 176 types of fart, varying from the ‘common quack’ to the ‘thunder blunder’.
It was concluded that the funniest farts could be predicted by a Flatulation Formula as follows (see also photo above):
Where the variables are defined in the figure below:
The following was additionally explained in the post:
- G was taken as 1.05, because “women's farts are funnier”;
- kids laughed the most, “but their laughter spread to adults who scored rippers 25 per cent higher when with children”; and
- farter barter was funnier among friends and more shameful in front of strangers, eg a TV host letting out a one-gun salute live on air.
Now here's some interesting data aimed to fascinate fabulous flatulaters, courtesy of Dr. Billy Goldberg and Mark Leyner in “The Body Odd”, 2008, (the comments in parenthesis are, unfortunately, mine):
- Farts have been clocked at a speed of 10 feet per second (makes you wonder how this was measured, when the only thing moving is vapour, and how close the instrument technician was required to get 🤔).
- We produce about half a litre of farts per day (not sure how they contained the fart flow from each gas blast to permit measurement, unless the poor unfortunate participants in the experiment were required to to wear bum bags, or similar, for the duration 🤔).
- Most people fart about 14 times a day (I trust that they paid the observers well for their cheese cutting computations 🤔).
Then there's the tendency we have to pin the blame for our rectal honks on others, by deceptive means, particularly when said tail winds are particularly malodorous. Inevitably the reply from the innocent party might take one of the following expressions of grievance:
- The one who declared it blared it.
- The one who sang the song did the pong.
- Whoever made the quip let it rip.
- He who accuses blew the fuses.
- Whoever's poking fun is the smoking gun.
Now I just couldn't let this subject matter pass (🤗) without referring to another rollicking rugby club song, “The Good Ship Venus”, and the propensity for the crew of this infamous sailing ship to rely on one particular member's flatulence for fast passage:
The first mate's name was Carter,
He was a mighty farter,
When the wind wouldn't blow,
And the ship wouldn't go,
They got Carter the farter to start 'er.
And so I've exhausted (🤗) all my material on this subject matter for now, but let me leave you with some sage advice:
Farts are like children.
You don't mind them when they're your own, but you can't stand other people's.
At my age I've learned to never trust a wet fart.
When not researching the weird or the wonderful, the comical or the cultured, the sinful or the serious, I chase my creative side, the results of which can be seen as selected photographs of my travels on my website at:
The author of the above, Ken Boddie, besides being a sometime poet and occasional writer, is an enthusiastic photographer, rarely leisure-travelling without his Canon, and loves to interact with other like-minded people with diverse interests.
Ken's three day work week (part time commitment) as a consulting engineer allows him to follow his photography interests, and to plan trips to an ever increasing list of countries and places of scenic beauty and cultural diversity.
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