Trumpet solo

One afternoon in the 1980s, I was at my parents' house for something. Dad wasn't there, and I wasn't hungry, but Mom insisted on making a sandwich for me. When Mom insists it's easier not to argue, and anyway, she can't hardly cook, but she sandwiches really good.

As she was spreading mustard and peanut butter on sourdough, slicing Spam and onions, she was also farting every few seconds, one raucous rippler after another. Me being 30-something with easily-managed farts, I thought her 60-something farting was pretty damned funny, so I said something like, "Jeez, Mom, why don't you tell me what you really think?"

She did not smile or laugh at my crack, and instead lectured me that old people sometimes don't have control over such things. It was rude of me to have made a joke, she said, and she was right. Good manners matter, and I should've simply ignored the sound and the smell, enjoyed the Spam sandwich, and said "Thanks, Mom."

Why am I remembering today, those long-ago farts and a scolding from my mother? Because I've been lactose intolerant for a few years, but last night I had ice cream as a midnight snack. Anything dairy gives me the farts, and at the library, where you're supposed to be quiet, I was suddenly flatulent. It was out before I knew it, and it wasn't quiet. You could hear my fart in the reference section, in non-fiction, and over at the magazine rack.

And there was more where that came from. Last night's ice cream was butter pecan, and I'd eaten the whole gallon. A gallon of farts wanted out at the library, loudly, immediately.

I considered being embarrassed, but decided against it, for important philosophical reasons. Farting is as all-natural as granola, and being embarrassed by something all-natural is an insult to nature, ain't it?

I'm not kidding about this. A lot of human unhappiness — certainly plenty of mine over the years — comes from denying who we are, and instead trying to be what other people expect of us. Whether it's something huge like following your dream, or something tiny like toots in the library, it's better to celebrate yourself than to hide, so I didn't hide, I celebrated.

Old people do have certain issues, but my library farts were controllable. I could've sucked 'em back in, or at least some of 'em, for long enough to walk outside and fart into the wind. The very act of walking would've shaken more farts loose, though, so I asked myself, would I rather be the old man farting in a chair, or the old man farting as he walks? 

The chair was comfy, so I stayed seated and played the butt-trumpet. Some notes were quick, others lasted several seconds, and as my solo continued, kids at a table across the room snickered. That's what reminded me of snickering at my mom's farts in the kitchen, all those years ago.

Unlike my mom, I glared at those children sternly, then thundered a marvelous note, and they laughed and I laughed. But finally I understood Mom letting everything out, as she sliced the Spam. What will be will be, and it's nothing to worry about or apologize for.


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  1. If this is what you meant when you said you wanted to write something as good as "Stoner"... well, mission accomplished.

    15 minutes later and I'm still laughing.

    1. It made me laugh, but I thought it was nothing much. They say your own farts smell best. Jeez, if it's my Stoner, guess I really can't judge...

  2. Finally, the man/writer who tells it like it REALLY is, with farts and shits and all the rest, jeez, and I thought i was weird, well Bruce won't like it but c'est la vie compadre...PM

    1. Thanks but who's Bruce and why won't he like it?


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