Gas: It’s no laughing matter

Garrison Ebie

All I want to do is fart.

I know, that does sound immature, harsh and edgy. You may think “Gosh! How appalling!” or perhaps are even a little disturbed by the prudence of my statement. Maybe you just think I’m trying to get your attention, and while that’s not the intention, it did work.

To discuss this issue in a serious matter is very difficult. But I believe the subject of flatulence needs to be addressed more often than behind closed doors and inside doctors’ offices. Instead of being overtly politically correct, I will continue to use the word “fart” because of its familiar nature. The purpose of this is not to be controversial but to question why the fart is such a taboo in our free society.

Daily life is full of questions. Some of these can be answered with a little bit of science. For example, why is the sky blue? Why is fire so hot? The one I’ve still been unable to figure out is why on earth everyone gets so shaken up when we pass gas. A sneeze receives condolences when a stranger might say “God bless you.” Coughing can be excused. Belching is a little vulgar, but those who are around you generally understand.

But the fart? No one likes farts. Sure, it doesn’t come out of your mouth like all the others, but it’s still a natural thing everyone has to do all the time. Let’s face it, holding one in can be a miserable experience. Combinations of methane, carbon dioxide and hydrogen gasses are trying to desperately exit your intestines for a quite valid reason. They’re not supposed to be there. These gases are unhealthy, and they need to go. But unfortunately, letting this happen will give the accused a multitude of dirty looks unless his or her gas is well-concealed. And why? What is so offensive about flatulence?

The heart of the matter lies in the fact that farting is associated with the things we do in the bathroom. Things happen in there that are our own personal business, and for whatever reason, no one should ask questions about them. Farting noises might be thought to fall into that category as well, but I clearly disagree. After all, the purpose of a bathroom is to flush away human waste. Gas on the other hand, just floats away into the air. It can happen anywhere.

Perhaps I should elaborate on the different circumstances of passing gas. Even I will admit there are times when farting is very inappropriate. Limitations need to exist. A ride on the express elevator up a tall skyscraper with several other passengers is definitely not the right time to fart. As much as I am in favor of farting whenever it needs to be done, doing so in an elevator is just plain rude. I have not discussed the scent of this occurrence yet, and I’ll begin here.

The absence of ventilation makes the elevator a worst-case scenario. Be mindful that individuals may not find the smell of their own farts to be so unappealing. I’m relatively sure that in the back of everyone’s mind, they find their own scent quite pleasing. Unfortunately, this does not mean anyone else does whatsoever. Human gas is the byproduct of bacteria in the intestines. It’s the same concept as leaving dirty dishes in the sink for weeks on end. It is not pleasant, but then again, it won’t kill anyone either.

Holding on to one’s bowels up an elevator might be easy to do, but holding it through a two-hour anthropology lecture, a six-hour car ride or a three-course meal at Denny’s is a completely different story. No one should have to go through with that. Leaving the room just to make a noise out your rear end seems a little counterproductive and overly self-conscious.

As long as ample ventilation is available and contaminated air will not linger for more than a few seconds, farting should be widely accepted as a healthy exercise. I’m not kidding. You can laugh all you want about how strange farts sound, but when they all finally exit your system, you’re left with no stomach ache and no back cramps; you can sit still, and your self-confidence should shoot right through the roof. You will have done exactly what your body told you to do, and now you will feel good about it. There is nothing wrong with that.

Garrison Ebie is an electronic media production major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].