Where There’s Smoke


Without looking up from her dinner, my wife said to me, “I heard you belched in the choir Sunday. I’m mortified.”

This came as a surprise, as she didn’t go to church with me Sunday, and we live a dozen miles away from the chapel. I was afraid to ask her how she was able to hear me from that distance. I mean, it was kind of loud, but certainly not twelve miles loud. She must have some sort of supernatural connection to me. She knows everything. Just last month I was in my study and she was next door in the bedroom. I farted, and immediately she confirmed it. “You just farted. How disgusting.” She didn’t even wait for the smell to waft in there.

I immediately became defensive. “How do you know it was me that farted? It could have been the dog.” I do blame the dog for everything.

“Because I can tell your fart in a crowd, that’s why.” All those times, and she knew it was me.

Well, that got me thinking. I am the world’s foremost amateur scatologist, and farts, although not technically scat, are definitely part of the terminal digestion cycle. You know, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Sometimes after eating Mexican food I believe I could take a blanket and use my farts as smoke signals to recite the Gettysburg Address. But back to the story at hand. (AT hand, not IN hand) I wondered if wives actually can tell their husband’s farts in a crowd of men. They certainly all sound the same to me. This calls for a scientific study, don’t you think?

I’m drafting up an abstract for a study proposal to distribute around the leading Universities in hope of nailing a grant. I also intend on submitting it to Kickstarter, too. The key to success is proliferation. Well, that’s not entirely true. I had the key to success once but dropped it in the toilet. I wasn’t about to arm wrestle the other things in there for it. Anyway, I’m preparing a proposal on the subject, but I’m not waiting for acceptance and funding. There are thinkers and there are doers. Another scatology joke.

I put an ad in the paper: “Men married over twenty years needed for scientific study. Contact Dr. Harding at 256-349-8992.” Hey, if I can become a minister in the Church of the Latter-Day Dude, I can call myself a doctor. I immediately began getting phone calls from guys asking what the study was and what they would get out of it. I cryptically explained that it was a fart study and they would be rewarded in good food. Before long I had the crowd I needed.

My plan was to feed them one at a time and then record their farts. Could you imagine the mayhem that would ensue if I fed them all at once? I’ve seen a single fart melt plastic. I shudder to think what would happen if a crowd of men farted all at once. So I made appointments for each of them to come in, and then began preparing the fart-inducing foods they would need to ingest. I made beans of all kinds: baked, butter, black-eyed, garbanzo – you name it. I just had to make sure they were the kind that carried the sugar raffinose, the ingredient in beans that brings out the gassiness. I’ve done my homework, y’all. Raw cauliflower and broccoli have the same ingredient, so I made sure to include lots of ranch dressing. Thank you, Hidden Valley, for the free samples, btw. All in the name of science. I prepared every conceivable kind of dairy product because lactose makes for great farts. I had cottage cheese running out of my ears. Literally. Carbonated drinks also cause tons of gas, so I picked up two liters of everything. Meat also aids in the fart process because it slows digestion, giving fart-rich bacteria time to grow, and meat also produces sulfur, which makes farts smell worse. That’s just a bonus. To top it off I included pickled eggs and beer, two food items that always seem to work for me.

Well, these guys started coming in for their appointments, and they ate large quantities of the food I had laid out like a smorgasbord (note the word ‘gas’ in ‘smorgasbord’). And I recorded their farts. Every last one. I may never recover, but at least I will have given my life to science. Then I made a compilation of all their farts (it is actually quite soothing to the ears) and took the recording to each of their wives. You know what the outcome was. I was beaten severely by rolling pins, vacuum cleaners, sharp-fanged Chihuahuas and a wide array of household items. Women can be so cruel.

I consider this a minor setback, though. Once my study is funded, I think I’ll be able to bribe the wives into actually listening to the tape. If not, at least I can mass produce the recording and sell it as Swiss whale calls. It certainly puts me to sleep.

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