In 429 posts, I’ve failed to tackle any risqué subject without descending into a fit of giggles. Well that stops now. I’m putting my foot down, but this is the internet, so you’ll have to imagine me doing that. Whilst the facts and descriptions surrounding flatulence may be funny, it is not my intention to be so. This question is about the actual act. So let’s crack on. Flatulence is flatus expelled through the anus or the quality or state of being flatulent. Known around the world as the furz, fong pei, pee, pieru, tuhnu, pongu, scairt, doot, brakfis, pumpern, and many more. Whilst it is perfectly normal for humans to ‘pass flatus through the rectum’, the amount, frequency and smell vary from person to person, from culture to culture, along with its acceptability. And the wonderful world of flatulence study is known as flatology. Well that’s a shit job. Ahem…
Caused (mostly) as a by-product of bacterial fermentation in the gastrointestinal tract. In some cultures, it’s equated to coughing, in others, it’s embarrassing, and in others still, it’s considered humorous. In 2008, a farting application for a mobile phone earned the creator $10,000 in one day. So the gas clearly has pulling power. A flatulist is a ‘fart performer’, someone who farts at will in a creative, amusing or musical manner. Paul Oldfield, aka Mr. Methane, is the world’s only professional farter, and performs to sell-out crowds and has albums out. Seriously. Sadly, he’s British and getting on in years, so it’s more tragic than pleasant. And in 2011, the 2011 Malawian Air Fouling Legislation was introduced in Malawi, which made farting in public illegal. The Minister of Justice said, and this is a direct quote, “Would you be happy to see people farting anyhow? Just go to the toilet when you feel like farting… It [farting] was not there during the time of dictatorship because people were afraid of the consequences. Now because of multipartism or freedom, people would like to fart anywhere… Nature can be controlled… it becomes a nuisance if people would fart anywhere.” The same law would also make challenging someone to a duel illegal. But not duels.
Men toot on average 14 to 25 times a day, women seven to 12. It is thought women do it less because they deem it a quiet and private affair that must be hidden at all costs, whereas men are proud of it and deliberately try to do it. Although I think science is veering off into ‘stereotype country’, they do have a point. Everybody does it, just like everybody hurts. Apparently. Termites break wind more than any other animal, with some estimates putting them at producing just over 21 and a half million imperial tons of methane per year. Together. Not, not each one individually. A human produces just less than one UK pint of the stuff each day. Holding them in poses no danger to one’s health. The total number of them produced by ALL of humankind EVER is over 17 quadrillion. And January 7 is National Pass Gas Day. What? The Americans came up with it. Say no more, say no more.
I don’t find them funny. I try so hard not to do one. They’re embarrassing and childish. Yeah, it’s a fact of life, one of many, but it doesn’t mean I must like them. They’re interesting and we may as well accept the above facts because we can’t get away from them. But flatulence is not funny. And until science can find a way to stop this embarrassment, it’s here to stay. We can’t change that fact, so let’s move on and get on with our lives.
Farts. Funny or not? What do you think readers?
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