“You were raised in a barn,” Claudio, my college roommate, said, slamming the door to his bedroom for protection. Then, opening the door a tiny crack, he bellowed, “You’re an animal.”
I lay helpless with laughter. I had filled the living room of our apartment with invisible deadly gas. Claudio didn’t know till it was too late. That’s what’s so great about farts if they’re done right - resistance is futile. I knew how to do them right.
Some have asked whether farters are born or made. In my case it was a mysterious phenomenon, like being kidnapped by space aliens and then finding you have ESP, or having sex with Satan in a dream-like reverie, then waking up to find that you’re with child.
I never passed more gas than the average grease ball until I spent a year in Baton Rouge, Louisiana as a college freshman. I drank the coffee they make there with a roasted tree bark called chicory. (Don’t ask me why they roast tree bark - it’s a Louisiana thing.) It was delicious, but the stuff turned my intestines inside out and I started farting like a diesel. It was awesome.
At first I felt ashamed of my noxious emissions. I was rectally challenged, I said, anally afflicted, a victim like a leper or diabetic. I was entitled to sympathy and understanding, not insults. “You’re sick!” they’d say, making hand gestures and quickly leaving the room with or without their personal belongings. Or they would laugh in my face and tell me to get lost, freakazoid. (This was before the People with Disabilities Act forbade such ill treatment of the handicapped.)
Not one to take things sitting down, I began to fight back. I would not be a victim of injustice. My shame turned to anger, then to rage, then to revenge. Revenge, some say, is a dish best served cold. I find that revenge is best served silently, the way a black panther sneaks up on its prey. With one savage pounce it leaps from the darkness and strikes. This is the Way of the Farter.
Have you ever seen photographs of people who were buried alive at Pompeii? How the townsfolk lay grimacing and contorted, coiled under tables or in caves, clutching their children, only to succumb to the hot gases and molten lava that enveloped them? This is the effect I strove for, and my method for achieving it was one every military commander since the dawn of time has employed: surprise. You must catch your victims unawares, vulnerable, and unexpecting. This is the Way of the Farter.
I quickly realized that the automobile was an invaluable tactical tool, particularly in winter. The automobile provides the Farter with an ideal environment for close engagement. It prevents the ready egress of targets, confining them to a small space from which they cannot escape without serious bodily injury or exposure to the elements.
After a movie with friends, or better yet, a burrito dinner at a Mexican restaurant, the car (preferably not your own) provides a place in which to catch one’s victims unawares. Lulled into contentment by a full belly or distracted by a discussion of a movie’s most exciting chase scenes, one’s targets are vulnerable as they cruise happily home.
One of my proudest moments occurred in an American Motors Rambler on the way back from a rich Mexican dinner. It was a cold winter’s night as Frank drove us home, me in the back seat and his cousin Jane in the front. Frank was raving about the overabundance of garlic in his Macho Nachos when I surreptitiously “let one.” It was shock and awe on an small scale. Frank broke off in mid-sentence and his breathing became short and shallow. With a gag in his throat, he scrunched up his face, rolled down the window, and stuck his head out, gasping for dear life. He drove all the way home with the cold wind blasting his face. His beard froze into a grizzly brillo pad that took hours to thaw. Me, I lay helpless with laughter. It was worth every freezing second.
The successful Farter must be adaptable, of course, and must recognize other environments in which targets may be vulnerable to his affumatore. Another important arena for engagement is the living room. The living room, the heart of the home, is associated with safety and comfort, again providing the advantage of surprise. Who would expect that the cozy confines of the living room would become the scene of a wicked, hair-withering gas bomb? Note, you aspiring farters: The safe and familiar provide the ideal cover in which to strike with panther-like surprise. This is the Way of the Farter.
For a for-instance, let us revisit Claudio, the offended party who locked himself in his room to escape the stench of a silent but deadly fart. Only moments before he ran off in a babble of insults and recriminations, he had been sitting comfortably in the living room, studying electrical engineering and listening to the Alman Brothers sing “Ramblin’ Man.” He had been dreaming of a joint as a reward for his studious efforts, and was in a calm state of mind in anticipation of such. It was at this moment of serenity that I entered the room without any sign of the impending havoc on my mind.
I sat down with a magazine and began reading. Soon Claudio froze up and looked at me with a “What the fuck?” expression on his face. With the urgency of a heart attack, he slapped shut the engineering textbook and sprang to his feet. A fish stuck in the mud could look no more desperate than Claudio at that moment. He staggered slightly, off balance, as he realized what was happening. But it was too late. With fingers held to his nose like clothes pins and sucking air like an asthmatic, he made his way to his bedroom, muttering the words I mentioned at the beginning of this piece. I lay helpless with laughter. This is the Way of the Farter.
I could go on, but I don’t want to sound like a braggadocio…
I feel it only fair to warn that the Way of the Farter is not for everyone. It is not for those who crave social approval and acceptance. It is not for those who seek healthy relations with the opposite sex. It not for those who want to be loved rather than feared. The Farter must make sacrifices for his (or her) art, and the costs can be great. But in the end, it’s worth it.
My farting days are behind me now. I leave farting to the young who, like me years ago, are called by forces greater than themselves. The laughs are grand, the infamy intoxicating, but you must be strong. It’s not all hilarity and sadistic glee. Yet, despite the many friends and relations who will stop talking to you and will banish you from their homes and automobiles forever, with a little luck, you may become the next Osama Been Fartin’.