In my opinion, farts and fart jokes are just plain funny. It doesn’t matter what age you are or how refined you think you are, when someone says “pull my finger!” you’re going to laugh. Comedian Louis C.K. recently stated, “You don’t have to be smart to laugh at farts, but you have to be stupid not to.” Just think of all the funny names for farts: break wind, booty bomb, mating call of the barking spider to name a few. And the actions you can do WITH farts: Crop dusting, chuck wagon, Dutch oven! The entertainment never stops.
I grew up in a house where we just let ‘em rip! It was a source of pride to be able to bust out a good one and clear a room. My dad first initiated me into the “stepping on a frog” club when I just a little kid and from then on he used every chance he could to fart around me. Dancing, farting–it was all intertwined in my family. It was not unusual for the dinner table cacophony to be accompanied by the sounds of the gluteal tuba. One of my FAVORITE family memories is from a vacation in Cape Cod with my aunt, uncle and cousins sitting around after many beans were consumed acting out the fart scene from Blazing Saddles. If you can picture four grown adults and four kids sitting around laughing so hard that they have tears streaming down their faces, you get the idea. The scene was reenacted many times at family gatherings after that.
Of course, these one gun salutes happened while in the comfort of our own home or at least when we were surrounded by close family. We didn’t often bring our juvenile humor out in the world, unless you count the times that my dad and I would be browsing the video store (remember them?) and he would cut the cheese loudly and say in mock disgust “Kriste! Control yourself!” and quickly walk away. I was never really embarrassed by this; just annoyed that he beat me to it.
When you have a young child in the house, there comes a time when everything potty related becomes freaking hysterical. Farts are especially funny. Farting ON someone? Brings down the house. “Pull my finger” has been around longer in my house than the knock-knock joke. I told my daughter that my mom used to call farting “letting Fred out”, as in “Who let Fred out?” and she thought that was hilarious. Her favorite toy lately? A whoopee cushion she got at a birthday party. “Mommy, sit right here!” That never gets old. We have yet to teach her how to make farting noises with her armpit—who needs that when you’ve got plenty of the real thing?
Next week, Zoey starts kindergarten and becomes a member of a more civilized world. It occurred to me this weekend, while we were enjoying a lunch of rice and refried beans, that I have to teach her about the phrase “There’s a time and place for everything”. I am pretty sure I was going to have to teach her about that anyway, but who would have expected that farting would be the impetus?
Part of me is sad about this. In my own sick way, farting is part of the magic of childhood. It SHOULD be funny. It IS funny. But I don’t want to be responsible for the therapy sessions later in life. You know, the ones that start with “My mom never told me it wasn’t proper to fart in public and it ruined my life!” Yeah, my brain went there. The good news is that there will be plenty of time at home for butt sneezing and the hilarity that ensues. Well, that’s good news unless you want to come over to my house and visit. Maybe you should call first…