The fart ref

Posted by jdg | Monday, February 12, 2007 |

When I was a kid, the word "fart" was on the same list as all those other words I wasn't allowed to say around my parents. No one in my house was allowed to use the word fart, and rather than fully exploring the wonderful euphemistic possibilities for this wholly-natural act, my family generally refrained from doing it in each other's presence altogether. Occasionally one of us would be blamed for "breaking wind," but it was more likely that one of us (or the dog) would be shamed for making a "toot." If you think "toot" sounds lame, consider it as a verb in the present perfect aspect: "Dutch has tooted." Now that's downright embarrassing. A fat kid in my Sunday School class who loved to talk to me about 18-wheelers was quite proud of his "rippers," and my 8-year-old self frequently giggled through the jealousy that he could speak of them with such pride. The black kids at my school called them "poots," which was way better than "toots." My classmates also used the wonderful phrase, "dropping bombs," as in, "damn son, you dropped a bomb!" They could have been "bombs," or "zingers," "brown thunder" or "air bagels." Anything but "toots." I vowed at an early age to never restrict the verbiage my children would use to describe their flatulence.

This early vow has turned into something of a mistake.

Juniper is obsessed with farts, her own and everyone else's. She has taken it upon herself to play the role of fart referee. As lawyers, we are accustomed to presenting evidence to a neutral arbiter. Juniper has no time for evidence or neutrality. When it comes to farts, what she says goes. The scooting leg of a chair? "Dada farted!" A poofy naugahyde seat? "Mama farted!" In mixed company, holding Juniper in my arm, I feel an air bubble travel through her diaper and pants, breaking against my forearm? "Minnie farted! A real big fart! Smells like poopoo!" Even worse, Wood's parents are much less self-conscious than my own when it comes to expelling their gas. Wood was raised to believe that "holding them in" caused "green gases" to back up and affect her brain. Thus, Wood's mother bears no compunction to let one rip under almost any circumstance. Over the weekend, this happened several times.

The bottom line: this weekend we learned we need to find a happy medium between, "Grandma has tooted!" and "Nana made big fart! It's a stinky one, too, I think!"