I’ve tried to create an impressive on-line persona, but recently let myself down: Having made a perfectly trivial comment in my previous post about farting in a library – ‘twasn’t me – it seems I have finally stumbled upon a topic which has generated some interest. Not one to let an opportunity go to waste, I now present an entire post of great scatological import, and dedicate it to Dina. If the topic sounds unpleasant to you, perhaps you should come back another day.
Dina believes that farts are not chocolaty. It seems her olfactory sense is more sensitive or more frequently utilised than mine. I can argue neither for nor against her conviction on this score.
Dina has provided examples of American euphemisms for the word/ action fart/ farting. One such is “I have garbage in my tuchus’. Without intending to insult anyone's culture – I suggest 'tuchus' is Yiddish rather than American.
However if, for the purposes of this topic, we might borrow from other/ imported cultures, then an Australian euphemism using rhyming slang is 'horse and cart'.
Any rhyming slang visitors can call on in conversation with a 2nd or more generation anglo/ aussie will earn them brownie points.
However, short anglo/saxon words beginning with f have force, do they not? Any written expression good enough for Geoffrey Chaucer must surely be rated as ‘great literature’, and thereby socially acceptable in common use. [My use of the expression ‘common’ here is intentional.]
Another Australian expression I have heard which sounds more nicerer than 'fart' is botty-burp. Polite people will, if caught short, apologise for contributing to the hole in the ozone layer and then add something comforting and reassuring like ‘oh well, better an empty house than a bad tenant.”
The question was raised about whether there is a difference between boy-farts and farts-general. While I believe there is, Dina doubts this is so.
The 'pull-my-finger-thing' is something boys do and, no matter how often, they seem to think it is always funny and a joke that never loses its impact through repetition. It’s almost as if they believe practice can improve performance.
I was surprised to learn Dina thinks of the ‘pull-my-finger-routine’ as a 'custom'. I do hate to blow my own trumpet [if you’ll pardon such an expression in this context] but sometimes I am quick to learn: I fell for the finger-thing once and once only. About 12 months later I celebrated my fourth birthday. However, if Americans wish to think of it as a custom worth regular celebration I shall be politically correct and accept it – grateful that I live some miles away.
The Americanism ‘floating a biscuit’ must have had some obscure beginning, but I cannot for the life of me imagine what it might be. A similarly strange Americanism is ‘cutting the cheese’.
The only reference to cheese I’ve heard used in a gastro-intestinal context - this side of the equator - is that it is often carried by hikers who appreciate its binding properties, a source of the expression ‘bunghole’.
Just as children are individuals born with unique personalities, it is possible that entire families have shared personalities – a family-specific philosophy of farting, if you will.
My personal philosophy is that there is a time and place for everything. Farting may well be a perfectly natural bodily function but, like defecation and copulation, some natural bodily functions are best kept private.
Accidents happen, but I do not appreciate people with foul bowels relaxing their sphincters anywhere in my kitchen, or at my dinner table.
Some people feel differently. A very dear, long term friend is quite happy to fart anywhere and everywhere. She tells me that when she was growing up there was a firm family rule that no one should fart where three or more people were gathered. Not fair. Where there was only one other person present, farting was allowed. This rule ensured that the guilty party could always be identified.
Watching TV one day with her brother she was complying enthusiastically with this rule when, as he got up to leave the room, her brother suggested she would rather shit herself than get up and go to the toilet. I do believe he might have been right.
Remember how American TV introduced Australians to such eloquent affirmations of truth as “Is the Pope a Catholic?” or “Does a bear shit in the woods?” Surely these cannot top the Australian expression “Does a fart have lumps?”
Oh, I could go on. On the other hand, I’m not sure I can. Right now, I can hear my dear departed grandmother saying, over and over, ‘Where e’re ye be, let your wind blow free, for that were the death of me.’ I need to leave now and distract myself with something worthwhile.