Because sometimes life stinks

April 29th, 2010

Please don’t let ‘em rip.

While I like to think the caliber of my columns is slightly above the absolutely absurd, this week there is something rather elementary that I would like to discuss: farts. Loud, silent, small, no matter the delivery they all stink.

When I was writing the first draft of this article I was on an airplane to New York and I’m fairly certain that the man next to me consumed at least three bean burritos before boarding and then released the contents into his pants during the flight. (He may or may not have been a fellow editor of mine.)

Yes, I am aware that everyone farts: royalty, presidents, Jesus, and yes, even I do on occasion. According to passing gas is a natural bodily function. The site also claims that the average person farts 14 times a day. However, if you ask the boys in this newsroom that is an understatement. Better yet, ask the girls in this newsroom. They’ll agree that the “average person” the site is referring to must not include the boys on staff.

Those boys are the inspiration for this column. The newsroom never smells pleasant, and a lot of things factor into that, but I think the boys contribute the most via bodily functions.

Basically I want to know if it is necessary for all this stinky business. What happens if you don’t release that potent gas? According to psychiatrists if you keep emotions bottled up you’ll explode, so can the same be said about farts? (That would be rather messy.)

At this point you’re probably either disgusted or intrigued, but either way we now know you do it 14 times a day, and you probably haven’t done this research on your own, so this could be rather enlightening.

According to Merriam-Webster (the dictionary), a fart is “an expulsion of intestinal gas or a foolish or contemptible person.” For our purposes, we’ll go with the first definition.

According to the other Webster (Sean, our world news editor), “one of the leading sources of carbon emissions in the United States, farts are what happen when the body reaches its maximum capacity of bodily gases. The stomach muscles expel the gas through the colon, which vibrates the muscles of the buttocks, usually resulting in a loud ripping sound and a bad smell – depending on what you ate.”

So is this “expulsion of intestinal gas” necessary? According to all the sites on the Internet, it isn’t bad to hold it in, but it is occasionally uncomfortable. claims that you can eliminate some gas by choosing foods that do not cause increased gas such as beans, pop, milk and bran. However, the site didn’t share any information about withholding the gas.

Even with this limited information we can conclude that farts are not the same as emotions. You can hold them in and you won’t explode. There are only two situations I can think of when holding it in isn’t a practical solution. Sometimes you can’t wait which often leads to the SBD (silent-but-deadly) fart, and I don’t know anyone who goes to the bathroom 14 times a day, so it might be a little inconvenient.

But we’re too old to blame it on the dog or kid sitting next to you. We’re also not 90, so there is no reason you shouldn’t be able to control your body. So, even though this school is full of “average people,” let’s try to keep our farting in public to a minimum or at least try to contain it until you’re in an open area. 

As I said in my opening, this column is out of the ordinary for me and something you might expect to see in a different corner of the newspaper (like the bottom of page 18). 

Regardless, I hope you now know that you can contain that intestinal gas, and even avoid some of it. The bottom line is that I hope this provided you with a laugh. It is a stressful time, and just like farts, finals stink.