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 Real Life Experience

Dear Editor,

The incidents described in the enclosed article, "The Farts in My Life," are true. I am offering this work exclusively to Expresso Tilt because, as is generally known, it is the only publication with the sensitivity, assurance, and courage to publish writing of such a delicate and personal nature. I have omitted my name and locale to avoid any embarrassment.

Basement, 1960. While watching my mother hang the wash, I notice an old pair of my father's boxer shorts hanging on the line. The shorts have a number of holes, which my mother says are from "too many booms-booms." She and I laugh hard.

Summer, 1962. For a few weeks, whenever I have to fart, I tell my mother or father to put a hand "on my behind." One of them obliges, and I fart.

Spring, 1964, Grandma's house. My grandmother walks across the room and cuts a fart that lasts a good four to five seconds. While I try to suppress my laughter, she says, "There's a lot more room in this great big world than there is in my little stomach."

August, 1964. As we get ready for bed one night, my mother lets out a fart that goes, "Boop-boop-a-doop," which she calls a musical fart. While she and I laugh, my 14-year-old brother keeps saying, "That's where he gets it! That's where he gets it!" My father says nothing.

July, 1971, in the car on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. It's raining outside, the windows are up, and I cut what at the time is the smelliest fart I have ever let (until 1980 when the farts I cut after eating vegetarian meatballs were so rank even I couldn't stand the stench). Any reference to a particularly smelly fart in my house for the next few years is referred to as a "Pennsylvania Turnpike fart."

Thanksgiving, 1972. My Dad is farting heavily after turkey dinner, mainly in my presence. One time he demonstrates "pulling the rope" or "calling the butler" (i.e., extending an arm upwards and making a pulling-down motion while letting out the fart), just as my sister-in-law walks into the room. She cracks up but my father blushes. My brother and his wife divorce seven years later.

Christmas, 1974, my girlfriend's house. I go to her house, walk up to her room, and we immediately embrace and commence with French kissing. I let out a fart, not having expected it to be audible. She breaks away and says, "I didn't think the room needed perfuming." We decide a few hours later not to do anything together on New Year's Eve, and we break up a few weeks later.

Summer, 1977 (as subsequently told to me by my mother). My mother, employed at a market research firm, has gas building up inside her. She finally gets to the restroom and thinks she's alone, farts loudly, and lets out a sigh of relief. Then she hears somebody start to urinate in a nearby stall, and she rushes out, unseen. This happens again three weeks later.

June, 1986, San Francisco. My digestion is messed up, I'm constipated, and I have lots of gas. With my brother watching the Gay-Lesbian Freedom Day Parade (I am straight), I am constantly cutting above average smelly farts but, being alone, I am not concerned about it. Then I hear a gay couple, who have been standing behind us for a while, talk about the fun they're having "except when the farts blow our way." I get worried that they know it's me and consider me homophobic.

June, 1988, Mexican restaurant, Redwood City, California. I walk into the narrow, one toilet Men's room and start to pee, having neglected to lock the door from the inside. A few seconds later a Mexican fellow walks in and starts to pee in the washbasin behind and to the left of me. It's crowded, and then I let out a droning, three-second fart, embarrassed and worried that he thinks I'm a racist. Then he farts. I want to say something humorous to break the tension and promote brotherhood, but I can't think of anything. He finishes and leaves, and I exit a few seconds later.

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