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I was born at a very young age and...bud um boom...

Friday, August 11, 2006

Colonoscopies, passing wind and competition

About six months ago I had a colonoscopy. The doctor, in order to puff the colon up so that he could more freely root around with his camera-headed snake, filled it with air. The result of this inflation was that when he had completed his sight seeing I was left with a lot of the air still in my colon. Of course, before they discharge you from the post-colostomy waiting area the nurses want you to pass the air. That is, they tell you that you need to fart. Apparently, by farting, you show them that all is well and then you can be safely discharged.

The nurses in the room knock out the social taboo against farting by applauding and cheering all farts by all patients. Further, they give longer and more enthusiastic cheers and applause to those who fart long and loud. Naturally, the applause brought out the competitive spirit in me and I pushed and strained, trying for the loudest, longest and "best fart" of anyone in the room. When I received strong applause for ripping off a number of thunderous and fortunately non‑smelly farts (the empty colon doesn't produce odor) I was very proud. (Be clear—when I talk about applause, I literally mean the entire staff and all the patients’ relatives are yelling : "Yaayyyyyyy" and clapping long and loud).
If I might toot my own horn a bit, none of my competitors' farts were as impressively in tune, demonstrated as much diaphragm support or had as big a tuba-like bottom. Like my dad used to say: "If you're going to do something, do it as well as you can."

This re‑defining of farting as a socially approved behavior was accepted by my wife and, of course, being the supportive and loving spouse that she is, she stayed with me in the waiting room and enthusiastically applauded me for my musical efforts. I must admit that I wondered if her enthusiasm was as real as it appeared; but I was greatly reassured that same night. At 3 AM I woke myself up with a very long and loud fart; probably the last of the forced-air pockets. She woke up, gave a little giggle, sang a sweet little cheerleader's "Yaaaay..." and then drifted back off to sleep. With a smile on my face, I too drifted back off to sleep secure in the knowledge that I still "had it" and that she knew it.

We are indeed funny and odd creatures. I must admit that now, in light of this victory, I am actually looking forward to having my kidneys checked.


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