Short stories

Things I Can't Do Without


This was a very hard topic for me. I thought and I thought and I couldn't come up with anything that I couldn't live without that wasn't A) hokey, B) mawkish or C) all ready done. Then I said to myself, "there has to be something that no one else has thought of that is absolutely essential for life!" Well, I was wrong. I couldn't come up with one, but I did think of something no one else will stoop low enough to write about: Farts.

First, for all of you snobs who think that this is an unmentionable subject of no redeeming cultural value; some history. The word "fart" is the oldest word in the English language which still retains it's original meaning. The word comes from the olde Saxon "Pharttein", meaning the sound a dead cat makes when it's ripped in half.

Okay, so I lied about the olde Saxon, but the first part is true! Of all of the words we use today, "fart" is the only word we could say to a 6th century Celt that he or she would understand. Boggles the mind doesn't it? And he/she, being human, would probably laugh!

The other thing to remember is, without farts, we'd all be methane balloons! No need for feet, just gliding silently above the landscape until a bird pecked us and we exploded! (Although in thinking this over, it seems to me that birds would probably learn pretty damn quickly not to do that, so we'd probably have to burst on our own...) Anyway, life as an ever expanding Goodyear Blimp probably wouldn't have afforded us the benefits of civilization, and we'd have had to forego taxes, linoleum, and commercials for feminine hygiene sprays to name but a few. What a sad world that would be, huh?

Our language has also been broadened by our gassy emissions. Where would the English language be without such phrases as, "trouser cough", "barking spiders", or even, "Did you hear that duck hit the roof?" What a bland language that would be! As source of natural gas, the department of Agriculture once calculated that the flatulence from an average sized herd of cows could heat a home for the winter! Think of that! With the dramatic increases occurring in combustion chambers, we may soon be able to stay warm for the winter on twelve bean burrito's! Imagine having to pay your heating bill to Taco Bell instead of the gas company! That's progress!

And last but certainly not least, for practically all of us, farts provided our most basic training in embarrassment control. Who hasn't laid a twenty decibel flutter-blast in the middle of a silent prayer? Who hasn't released an S.B.D. (silent but deadly,) and then tried to blame it on the dog? And who hasn't walked down the isle of a supermarket, hoping to squeeze out a small one, only to have a repeating-frap go off like a string of firecrackers? Hoo hah! Now there's something you wouldn't want to miss!

And it was in learning that we didn't really shrivel up and die at these hideous moments, that we all learned that life does not have to be that deadly serious, and that we don't have to keep everything constantly under our control. In fact we can't even control our own bodily emissions!

Kurt Vonnegut once defined human beings as the only creatures who laugh at farts. That's as good a definition as I've ever been able to come up with.

So thank you, oh lowly freep, I couldn't live without you.

Copyright 1998 by Luther Conant III

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All images, text, animations,and music 2000 By Luther C. Conant III (unless where otherwise noted.)