Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Stranger Danger.

Maybe it’s all the standing around. Maybe it’s that your mind is completely occupied. For whatever reason, browsing in stores often leads to photo finishes in the restrooms. Not the number one, but the sensational deuce. There is usually a period before you get the official knock at the back door, when you feel the need to relieve some internal pressure. Often times you will be browsing in a record store or film store of some kind and things start a-grumblin’ and a-shakin’. It’s at this point that you need to be confident and sure of your own body’s internal language and signals, to know if you can safely unclench a certain amount without risking the sanctity of your best pair of jeans, contaminating the overall atmospheric hygiene of those around you and ruining a floor.

I won’t discuss what transpires after a miscalculation, the calm yet quick retreat to a nearby restroom, the necessity of evidence disposal (down the toilet, in a dumpster or behind a bush), and then living with the shame and the guilt. What I will discuss is what transpires in the event that you correctly interpreted your body’s cues, and you safely unleash hell, without error in judgment.

The way in which you deal with passing gas in a public milieu is important, not only to retain your own image in the immediate public eye, but mostly to ensure the safety of all of those around you. You may take this lightly, or think that no one could or will get hurt. Worst case, people will be offended. And what do you care what a stranger thinks anyways? Well you’re wrong, and that’s how people get killed. Allow me to share a story that best describes the very real dangers of careless “anything goes” style of in-store public gas-passing.

Picture a young man, nineteen or twenty years old or whatever. Overweight and not particularly concerned about what anyone may think of him, he wanders aimlessly at a grocery store on a rainy fall afternoon, dressed in his finest jogging pants, four year old hoodie and colorful winter hat, complete with puffy pom-pom. He is shopping at a small midtown grocery store, the kind with very narrow aisles, and filling his hand-basket with essential items like frozen orange juice, Chef Boyardee, pepperoni sticks and frozen meat pies, “tourtière” to the natives. He eventually finds himself in the cereal aisle holding a box in each hand. He is weighing the pros and cons of each trying to decide which to procure.

Sure, Cinnamon Toast Crunch is sweet, but on the other hand Crispix stays crunchy in milk longer. Then again, he could go with Life, which actually still tastes good when it’s soggy and is sweet as well, as does Corn Bran, but that is less sweet. Hmmm… the decision is not an easy one, and he starts to factor in the prizes found inside, as well as the back-of-the-box games. Then, suddenly, Golden Grahams enter the contest, due to their goldenness.

All of this browsing is increasing the need for releasing. He quickly looks to the left, all clear. He quickly looks to the right, all clear. There is no one in the aisle but him. Let’r Rip! With a thunderous roar, he feels instant shame-free and guilt-free relief as he soothingly exhales in unison with his joyous gaseous explosion. The woman crouched directly behind him, however, with her head resting perfectly at ass level and mere inches away from the mouth of the beast, looking at various coffee products, seemed less relieved, far less joyous.

“Eeeehhhrrrghhaaaaaa…” she faintly groaned, shedding a single tear, likely due to the mixture of gas and horror. From the wind of the blow, or perhaps in an instinctive effort to distance herself from the source, she fell forward, head first into a large tin of Maxwell House coffee. A very distinct ping sound echoed through the aisle as her forehead dented the can. The young man felt this ping reverberate through his entire soul.

“What have I done?” he thought, as he dropped his basket to the floor, stepped over the woman and ran as fast as he could out of the store, unable to face his victim, or bother to try to explain to her that he had eaten many beans and wieners for lunch and convince her just had no control over it, which isn't true. He had control, he just did not properly scan the area. “Is she alive? Is she conscious? Will she be able to give my description to the police? Should I throw away my easily identified hat? Are there severe laws against what I just did? Is it considered as a form of public indecency?” All of these questions raced through his head as he stood in line for two-for-one pizza down the street, simultaneously contemplating if he wanted Hawaiian or All-Dressed.

Something changed in me, err… I mean him, something changed in him that day. Ok fiiiine, it was me. Something changed in me that day. Unfortunately, it wasn’t my eating habits, not yet anyways, that came at a later time in my life. Nay, I decided that that was the last time that I would allow myself to bust ass without first being sure to examine my surroundings and devise a proper Flatulence Concealment Plan.

There are some pointers that I will give you, and that may come in handy someday, as well as some important rules to follow to ensure that no one is hurt, and that, as a bonus, you don’t become regarded as disgusting in your workplace, some other social structure, or by random strangers just hanging around the same place as you. Remember that these are very general guidelines, and may differ from city to city, location to location. They are intended to give you a rough idea of how to execute a safe and successful flatulence plan. When I say successful, I mean that no perfect stranger is forced to inhale your fumes. If you are specifically trying to get someone to breathe in your internal toxicity, likely as part of some variation of the Fart Game, then disregard all of this, as you are looking for a Flatulence Attack Plan, not a Flatulence Concealment Plan. Here we are talking about people you don't know, or barely know. The worst part about strangers’ gas is the unfamiliarity. The smell is so alien, not like anything you or your friends or family would make. Well, if we all change together, and follow these simple rules of engagement, none of us will have to smell strangers’ gas ever again. Isn’t that the kind of world that you would want to live in?

It is important to remember that when dealing with strangers or even minor acquaintances, the “you smelt it you dealt it” defense becomes null and void sometime around puberty. It is no longer the law. The thought process should now read more like the following:

“You smelled it, through simple logic you have deduced that I have definitely dealt it, and now I must retreat in shame as you look at me with fear and disgust in your eyes. I had cheesy scrambled eggs this morning, I’m sorry, fuck. I never meant to hurt you. Please don’t tell anyone of my disgustingness, and please don’t inform the security guards.”

Now, you must also realize that certain areas are entirely off limits. Whether fast food, sit-down style, or a combination of the two (like Pizza Hut), restaurants may not be used as resting places for your pockets of gas. Tooting in crowded areas with little to no movement and poor air circulation is also strictly prohibited. Some examples are indoor lineups, theaters, concerts, sporting events, public transportation (including airplanes), elevators or waiting rooms (doctor, dentist, DMV, wherever). If you absolutely must commit to a release, find the restroom and be discrete.

If you are in the workplace you must also retreat to a restroom every time. Crop-dusting is for chickenshits and nasty assholes, sometimes referred to as nastholes, in my head. Even from within your own cubicle, you must remember that the air travels quickly to the cubicles in your surroundings, and you should never engage in this type of dangerous chemical warfare. If you have your own closed door office, then it’s fine, so long as you have no upcoming meetings, don’t have frequent unsuspected pop-ins and have a candle handy and lit. But don’t let one go too close to the candle, or KABOOooOOM.

In the car, if you are alone, cutting the cheese is acceptable, but only if no one else is getting in for a while. Also, try and find a way to air it out if it still smells before leaving the car parked. Don’t lock it in and let it brew in there for the next driver who comes along. With one or more passengers, it is not advised to fart under any circumstances, even with open windows. Open windows never really help, and they usually only get opened too late in the game, after the smell discovery has been made, the blame has been placed and appetites have been destroyed. Also, never press the lighter thing.

Next, let’s move onto some more flatus-friendly indoor situations and locations. It’s always best to do your homework on the place before hand, since when the urge does strike, you won’t have much time to react. Wherever you may be, you must find the locations that have the least amount of traffic, and the most air circulation. Also be sure that the location has more than one decent exit (no dead ends and also you probably won’t want to stick around too long after you drop the bomb, just long enough that it makes its nest and doesn’t follow you out).

Grocery stores and mega super marts are easy. Don’t drop one in an aisle, ever, or you risk trapping the smell there, or worse hurting someone (as described in the lead-in story above). Unless you are looking to ambush someone, you’re better going into one of those sections that is more open, like a produce or bakery section, or a section with kitchen appliances and shit to ensure the least amount of potential victims of smell. There are also many ways out of there, so you can be sure to get out with the least amount of suspicion heading towards you, if you do end up with any innocent bysmellers. Use caution, as the world’s worst farts can cause fruits and vegetables to quickly rot, plants to dry out and die, baguettes to instantly become stale, plastic to boil and certain kitchen appliances to explode. Also, cutting the cheese near actual cheeses may cause them to spoil.

Don't fart in drugstores or pharmacies. The gasses tamper with the molecular make-up of the drugs and alter the effects and side-effects. They also turn all of the lipsticks and eye make-up brown.

Record stores, libraries or bookstores, movie stores, video game stores or clothes stores, are a bit more challenging. You have to know your place well, and realize which sections are most unpopular. Air circulation is never on your side in these stores, as they are usually quite cramped and claustrophobic. Similar to the aisles in a grocery store, you risk trapping someone in a smelly corner if you haven’t researched well enough. Sometimes you may not have had time to research, or worse yet, misfortune knocks while researching. In this case, here are some helpful hints.

The New Age section in music stores is a safe bet, no one ever browses there. You may end up looking lame for being there at all, but at least you won’t be labeled as gross. If it’s really busy, try the poster section, using the big book-like pages to fan the section out a bit.

At a library or bookstore, head towards the kids section. If any unfortunate souls happen to be around, it can easily be passed off as a child’s dreadful mistake in the pants. Simple, timeless.

For movie stores, head towards the Adult film section. Even if it is crowded, who are they to judge? And who knows? Maybe you will get them to leave and go look at proper movies. They may thank you in the end. You may still be labeled as a pervert initially by other onlookers, but once they see you have not picked up anything to buy or rent, they’ll forgive you and figure you’re just curious. Again, you will avoid the 'gross' label. If there is no Adult section, go with the kids cartoon section, applying the "library/bookstore kids poop their pantsalot" technique.

Video game stores are very tough, as they are crowded in almost every section. Try and head to the PC games, as that section is generally less crowded and there usually is at most only one or two people browsing the "online virtual live another second life other than your own as a flying dwarf dragon or someshit" games. And honestly, they won’t even notice.

Clothes stores are complicated. People travel frequently from section to section, and it’s tough to gauge where it would be safe to make a deposit. Do not under any circumstances think you can utilize the fitting rooms. You will trap the smell in, and when you open the door, it is a dead giveaway. It’s also like a punch in the face to any unfortunate bysmellers walking by. Aim for sections with heavy cotton clothes, such as sweatshirts, jogging pants or jeans, they tend to absorb a large amount of smell. Stay away from polyesters, wools and leathers, they enhance smell. If there is a sale section in the back of the store, with one of those circular racks, then tunnel your way through the clothes into the center of the rack and stay there for a while, and let the surrounding sale clothes act as filters to the outside world as you squeeze one or more out. Don't poot near mirrors, or you risk fogging them up. Never break wind near Windbreakers, the damage will be exponential.

You cannot ever fart inside of anything that can be referred to as a boutique, ever.

Finally, we move to the great outdoors. Now, you may be thinking that most outdoor locations would be open season locations for the flatulent. This is often true, so long as they are not overly crowded, and that there is a certain amount of movement. However, never forget that outdoor lineups, like those for rides at an amusement park, fall in the same category as those indoor lineups described above. The smell may linger for a lesser amount of time, but it will linger nonetheless. Another fun fact about the outdoors is that there is usually wind. The more wind there is, the less likely people are to notice when you break it. But, pay attention to the wind patterns, and be sure that no one is downwind at the time of the break. It is imperative that you remember to not squeakily deflate yourself near a barbecue or near a human smoker. It is a fire hazard. In a hot tub, pool, or sauna of any kind, mystery bubbles are prohibited.

The above rules and regulations pertain to public exposure, but sometimes even in the private sector, like your own home, you should apply some of the same general rules, specifically when you have random guest acquaintances over, especially when at the dinner table. Beware of your bottom’s proximity to guest faces, any food or open flames (like dinner candles or a fondue set). Pay attention to where you are sitting so that you don’t accidentally fart on someone’s sweatshirt or jacket. Finally, if you must retreat to the bathroom to let one rip, be sure that you run the faucet or perform a courtesy flush to hide any potential noise.

I suppose you could try holding it in, in any one of the described situations, but I’m pretty sure most doctors and scientists have proven that this is unhealthy and could cause permanent brain and intestinal damage, according to all sorts of journals that I’ve not read.

That’s it. Have fun, be careful, shop 'til you drop, and be sure to drop it like it’s hot.

The preceding text may contain some cheap and somewhat juvenile potty humour. Maybe this warning should have been at the beginning of the farticle. I apologize.

1 comment:

  1. Oh man that shopping story still get's me. :)