I grew up with two brothers in rural upstate New York, so I get that the opposite sex often considers their bodies to be toys or musical instruments to be played. Apparently, male infatuation with flatulation is genetic. My young son, Tyler, is a candidate for first chair in the Mt. Baker Youth Symphony’s horn section, and yet I debarked his father, my ex-husband, years ago before Tyler was born. How is that possible? Where am I going wrong? Tyler learned the difference between his inside and outside voice by age 3. The parallel teachable moment should be obvious, shouldn’t it? Help me, someone, anyone.
As a mother, I don’t want to be a complete killjoy — there is a time and place for experimentation, for pushing the limits. Mankind will survive. So, by all means, son, have fun — burp the ABCs. Or better yet, strain to hit whatever decibel levels that you can safely hit without having to excuse yourself. But three notes do not a symphony make. For the sake of all womankind, you need to learn to keep it to yourself, or at least within your gender. Once you reach age 10, your body is no longer a science experiment.
There, my public service announcement is done.
Now, if I may, I want to address a more important bodily function or behavior that is seldom discussed in polite or mixed company. No, I am not talking about the public restroom “hover” that women perfected to avoid sitting on the seat while shopping in the mall. That secret was out when malls had to repeatedly replace the handicap bars/handles in women’s restrooms from overuse.
No, I am talking about a serious universal life mystery that applies to both sexes — the invisible, odorless, silent, but often deadly, brain fart. Stop laughing; admit it. The phenomenon happens to all us without warning and seldom is detected, if ever, until after the damage is done. No one is immune. When it happens, we need not be ashamed. Busy lives, motherhood, and aging has inevitable consequences.
But Big Pharma, I’ll say it straight up. If brain farts can’t be cured, then at the very least we need a post-brain fart warning system notifying us that a brain fart just occurred. The humanitarian need is obvious and urgent. Please, please, please redirect at least a portion of your R & D budget to this worthy cause. You gave us wonder drugs to alleviate headaches, colds, the flu, menstrual cycles, and hemorrhoids. Why not take on a real challenge? World peace can wait.
I would suggest the warning system be a bad smell, but the entire male gender would be confused and Lynden’s dairy farmers would be constantly second-guessing their day. A loud sound wouldn’t work, either, for precisely the same reasons. The risk of confusion is just too great. Males can hit any note imaginable to the point where we women are tone deaf. No, we need something unique, something distinctive.
I think the warning needs, instead, to be visual, like a cloud around the brain-farter, and colored, perhaps purple, to warn the brain farter and the surrounding brain fartees that an unknown danger is lurking. In an ideal world, the severity of the brain fart would be reflected by different shades of purple — the worst being magenta. Then, we could prioritize. Lavender or periwinkle would signify, for instance, less consequential brain farts, like I left the oven on after preparing dinner, or for males, the lid was left up. But a magenta brain fart, on the other hand, is potentially life-threatening, such as forgetting to tell your husband that your mother is coming to dinner, or forgetting to pay the mortgage. Any of these shades would allow me, and others, to instantly recognize that a brain fart occurred, how severe it was, and then we can reverse-engineer our day to figure out when and where it happened — kind of like a modern version of Find Waldo.
Big Pharma, you would be rich beyond your dreams. Just think about the potential benefits to mankind. Men would remember their wives’ birthday or their wedding anniversary within hours, and certainly days, of a magenta episode. Or when out drinking with their buddies, an eggplant-colored mushroom cloud would, in theory, remind them to phone their wives. Improbably perhaps, but the possibilities are endless. I say “dream big.”
And just think, the opposite would be true, too. The lack of any shade of purple could be a diagnostic tool, a virtual lie-detector test. If my son or daughter comes home from school and says, “Ah, Mom, I forgot to bring my homework home,” there damn well better be a mauve cloud close by.
So, go for it, Big Pharma. My $50 check to your R & D fund is in the mail. Well, maybe. The envelope is certainly gone.