Remember in The Catcher in the Rye when Holden’s friend lets loose a tremendous fart in an assembly where the school’s headmaster is droning on and on…Remember how that kid became an instant hero? These are not those kinds of farts.
These are old-people farts which erupt without warning as you stoop to cuddle a grandchild, walk up the aisle at a favorite nieces’ wedding, enter a room filled with the smirking teenage children of some long lost relative who has tracked down the family online.
And although old-people farts are thankfully not that smelly, still, they leave us speechless, for what could we possibly say? And what can be done about them? Really? Is flatulence an inevitability of age?
I have some ideas about these questions. The first addresses the ego-dashing embarrassment that accompanies such events. On this account, I am cultivating the services of Mildred, an imaginary friend who’s been occasionally whispering whippy little comebacks in my ear for years. I never really had an imaginary friend as a child, I think I’m due.
Mildred is a fit elder woman, warm and charasmatic, a minimum-makeup beauty. She is partial to real Chanel cashmere and thrift shop bling. I imagine her at a meeting called by her grown children to talk, “Just talk, Mother,” about how she should leave her lovely spacious home of 37 years and move into a shoe box. She has just entered the room, dressed for action. She crosses in front of her children whose minds are made up and locked tight. This is where she farts.
Knowing looks bloom on the faces of her progeny. They are loving knowing looks; Mildred’s children love her. Still…..
What does Mildred do? Does she cringe, blush, attempt to ignore the obvious?
No, Mildred faces her children with the jaunty serenity of a Ted Talk presenter.
“What do you think…” Her smile contains the hint of a wink. “Did Socrates fart?”
She lets the wink fly…“How about George Washington? Mark Twain? Harriet Tubman? Jackie O?”
Mildred’s eyes delight in the implications of these questions. “Would you imagine that Mick Jagger farts? Warren Buffet? Ruth Bader Ginsburg? How about Clint Eastwood? Helen Mirren?
She smiles a magnanimous smile….“And will you fart?
Her smile turns encouraging…“Will each and every one of you fart…if…you are so blessed as to live long enough to produce these triumphant and largely odorless proclamations indicating the robust digestion of vigorous advanced years?”
The other thing I have to say about the fart situation is a remedy, of sorts, which I accidentally discovered. I was trying to jazz up my morning tea by grating a little fresh ginger into it. This proved so delicious, that I started chopping an inch or two of slender, tender young ginger root into tiny cubes. These sink to the bottom of my teapot, where they poach in hot chai tea laced with maple syrup. Thus the little ginger morsels turn into little ginger candies, delicious to chew throughout the day, refreshing to the breath. And, more importantly, most days that I do this, my fart rate drops to zero. No kidding. I Goggled all this, and, yes, ginger is great for digestion and a deterrent to flatulence. As I have stressed on this website, I am not a doctor, I only practice medicine as a hobby. However, this ginger business works for me, so, maybe it will work for you. I hope so. God Bless Us Everyone.
Originally posted 2016-04-30 08:00:08.