We did not fart. Nope. Never happened. Not in the house I was raised. Well, maybe I should elucidate that statement. Over the years there was definitely our fair share of odiferous gas blowing out our butts. Especially on nights Mom boiled up a couple of pots of store-label guess-a-meat hot dogs and Heinz Brand bland baked beans. And it is true that Dad, in his usual Fruit Of The Loom white t-shirt and boxers after a hard day’s work half-napping in his faux leather recliner, could peel Mom’s decorative mirror tiles off their bedroom wall with his fog-horn volumed flatulence. But we did not fart.
Well, ok, we farted per se’, but absolutely never ever used the term ‘fart’… ever! Mom would never allow such a vulgar word to be said by one of HER children in HER house. I once got slapped for saying ‘crap’, imagine what would have happened if I uttered ‘fart’. It’s not that we were prim and proper; we definitely were not a pinkies up prude brood. Mom just had some distinct rules of propriety that based on how bad we broke, we either got the dreaded silent raised single eyebrow, the count to three or at worst the dreaded slipper swat to the butt.
So no, we did not fart. We had ‘boomsies’. Yes, ‘boomsies’. That’s right, we had no cutting the cheese, roaring the rear, backdoor sneezes, barking spiders, fragrant foofs, floating the air biscuit, butt bazookas, air bagels, anal ahems, heinous anuses, butt volcanos, popping fluffys, blasting the butt tuba, Vladimir Pootins, bench warmers, boom-booms, booty belches, brown clouds, cheek flappers, duck calls, hum-erroids, methane mating calls, one gun salutes, poop poofs, rectal raspberries, rump rippers, skunk baits, sphincter songs, duck squeezers, tail winds, toot toots, trouser trumpets, ringos, under thunders, anal acoustics, breakin winds, booty bombs, colon bowlin, cornhole tremors, fanny frogs, fecal fumers, pop tarts, stale wind-a comin, stinky steamers, taint ticklers, whoopee whippers, buttock bassoons, dutch oven delights, fumigatory essences, the nether belch, prison breaks, whootzies or the state of the union address. And without a doubt, no farts.
Nope. In our house, we only had ‘boomsies’. Mom was smart. With four boys, boomsie was a positively embarrassing word to say. The usual giggly ‘fart’ talk and jokes didn’t happen thanks to ‘boomsies’. I’m still embarrassed to say it. Could there be a less manly word for gas?
It was not until I was out from under Mom’s wing on the mean streets hanging with the tuffs and rumblers down in the kindergarten and 1st-grade classroom where I first got an earful of potty humor.
On my first day of school, little Lynn Weisman got stuck in the toilet seat. Squeaky cries of help came from within the small classroom’s adjacent restroom. The teacher rushed over and pushed open the door for all to briefly see tiny Lynn wailing away from her wedged perch, half on and half in the bowl.
I’m not sure if poor little Lynn still carries the scars of anguish and embarrassment from that day. Doomed to a life in the dimly lit alleys of society hearing the constant echoes of children’s gut-busting laughter bouncing around her head every time she goes to the bathroom. But for the other 5 year-olds in that class, it served as a conversation starter for an education in bathroom humor.
What were these potty terms all the other kids were using? In my house we made sissys, doody and the occasional aforementioned boomsie. I did not know I was expected to learn a confusing new numeral system the first day of school. The pressure was enormous. What if I raised one finger if I really had to make a two? And all the other far more descriptive fun words to say. Words that if said out loud almost always garnered a laugh, at least from the boys in the class.
There was a whole world I did not know about. How could I go back into my house and abide by our goofy bathroom word rules. It was just after the Summer Of Love in 1968 when I started school. The year of anti-establishment protests, student uprisings and young people demanding freedom. Freedom to say pee and poop instead of sissy and doody. And most importantly, the freedom to never have to boomsie again!
Yeah, it did not work out that way. The thought of breaking Mom’s rules still seemed scary to five-year-old Dan. Not liking the taste of Ivory soap, I stuck by her rules of the house. I might have been pretty damn obnoxious and whiney pushing her patience to limits but I was smart enough not to break her laws of language… when I was home. And except for Dad in his easy chair, the rest of us really tried not to fart in front of each other.
As soon as I moved out for college, I made my last boomsie. In my adult life, as my name transitioned from Danny to Dan, so did boomsie to absolutely one of any of the other above listed fart synonyms. Sure, hanging with the guys, I can let one rip with the best of them but in normal public situations, I try to be somewhat proper. Hell, I try to never fart in front of my Wife. I want to continue making love to her and my odds of that go down as my disgustingness level rises.
As I have gotten older, fart-wise, I have had to be more careful about what I eat. A bowl of Post Raisin Brand was my absolute favorite breakfast for years but I do not eat it anymore because raisins now give me dramatic, frequent olfactory-assaulting gas. It seems about every five years I forget about that problem and I excitedly buy a new box only to re-learn a very ugly lesson.
A half-dozen Beano pills won’t prevent next-day ugliness if I have too big a serving of those yummy Bush Baked Beans either (where were those when Mom was dishing out those tasteless vegetarian Heinz beans). Luckily, I am okay with the typical veggie offenders like asparagus, broccoli, and Brussel sprouts.
Sometimes there are issues though. A couple of years ago I was waiting at the airport before taking an 11-hour flight. When my hopes for an upgrade to business class collapsed, I decided to pick up a snack to nibble on the flight rather than relying on the sometimes scary coach food for my only meal of the day. I poked around the terminal stores when a big bag trail mix caught my eye. I had not had that stuff for years. It looked yummy, filling, didn’t have to be refidgerated and, for an airport, reasonably priced.
I dug into my seat, caught up on a few semi-popular movies and munched my way across the Atlantic getting through almost the entire bag of amazingly delicious trail mix. I kept thinking why don’t I eat this more often. Then about two hours before landing I got delivered my first reminder why.
Yeah, I again forgot about the raisin thing and I ate a lot of them. I hate to admit it but I was THAT guy on the last leg of the flight. Even calling it a ‘boomsie’ would not soften the stink I inflicted on my unsuspecting fellow passengers. I’m not sure Europe has forgiven me for the abhorrent aromatic assault I delivered to the continent.
After landing I was still feeling bad, releasing my bodily chemical weapons. I tried to stay far from other people as I used multiple forms of public transportation to get to my hotel. Feeling an embarrassed shame after getting off a bus, I hunkered away from others waiting for a city tram. Away from the crowd I noticed a frail thin woman standing in the darkness down a nearby alley almost half smiling at me. I wondered to myself, she looked vaguely familier. Could it be Lynn Weisman, enjoying a long awaited dose of karma.