Monday, April 18, 2005

How do you spell a fart?

My parents were, by and large, pretty good parents. They gave me a lot of freedom ( provided I never broke the rules), read me lots of bedtime stories, helped me with my homework, and made me eat my veggies and drink all my milk. That was the problem -- they made me drink all my milk. I wasn't allowed to leave the table until the glass was empty, and at lunch in school it was either drink milk or go thirsty (neither pop nor water was available). We did have variety, though. Whole or 2%.

I was teased mercilessly at school, teased for everything. Teased because I was tall, fat, bad at running, good at drawing, lousy at kickball, great at pushing people on the swings, teachers' pet, the daughter of a politician, the daughter of a nobody, the neice of a nun, the sister of a nerd, where I parted my hair (I'm not joking about that), what clothes I wore (we had uniforms, so that took some creativity), the fullness of my lips, and every time I farted. That last one happened a lot. I remember every one of my grade school teachers at some point having to give a lecture to the class on how everybody farts so there's no point in making fun, 'cause we all do it every one of us.

I assumed that this was true. I always believed my teachers (except when it came to religion class), so I dismissed my flatulence as just another contrived excuse to riducle me like all the others. (Andre' Wajtusek called me "snowblower lips" in kindergarten. It took me years to get over that one. Now I wear the title with pride, and Andre' Wajtusek will never have the joy of knowing why.) I had no idea I really did fart more than anyone else on earth.

There's a reason my dad's nickname for me was once Fartblossom. In retrospect, it's kinda cute. At the time, well, mere words really can't do justice to the depth of my mortification. (That I can reaveal this at all is a powerful testimony to what a well-adjusted adult I've become. *snort*) Turns out, I was lactose intolerant. I can't digest dairy products. So as a child when I had a bowl of cereal and milk for breakfast, I spend the morning farting. Then I'd eat a cheese sandwich and drink a carton of milk for lunch. And spend the afternoon farting. Then my parents, ah, my parents. They made me drink all my milk at dinner, and I'd spend the evening farting. Bath, bedtime story, nighty-night, wash rinse repeat every day for 12 years. No wonder the kids made fun of me. And believe you me, you can't conceal a thing sitting on a flat wooden chair with metal legs. Those chairs were sounding boards for tushie trumpets. It was like spending my entire youth sitting an fucking amplifier!

Here's the kicker: my parents knew.

When I was an infant, I cried constantly. The doctors declared it collic. I cried and cried and cried and cried and cried. When I wasn't crying I was usually either screaming or wailing. (It's not a coincidence that the folks didn't have any more kids after me.) The doctors said it would clear up. When I was 6 months old it hadn't cleared up and neither I nor my parents slept more than 2 hours at a stretch that entire duration. I had never slept through the night. My mom, who was prone to postpartum depression anyway, was becoming suicidal. She went to every doctor in town, and they all said the same thing: something she was eating and passing to me through her breast milk was upsetting my stomach. But they all told her a different something. At first she gave up chocolate, caffeine, and spicey food. Then beef. Then cabbage and broccoli. After 2 months she was down to white rice, boiled chicken, and milk. Lots and lots of milk. Still I cried. As a last resort she went to La Leche League, an organization dedicated to promoting breastfeeding and helping mothers with difficulty nursing. "Good god!" they declared. "Your problem is simple. Those idiot doctors don't know what they're doing. How many babies have they nursed (all the doctors were men)? The kid's lactose intolerant. You can eat whatever you want. Just stop drinking all that milk!" That night, the crying stopped. My poor, exhausted, emotionally drained mother was convinced I had died in my crib. She wouldn't come into my room. She called my father home from work to check on me in the crib, so sure she was that I was another victim of SIDS. I'm writing this, so I guess I'm not dead.

So they knew I was lactose intolerant, they made me drink tons of milk as a child, and then they teased me for farting a lot! I still eat tons of dairy, but now I control the problem (which is really rather common) by popping a few tablets of lactase enzyme before I hit the ice cream. This helps me avoid embarassing situations like the one I had my freshman year of college.

I had just met this really cute (well, I thought so), smart (he thought so), tall, clarinet-playing dork. We were really hitting it off. I thought he was the perfect nerd. Neither of us had ever had a boy/girlfriend. Neither of us had ever kissed. (You'll note that I was 18 years old and in college and I was still anticipating my first kiss. I don't know what's sadder, that, or the fact that I havn't been kissed since I broke up with Kevin, and that was 7 years ago.) We were walking after dinner one evening. It was a lovely, late summer evening with cicadas and lightening bugs and crickets and one or two stars in the sky. We sat on a stone wall in the arboretum and watched the sun set over the pond. (I'll give you an image: The Little Mermaid "Kiss the Girl" musical number. Yep, that was that night.) We were sitting holding hands, gazing into each other's eyes, leaning in slowly for the big moment, and...


I felt it coming and there was nothing I could do to stop it. Thank god we were outside and there was a breeze, so he couldn't smell it, too. Can I ruin a moment, or what? In Kevin's defense (he was basically a self-absorbed prick, but I'll grant him this much) he was really good about it. He gave me a dismissive, patronizing lecture about how everyone farts which bore a striking resemblance to my primary school teachers' lectures, and then we went back to his room and made out.

As I said earlier, my parents were basically good parents, but they've got a few things to answer for. I'm back being single again. I've got a few redeeming qualities (long legs, handy with a paintbrush) and I'm virutally flatulence free. So if you're looking for a woman whose most importants assets are tall, all tatoos spelled correctly, and doesn't fart too much, I'm your gal.

Snowblower Lips

p.s. Will somebody please tell me what the fuck is wrong with the font size function. It won't go back to normal! Gah!


ZB said...

Didn't know you had tattoos farty pants.

Chaucer's Bitch said...

You didn't ask, musclehead.