Tuesday, February 05, 2008

A Lot of Hot Air

I was recently alerted to a serious problem affecting Camden-Rockport Middle School in York County Maine. Apparently some eighth-grade boys heve been, shall we say, trumpeting out the back door. See the article at http://knox.villagesoup.com/rewrite/108448.htm.

According to the article, perpetrators of this gastronomical menace are being punished with detention and told to "keep it to yourself". Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe it's physically impossible to "keep it to yourself". Flatus is an involuntary bodily function. Well, maybe that's not completely true. I once had a roommate who could fart on command. I shit you not. (Har!) If you'd ask him to fart, he'd just rub his belly and air would be expelled from his backside, in the same way that rubbing a lamp would make a genie come out.

What the Camden-Rockport Middle School faculty are targeting here is not fluffing per se, but the noise that these rambunctious middle schoolers are making. You see, when they feel a "genie" making its way out, they deliberately tense up and cause a forceful expulsion, which results in a common occurrence known as the Bilabial Fricative. What the teachers want these 13-year-old kids to do is to learn how to be anal-retentive like the rest of us. Say what you want about being A-R, but it does prevent some problems. I mean, imagine a church sermon going like this:

Preacher:   "And the Lord said-"
Churchgoer: "Pffffffffppphphphpphp."

Fluffing quietly has other advantages too. For example, it makes the Blame Game much easier. You can't blame your gas on someone else when you sound like you just stepped on a duck, but silence provides plausible deniability because there is always lag time between launch and dispersal. By the time someone detects your air biscuit olfactorily, it has covered an area large enough to encompass several suspects, and all you need to do is point to one of them and gag.

The school's ordinance against noisy flatus could lead down a slippery slope. What other bodily functions will they regulate? I mean, will kids be forced to muffle their sneezes? I can imagine the lawsuits that will fly when their eyes pop out of their heads.

Will the school take their rule one step further and punish any act that could cause flatulence? Will children be given detention for ordering beans in the cafeteria?

I have a solution to this problem. Instead of forcing kids to "stifle their creativity", simply ask them to leave the room whenever they need to let out a bottom burp. This way they could practice their noisy art without bothering anyone, and as an added bonus the odor would be taken out of play. Of course, classrooms would need revolving doors installed. Those things would spin like ferry boat paddle wheels during Sloppy Joe week.