Monday, August 22, 2016

The Rules of Farting

The rules of farting are intrinsically understood by the majority of the population. However, it is possible that some individuals may be unfamiliar with the rules, and would benefit from them being spelled out in a written form. These rules of farting are designed to maximize optimal cordial interactions among human beings and may not be used in a court of law, except where permitted.

·        Article I.  You must not fart while other humans are present.
o   Section 1.01  Farting in front of animals is optional, and as they will generally feel free to fart themselves, you might add your own to the mix with reasonable assurance of continued pleasantness. However, before farting in front of your animal friends, be sure that all other humans have cleared the area and are out of range of both the smell and the sound of your potential farts.
o   Section 1.02  Farting in front of humans can have harsh socioeconomic consequences. It is recommended that you avoid doing so if possible. However, not all farting situations are equal. Severity of offenses can range from the most egregious (farting in a crowded elevator) to farting outdoors (somewhat unseemly, but as the ambient breeze will carry away the worst of your output, this is not nearly so serious as a fart indoors).
o   Section 1.03  Silent farts exist in a notable loophole. If you are able to pass your fart without any notable sound, then you only need concern yourself about the smell. This may be solved in one of several ways: you may eat only vegetarian meals, which tends to decrease the offensiveness of the smell of your farts, or you may blame your fart upon another person, dog, or ghost which is present in the room.
o   Section 1.04  Farting in front of other humans may be permissible in certain situations, although such situations are rare.
§  (a)  When all  humans in a group have agreed to abide by an open fart policy, all members of said group may fart freely while this agreement is in effect. However, if any member of the group dissents, the other members of the group must refrain from farting until that member has left, or until that member has changed his or her mind about farting and is now willing to participate in a free-fart zone.
§  (b)  Farting on another human being is hardly ever tolerated, and must be approached with a mixture of caution and self-preservation. If you desire to fart upon another human, you must obtain his or her consent in advance, preferably in writing, preferably notarized. If a notarized signature cannot be obtained in time, you may obtain verbal confirmation from the fartee that you wish to fart upon him or her. However, a fartee may revoke said permission at any time, and farters must note that permission is granted on a one-time basis. Any future farts must obtain separate approval. Just because a person has consented to be farted upon in one instance does not mean that they consent to all future fart-upons.
·        Article II.  Bathrooms are automatic free-fart zones.
o   Section 2.01  Once you have entered a bathroom, you may fart at will. (To fart upon Will, please refer to Article I, Section 1.04(b).)
o   Section 2.02  All farts must be held until you are inside a stall with the stall door closed and locked (if in a multi-stall bathroom), or until you are inside a single-occupant bathroom with the door completely shut. Farting prematurely in these situations will invite ridicule and disgust, as they will have violated Article I of the rules of farting.
·        Article III.  Pooping while farting must be avoided.
o   Section 3.01  Farting may occasionally be accompanied by feces, particularly when the stools are loose, such as when an individual is experiencing abdominal cramps and/or has recently eaten a large quantity of cheese. This is undesirable.
o   Section 3.02  In order to avoid soiling yourself during farting, be sure to time your farts properly. Wait until the bubble of gas has arrived at the opening at the end of your bowel. Push the bubble of gas out gently, applying only slight pressure. If you can feel any solid material exiting your bowel, stop the fart immediately and refrain from farting until you are on a toilet. At that point, you may proceed to fart again, regardless of whether or not stool is present.
o   Section 3.03  If you have unexpectedly farted and pooped at the same time, you have committed a grave social error. But all is not lost. If you are prepared, you will have brought a large towel and/or ugly sweater with you (hereafter referred to as a fartpoop concealer). Wrap your fartpoop concealer securely around your waist, being sure to cover any parts of your anatomy and/or clothing upon which you have fartpooped. Make your way to a bathroom to assess the problem. If the fartpoop is on any portion of your clothing, return home immediately if possible. If you cannot return home quickly, continue to wear your fartpoop concealer until such a time as you can change your clothing.
·        Article IV.  Fart from the correct position.
o   Section 4.01  Finding the correct position for farting may range in difficulty, depending on the strain index of farts that you must expel.
o   Section 4.02  Farting may easily be done from many positions. People have been known to fart while sitting, standing, and even swimming. However, not all farts will emerge easily. If you find yourself having trouble expelling a fart, you are not alone. Many people have trouble farting. The following fart positions may aid the pushing out of your farts.
§  (a) First, be sure you are relaxed. Farting while tense makes farting difficult and increases the likelihood of fartpooping.
§  (b) Lie down on a flat surface like a mattress. Turn so that you are lying on your right side. Remain in this position for at least fifteen minutes. You may find that your fart has worked its way out of your system.
§  (c) If lying still has not helped you get your fart out, turn again so that you are on your back. Slowly raise your left leg so that your thigh is perpendicular to your torso, and your lower leg and foot are still pointed in the same direction as your right leg. Gently apply pressure to your bowel to see if your fart will emerge.
§  (d) If your fart still will not come out, turn again so that you are face down on the mattress. With your face turned to the side (you may rest your face upon a pillow if you wish) keep your head down and your knees on the mattress while you raise your rear end into the air. This final position has been known to rid the body of some of the most obstinate of farts.
o   Section 4.03  Yoga positions were originally designed with farting in mind. In fact, the term ‘yoga’ is derived from the sound of a great group of individuals farting in unison. Farting during yoga classes is a common practice. However, before farting during yoga, be sure to inform your instructor of your intention to fart, and find out if the studio is a free-fart zone. If your yoga instructor has a free-fart zone inclusion form, fill it out before farting to be sure all farts are legally covered.

We sincerely hope that this guide to farting has been helpful. If you have any questions about farting, or are looking for forms to use for free-fart zones or other farting situations, please refer to the bibliography below.

Hawthorne, E. J. (2012). Farting and you : a solid analysis of a nebulous activity. Journal of Flatulence, 45(3), 72-103.

Peters, H. Q. (2009). The storied history of flatulence : a comprehensive study. Bloats and Boats, 12(10), 15-25.

Rogers, B. T. (1998). The joy of farting : Breaking wind has never been so easy. Milwaukee, MN: Spider & Barkers.

Stegner, P. W. (2015). Was Alexander the Great gassy? : A human look at a legendary figure. New York, NY: Dogsfolt & Sons.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

On Lives and Ships and Sealing-wax

Today, I sang a song with primary children about following God's plan for me. It was only in the final minute of singing time that I realized how much the song was pertinent to me. Right now.

You see, I'm starting a new job soon. I'm leaving the last remnants of my Utah County family and heading south to work in a library. It's not terribly far away, but far enough that a casual dinner visit is out of the question. I remember moving to Boston about seven years ago, and how I felt during the plane ride into the city. I wondered what on earth I had done. How could I possibly start out a new life by myself? What the heck had I been thinking?

Thanks to good roommates and a very fulfilling couple of years of school, Boston turned out to be a good experience for me.

And now, here I am. Leaving family again to set out on my own.

I've wondered if I made the right decision accepting this job. If I simply wanted to go because I've been kind of unhappy at my current job and was just desperate to leave.

And then this song today.

I brought along my patriarchal blessing to primary today as a kind of visual aid for talking about what the song meant. Now, my patriarchal blessing and I have had a bit of a bumpy relationship. Some things it talks about happening, things I've desperately wanted to happen, have not occurred. And so I've avoided reading it, to keep from reminding myself of the unfulfilled promises.

But talking with the children today about it, I felt an affirmation that my life, even if it isn't one that I would necessarily have chosen, is not a waste.

I think sometimes we get caught up in the details of our lives. Our days are occupied with the rough things that happen at work, or the person that cuts us off in traffic, or feeding the dog, or cleaning up after the kids, or wondering if you can get through one more episode of that show before you have to go to bed. And I sometimes think that this is all there is.

But I remembered today that our lives, each of them, do have a purpose. That the sum of our experiences matters. That even the humdrum details, the teeth brushing and nail biting and doodling, as well as the moments when we utterly connect with someone, or have a great phone call with our siblings, or give a wonderful talk, or hear a child say, "I love you," are all part of it, that each experience matters, that we are becoming something great and grand and glorious.

I don't know if the choices I've made have made my life the best of all possible lives I could have lived. (I rather strongly suspect the opposite.) But I think even when I mess up, when I make mistakes about where to live and what job to have and who to love, that it never, never, never is a waste. And that of my silly, erroneous, ephemeral life, God can make something grand. He can give it purpose.

And that is a great gift indeed.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Presently Resolving for the Future

I'm not really one for setting goals. Even something as simple as 'brush your hair at least once a day' is destined to be followed for exactly 27 hours, after which I will brush my hair whenever I darn well please, thankyouverymuch.

I have this theory.

You see, we set goals in the present, expecting our future selves to be as on board with them as our present selves are. But, our future selves, when faced with the actual reality of having to do the thing present (but now past) self set a goal to do, future self (but now present) balks and decides that it's a much better idea to spend the afternoon plucking eyebrows and watching Star Trek: The Next Generation on Netflix and wondering where on earth all the cheesecake has gotten to. And the goal to volunteer at the doggie shelter gets swept aside. Until, of course, a future self which becomes a present self sets another goal for the future future self. And the cycle continues.

Past selves and present selves and future selves are not really the same people. Not exactly. And it's really always present self we have to live with.

My present self is kinda lazy. She likes sleeping and bumming around on the internet and playing video games. She does not like exercise, nor giving up her time for worthy causes, nor trying to reinvent her self.

So this year, I resolve to read books. As many as I feel like reading at the time. I also resolve to smile at my parents. And I resolve, most of all, to make snide remarks to future Beth about past Beth's atrocious spending habits.

Because seriously, did she think that dolphin necklace was actually fashionable?

Sunday, December 02, 2012

On Beauty and Worth

This is a post I've thought about for many months. Actually, for well over a year, really. I think it may even be one of the reasons why it's taken me so long to write something on this blog. I've been mulling it over in my head, trying to figure out exactly what I feel about this, and how I can best articulate those feelings.

Let me start with an experience I had a bit over a year ago.

Women in our area of Utah County were asked last year to provide a choir for the General Relief Society Broadcast in September. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. For one thing, I got to sing with my sister (of whom I could write the most superlative things, and they would all be true), who also lives in this area. For another, the director of the choir was a woman who was possibly one of the most engaging personalities I've come in contact with. She managed to make every member of the choir feel as though best-friendship were an absolute possibility, if only there were enough time to spend with everyone individually. She was funny and wry and really, really loved us. Or, at least, loved us inasmuch as it was possible to love a room full of people that you didn't really know, but sort of knew because you were all Mormons involved in a really cool musical experience together.

Yep. It was awesome.

There was one event that troubled me though, just a bit. And it wasn't so much that I was troubled about the motivations of our director, more just what it told me about what we believe as a society in general.

Towards the end of our rehearsals, we were, naturally, doing pretty well, but still nervous that we would get up to the Conference Center and forget our notes, come in at the wrong time, or scratch our noses just right when the camera zoomed in on our faces. So, our director gave us a pep talk. It was, like her, funny and spiritually uplifting, and heartfelt and touching.

And she, like many people who are trying to help women to feel better, said to us something like, "You are all beautiful. You are all beautiful daughters of your Heavenly Father." (And you'll forgive me if my memory sort of...doesn't remember the exact wording. But that was the gist of it.)

Many women around me cried, and smiled through their tears, and I...felt troubled.

I so appreciated her effort to make us feel good about ourselves. I could feel that she did love us, and I felt that she was, really, connected to divine love, hooked into it and transmitting real charity. (Which is the only way you can, in my opinion, feel a deep and genuine love for a bunch of people to whom you have never actually spoken one-on-one.) I believe she expressed that love in a way that she felt would make us feel good. And I think it did work for most people.

But here is what troubled me: why should we need to feel beautiful in order to feel loved? Why does being acknowledged as attractive (and, really, isn't that what 'beauty' means?) make us feel valuable and valued?

I'm reminded of the many times (and I actually haven't heard it a lot in my current ward, which is kind of awesome, I think) when I've heard men get up during fast & testimony meeting and, during the course of their testimony, express their gratitude for their beautiful wives.

It's great, and we all feel good, and I'm sure the wives are aglow with the warmth of their husbands' regard, but...

But wouldn't it seem kind of strange if a woman got up to bear her testimony and said, during the course of it, "I'm so grateful for my handsome husband," or if women were instructed in the General Relief Society broadcast to be sure to tell their husbands that they are handsome? Because every man needs to be told that?

Not that I'm actually trying to argue from a feminism angle (although that wouldn't be a bad thing, just not the angle I'm choosing at the moment). It's more that I feel uncomfortable with this idea that feeling beautiful equates with feeling worthwhile.

There have been times when I've expressed to friends or family members that I don't really feel particularly beautiful. And, truth be told, I'm really not. I'm overweight, I have an oddly upturned nose (with pores the size of potholes), and my lips are kinda pale and weird (and let's not even talk about my ankles). These friends and family members have reassured me that no, I really am beautiful, and it's not external beauty that is important, it's inner beauty, right? And I do appreciate what they say, and the love with which it is offered.

And I believe what they say for a half hour, or maybe less. But, then, the belief fades, and I recognize the reality that I'm really not beautiful. Not that way.

Because guys, not everyone is beautiful. And I feel like that should be okay. A woman who has scars from years of horrible acne may not be considered all that beautiful. A man who's been burned, or is missing an arm, or teeth, may not be considered attractive.

(And I feel tremendously guilty having written the above examples, as though I'm denigrating the worth of these individuals, when in reality, I'm trying to free them from feeling as though they need to be beautiful in order to be loved. Or maybe, I'm trying to free myself.)

'But wait,' you may say. 'These people are beautiful on the inside. They're still beautiful. Everyone can be beautiful.'

That is very true. But I wish we wouldn't use the language of physical attractiveness to describe the goodness of a spirit.

Beauty draws us in. It is engaging. There's a reason why we call beautiful people 'attractive.' They pull us to them; we want to be near them. And I think it's wonderful if people are beautiful. It's fun to watch beautiful people on TV and in movies. It's fun when folks get dolled up and look all lovely for a dance or a date or a night on the town. I don't want to suggest that beauty is bad. I don't even want to suggest that men and women stop telling each other they think they're good looking.

I just want it not to be connected to our sense of worth. I want women to say, when they are reassuring other women, "You are all good and kind and worthwhile daughters of our Heavenly Father." I want men (and similarly women!) to stand up and express thanks for their spouses with phrases like, "I'm so grateful for my loving wife, for her dedication to the gospel, for her service."

And I'm trying to do my part, too.

But most of all, when I don't feel particularly beautiful, when I feel like the ugly duckling who grew up to be an ugly duck, I want to still feel of value. And worthy to be loved.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Conversational Angst

I always feel uncomfortable when I'm with a group of people and the conversation turns to dieting or exercise regimens, and how much everybody wishes they could lose those last two or three pounds.

I sort of feel like adding to the conversation with my own personal experiences. Things like, "Did you know that, if humans were like amoebas, I'd probably already have divided into two people by now? Maybe three if they were particularly svelte?"

Or, "Yes. My darn gravity well just keeps getting deeper and deeper. I think if I have any more of this chocolate cake, I'll probably become a black hole."

Or, "Hey, do you see this softball rotating around my middle? It's a small moon I acquired just last week. It's the latest in plus-size accessories."

But instead I sit there, looking like a human beanbag chair, nodding sympathetically as people talk about elliptical machines and only being able to muscle down two bites of the incredibly sweet dessert that I've already had two servings of. As if I know what they're talking about. As if we're even from the same universe.

My back aches all the time, my ankle twists with great regularity, and I will probably die of a heart attack at age 39. Now. Can we please talk about something else? Books, I hear, are very nice conversational topics this time of year.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Does it count if I just draw a picture?

Hi. So, I'm back. Sort of.

Truth be told, I'm not sure if I'll ever start blogging in the long form again. I might, though. I might at that...

But regardless of the future of this particular blog, I thought I'd direct you all to a brand new enterprise (of sorts) I'm starting up. It's a chronicle of the many adventures of Chobee and his friend Harry (the horse).

For now (until I figure out how to do all of this better), you'll need to click on the picture itself to get a larger (and readable) version.

This is something I'm doing occasionally in the evening when I have some spare time, and am sitting in front of the TV with nothing else to do. In short, I don't have any kind of an update schedule right now. This may change if I get more dedicated and all that.

Which, given the sorry state of this blog, would be somewhat...uncharacteristic of me.


Friday, February 05, 2010

Finding Old Stuff You Love > Buying New Stuff

With all of this being jobless and sort of trying to get myself to be productive but mostly failing at it, all the while watching my bank account dwindle to approximately $0.03, I have pretty much put a moratorium on the purchasing of goods. (Aside from the DS, that is, which I got with my Christmas/babysitting money and which, along with providing a great deal of entertainment, has also made it even more difficult to lift myself into the realm of productivity.)

I kind of miss the thrill of purchasing. You know, that little rush you get after you go into a store stuffed full of things that you might need but mostly want and you find that one thing that you've never seen before but you're absolutely convinced you'd love and you pick it up and carry it to the cashier and hand over your cash or card and get the item in exchange. Then you feel that little thrill of ownership, that sense that, no matter what the world takes from you, it can't take away this...ceramic unicorn, or Star Wars coloring book, or digital camera case. Because it's yours. Forever. Or at least until you break/lose it while moving to Minnesota.

But I digress.

It feels pretty great. For about an afternoon. And it usually feels better when the purchase is relatively small and you don't have the sense that you've just spent about 100 hours of your working life on something you kind of didn't want anyway.

Sadly, I have had to live without that new-ownership feeling for what seems like a long time. Unless, of course, you count the purchase of prescription medication, a cup of hot chocolate (paid for entirely with coins) at a local Barnes & Noble, or that secret stash of peanut butter M&Ms I bought on the sly.

But I've discovered something better, something that makes my acquisitional nature flutter with happiness. I've found that rediscovering old treasures is even better than getting new ones.

Because I've had most of my things packed away in boxes for almost eight months, many of my possessions are currently tucked away inside cardboard, all but inaccessible in their stacks in the corners of my parents' basement (inaccessible unless you have scissors, of course, and a sense of adventure and determination and a strong defiance against the fear of dust). The other day, though, I found that I needed some article that was still unpacked, and I hadn't made note of which box contained it. So, I found myself crouched in a storage room, lit by a single naked bulb, hovering over boxes with my tiny craft scissors shimmering in the half-light. Oh, it was an epic experience.

I sliced into the boxes and dragged forth their contents into the light, and as I did so, I began to recognize things. There was that geode with the pewter dragon glued inside! And my jewelry box, full of tacky, sentimental things that I hardly dared wear but loved to look at. And the bookends with ships on them, and the Chinese dragon I bought in New York, and the tapestry pillows and my gloves and the stuffed bean-frog with the little crown on its head. And. Well, in fact pretty much all of it was tacky. But I loved it.

And I got that fluttery, just-having-bought-something-great feeling. That sense of fond ownership, of familiarity, of things that reminded me not only of people I loved, but of myself as I was a year ago, or a decade.

And you know what? I wouldn't trade it. Not even for a nice, new bag of peanut butter M&Ms.