First Line Friday — The Funeral

530B9F2C-2B28-46F1-A265-5AE69916356FThe funeral went by in a waltz of shiny cars, black suits, and choreographed tears. The procession reached the cemetery and pulled forward to the burial location. As people got out of their cars and made their way to the gravesite, the family members and closest friends took the seats while the rest of those in attendance formed a large oval around the plot.

Hank, a friend of a friend of the daughter of the deceased, was standing in the row of people farthest from the grave. Without warning, he let out a long, loud, juicy fart. Everyone in the crowd, including the pastor in the middle of his sermon, turned to see who it was who do rudely disrupted the service. Once those standing near Hank got a whiff of his flatulence, they moved away from him, leaving him standing by himself, all eyes glaring at him.

Using every communication skill he possessed, Hank said, “Please accept my apology for disrupting this funeral service, but the sudden death my friend’s father has so traumatized me that I was experiencing a mosaic of emotions and I momentarily lost control of my bodily functions. I hope all of you will find it feasible to forgive me my trespasses and return your attention to paying homage to the deceased and his family.”

A mass rolling of eyes, clicking tongues, and a collective sigh preceded the resumption of the funeral service as Hank slowly slunk away from the cemetery.

Written for the First Line Friday prompt from Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie, where the first line is, “The funeral went by in a waltz of shiny cars, black suits, and choreographed tears.” Also for these one-word prompts: Your Daily Word Prompt (farthest), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (disrupt), Word of the Day Challenge (whiff), Ragtag Daily Prompt (skull), Scotts Daily Prompt (mosaic), and Daily Addictions (feasible).

To Fart or Not to Fart

farting in a planeNow that I’m retired, I don’t fly as much as I used to when I was still gainfully employed. In fact, I haven’t sat my butt down in a plane since I retired. And I don’t miss it. Not one bit.

When I did have to sit my butt down in a plane, especially when the plane was full, some passenger would inevitably pass gas. Yes, they’d let one fly, so to speak. You rarely heard the fart, but you could definitely smell them as the aroma wafted toward you.

Unfortunately, it was hard to tell which passenger did the deed. I didn’t want anyone to think I was the culprit, so I’d crunch up my face and look around, giving a clear indication to anyone who happened to look my way that I was the victim, not the perpetrator.

But I remember when, a few years back, some significant news came out of a 3,000-word essay by five researchers from Denmark and Britain that was published in the New Zealand Medical Journal. Danish gastroenterologist Jacob Rosenberg, after experiencing the malodorous problem of flatulence firsthand on a flight from Copenhagen to Tokyo, enlisted some of the finest minds in his field to address the issue of farting at 35,000 feet.

It turns out that high altitude air pressure changes in airplanes cause more gas to brew in the belly. Most people — but not all, I can assure you from personal experience — do try to stifle their farts due to the stigma of potentially cutting a stinky one while in such close proximity to other passengers.

But the researchers suggested that holding back one’s gassy emissions has significant drawbacks, such as discomfort and even pain, bloating, indigestion, and heartburn. “Moreover,” wrote one researcher, “problems resulting from the required concentration to maintain such control may even result in subsequent stress symptoms.”

farting-in-airplanes-250x250So fliers, as the researchers noted, “There is actually only one reasonable solution: just let it go.”

The study recommended that airlines start using charcoal to deal with the smell of passengers’ mid-flight gas releases. The authors proposed that active charcoal be embedded into the seat cushions, since charcoal is able to neutralize odors.

Can’t you see it coming? The airlines will now start charging extra if you want to purchase a ticket for a fresh-smelling, charcoal-infused seat.

This post was written in response to today’s one-word prompt: passenger.