Saturday, February 09, 2008



Stanley Crawford, A Garlic Testament: Seasons on a Small New Mexico Farm (New York: Edward Burlingame Books, 1992), p. 39:
[W]ere Cleofes capable of sustained rational conversation he would no doubt posit the theory that the test of a good meal is the amount of flatulence it produces, or even that such is the purpose of feeding oneself.
Some unnamed person (I suspect my brother) sent me a link to an article in the Bangor Daily News about a supposed ban on "intentional flatulence" at Camden-Rockport Middle School in Maine. If Cleofes' theory is true, the quality of school lunches must have improved since I was a youngster. I'm not sure how one would prove mens rea in an offender. I'm also not sure how one would reliably identify a culprit unless caught in fragrante delicto.

Sundays used to be prime time for flatulence, intentional or otherwise, in Maine, because almost everyone ate baked beans for supper on Saturday nights. Maine author John Gould (1908-2003), in his last book Tales from Rhapsody Home. Or, What They Don't Tell You About Senior Living (Chapel Hill: Algonquin Books, 2000), pp. 131-132, describes the inevitable consequences on the Sabbath:
Some of our best farts were heard or suppressed in church. Many's the demure maiden lady who thought she had a silent kind and came out loud and strong. It was pleasant to see her sitting there in the pew looking like the Twenty-Third Psalm and wondering if she'd soiled her drawers. Many, also, were they who refrained from offending at great risk, and then let go during the doxology, which was tumultuous enough to drown out all competition. Nobody heard these offerings, but there were lingering testimonials of what happened.
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