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The scent of incivility

Have I ever recommended you guys revert to kindergarten occasionally and exercise a flexible sense of humor?

If not, and you don't already, try it sometimes. The ridiculous can be as therapeutic as scripture sometimes.

Don't believe me? Keep reading.

There are few behaviors or actions, even minor, silly stuff, that if we wanted, we couldn't assign a minimum standard of behavior to.

Think about it. You approach a door at the same time as another person? You exercise the baseball standard, as in "tie goes to the runner," and you give way to the other person (or not, if he's a jerk).

You bump into someone in a crowd? You smile and say "Excuse me."

Someone compliments you? You don't disregard their words. You say "Thank you."

You belch? You pardon yourself.

And so on...

So clearly, the alien woman Mrs. B and I encountered in a department store Saturday afternoon hadn't heard the rules about farting in public.

We were strolling down an aisle looking for a rug or something like that. When we rounded the corner to head up the next aisle, the woman was exiting that aisle and didn't see us.

I mean her head was down as she pushed her cart. But even if it hadn't been down, she couldn't have seen us. 'Cause three steps later when we crossed the spot where she'd just stood, we smelled an unbelievably foul odor. I'm certain it was the foulest odor I've ever come across. And keep in mind back when I was a crime reporter I spent time in the morgue. And I even came across a couple of crime scenes ripe with the smell of recent death.

This is why I call the woman an alien. No human could emit a smell like that unless they sustain themselves on a diet of charcoal and brimstone, or unless something - like an alien? - crawled up inside 'em and died.

Most rules of letting one rip are pretty much common sense. But in case you, like this woman, have a serious gastro problem and absolutely have to pass one in a public indoor place, like a department store, then make sure you're in an isolated part of the store - a part of the store where the products are covered with dust, giving you a good indication that people rarely go there. And whatever you do, and wherever you do it, look UP!!!! Look up and around first to make sure the coast is clear. It's the best way to avoid embarrassment - though this woman tried to pretend "it" wasn't hers, and the best way to avoid being grossly offensive.

This act, my friends, was high on the list of poor Burnettiquette. Silence is no excuse, and certainly no mask.

Anyway, if that hasn't made you giggle or scrunch up your nose uncomfortably enough already, the whole unpleasant incident that made my eyes water and I swear induced a minor asthma attack for me, reminded me of this beeper commercial featuring the start of a blind date:


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Gag! WHY do people DO that?! I walked into the supply closet at work once, and apparently surprised a coworker after she had let one rip. I never saw a woman move so fast as she did to get out of that room. Thanks, babe, for leaving me alone with the stench!

That commercial is priceless.

Say It

just cracks me up, not the smell, the video. And ew ew ew, there is nothing worse than walking into an invisble wall of stink left by another. My kids do that to me all the time. Its rather like walking into a spiderweb face level, momentarily gross and inescapable. blah.


Some people fart at random. Some people lay fart-mines for others to wander in to. And some people are just born to fart.


Yes, tramps like us, baby we were born to fart.


James, it's a cruel world out there. Look on the bright side, it could have been worse. You could have been on that bus up in Canada where that one guy whipped out a hunting knife and killed his seatmate and then cut his head off and THEN started carving off flesh and eating it. The way I see it you and the beautiful and talented Mrs. B. got off easy.

James B.

Fiwa, a supply closet would be even worse. Closed-in space.

Say It, I like that spider web analogy. I may have to borrow that one.

Og, ha! I've read that post. You and the farting destiny.

Mark, I blogged about that Canadian bus incident on Friday. I tell ya, if I tried to suggest that a sneak fart attack was as deadly as being decapitated and eaten on a Greyhound bus, then I'd be the one who needed a doctor!


Okay, this is bad. I was in Target a reeeealllly long time ago, with hubby and son. I bent down to look at something on the bottom shelf and OMG it just happened. It really wasn't a bad smelly terrible fart, because you know, mine just don't smell. ;) But that funny little sound just came out so fast I had no way of stopping it. I totally embarrassed my family because there was a man at the other end of the isle who may have heard. OF COURSE I tried to pass it off as one of the boys doing it. We laughed hard.

James B.

Mary, ha ha ha ha! OK, you get bonus points for being honest about it, and you get a mulligan for ultimately admitting it was yours. So your slate has been wiped clean! ;>)


A real man always cops to his farts. Especially when they're supremely nasty.


the older "we" get, the more difficult it is to contain or refrain.

I hate getting on an elevator where someone has released toxic fumes... and then it stops on the next floor and I'm sure people think I was the culprit.


I think a fart in a public indoor place, like a store, is completely acceptable in a few isolated situations, such as if you are in a grocery or other aisled store where you are stuck, aisle after aisle, behind some loud nimrod on their cell phone (or bluetooth ear piece) talking about themselves or having some other asinine conversation about cologne, or their dog, or what a legend they are in their own minds - in my own opinion, it's perfectly acceptable to squeeze past and get to the next aisle before they do, and let go of a nice stinky silent bomb.
Sorry for the run-on sentence.

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