Shortly after my third mug of ice cream, I noticed some rumbling in my tummy. I ignored it, because that’s what we do with gas in public; we tell it to go away, and it (usually) obeys. To coat my internal stew of garlic cheese noodles and coffee ice cream, I made some chai tea. Just as the caffeinated concoction inside me was beginning to talk (and possibly walk), Arms started to tell me about something serious. “I have to tell you something scary,” he started. “My best friend who lives in Colorado—he nearly died last night.”
Ohno, I thought. Not the roommate—oh that’s scary, yes, of course— but I need to fart. Otherwise I’m going to . . . fart. Arms ignored my neurotic arm and leg crossing and continued to vent. “It was a bad drug trip. They found him lying there on his back and they rushed him to the hospital. ”
This continued to the tune of “Blah blah blah, go Paaaahhhckers (Packers), go Baaaahhhhdgers (Badgers), cheese curds, brats Aflac.”
My mind was on one thing and one thing only: God. Yes, like most disgruntled white people, I’m agnostic, sometimes atheist, but, in this moment, I was Jesus Christ, on the cross, begging for God to prevent the superhuman pressure about to blow. I squirmed, I crossed my legs, I re-crossed them. I turned my body into the tightest pretzel you’ve ever seen. I tried to scare the excess air away by clearing my throat loudly—all the while nodding and consoling Arms as he blabbed on and on about his friend. I prayed to a deceased family friend; I asked her to cause some sudden distraction so I could get to the bathroom and detonate my asshole.
Just as I was about to pass out from holding my breath, I heard a little voice respond to my prayer. The voice came directly from my butt and it said: “Eeeeeuaaaahhhh. Eeeeeuaaahhhh.”
At first, I thought it was a fever dream—there was no way I sud- denly couldn’t control my own body. But, as if an old white man had possessed me, I continued to release what would end up being an un- controllable, melodic, multisyllabic, THIRTY-SECOND FART. With the first couple of high-pitched squeals, I immediately turned into a bright-red fire truck. I clutched my temples as the supernatural gas played a concerto of Beethoven-inspired high notes. Arms was com- pletely, out-of-his-mind shocked by the duration of my fart and so he just giggled.
Hee hee hee, ho ho ho.
The worst part of the situation was that I couldn’t move for fear of what might fall out of me. I was frozen solid — a petrified, red-faced farting deer—caught in headlights that were laughing at me.
The sounds progressed into what you might call a dolphin mating call: eee, eee, eee, eee. Then it changed into what I’d call the trombone, a sliding, deep, tonal masterpiece. It was the machine gun expulsion that actually startled Arms, with its violent and seemingly endless rounds of: furt, furt, furt, furt, furt, furrrrrr, rur, rur, rur, rurt, furt, furt. My asshole concerto ended on the chipmunk exhale: haffffffffffff, which sounded just like a city bus lowering me to the stop at Humiliation Street.
Somewhere around machine gun, Arms, looking genuinely petri- fied, asked “Are you okay?”
He was sure I wasn’t, because I could not respond. I’d never been more humiliated in my entire life, and I had zero strategy for how to recover. My only solution was to act gravely concerned about my own health. Amidst the most amazing fart production of my life, I wasn’t even laughing, I was acting serious!
To this day, that is one of my biggest life regrets—that I felt ashamed of this supernatural miracle.