catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 11, Num 4 :: 2012.02.17 — 2012.03.01


The tail wind taboo

As the world’s population grows on an exponential rate, and the variety of its inhabitants becomes increasingly more diverse, awareness of things that were once taboo are now deemed as casual conversation topics. Sexual orientation, race, religion, socio-economic class and disability are examples of taboos of previous generations that are now being largely dissected by modern day society. This blunt social consciousness is due to the evolution of technology, and its power to connect people from every corner of the earth. As people are now free to identify themselves as whatever they wish to be, and are almost guaranteed to find a support group of others just like them, the general public is desensitized to the shock value that many of these once forbidden subjects used to carry.

However, I have found in my seventeen years of travel upon this planet, that there is one universally taboo subject that is guaranteed to affect even you. That topic is almost always followed by a painfully awkward and mutual sense of hiding one’s head in the sand, where both parties understand the unspeakable trepidation that has just occurred. Burning sensations of embarrassment rise through the cheeks of everyone in the vicinity, as random conversation starters are shot into action as a defense mechanism, to escape the cloud of silent social distress. This taboo is passing gas in public. In church, at school, even at home, this scandalous behavior is avoided at all cheek-clenching moments of the day. It is more socially acceptable to arrive at an awards ceremony dressed in meat then it is to fart in front of others.

This taboo has been a huge theme in the relationship I had with my ex-stepmother, who denies ever having cut the cheese in her lifetime.  Even my dad who had been married to her for seven years was severely afraid to pass gas in her presence. I can recall the first extended family Christmas dinner party I was invited to, which was interrupted by the petrified expression on the constricted muscles of my ex-stepmother’s blushing face. I was eight years old in a house full of related strangers, eating fancy appetizers with a napkin on my lap. I squeezed my toes to touch the ground so I could reach the salt that was just out of reach, when a rectal honk sneaked loudly from beneath my bottom. The room fell silent and my stepmother vehemently interjected about the weather in Ontario.

As the marriage between she and my father has ended for a number of personal reasons, I can’t help but realize that the implications of a farting taboo may have been subconsciously involved. Farting is a stark reminder of human nature. When you have reached that point in a relationship when you can enthusiastically rate the stinkocity velocity of someone’s anal acoustics, you can truly understand love. This taboo notion of love is the acceptance of a person, despite all one’s corks and spunks. I believe that with exploding rates of population growth, the world will continue to be more accepting of weirdos and freaks, but the taboo of letting one rip in public will never be fully diluted. Instead of lobbying to change the ethical boundaries of society, I propose to use this understanding as a calibration of friendship, and a Saturday chuckle with the people you love.

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