Story Go Round 01/14/2006, round 1, #1

The Half Life of a Fart

Hi, my name is Professor Ted Hodgingkinson, and I've come to unwrap a few of nature's mysteries for you. Sometimes the commonest house fart can reveal in its simplicity the fundamental half-truths of biology. Case in point: did you know that farts do not actually get trapped in the sofa? I know it will shock some of you to learn that Mr. Carlin is not a reliable source of scientific knowledge, but farts actually slip easily between the molecules of the fabric. They are small, elastic molecules in structure, and quickly form covalent bonds with long, unstable chains of Dorito crumbs and lint often present in sofas. When these disperse, you are left with what is called Buttekinson's Wrath, or in common parlance - a rank odor, available for all to smell. Another myth I want to dispel today is that there is no scientific evidence to support the common conception that there is a direct causal relationship between the nasal detection and rectal emission. Would anyone like to hazard a guess as to who cuts the most cheese in this class? It may interest you to know that many of the farts you encounter in everyday life are years old - even centuries. The oldest recorded fart odor clocked in at eighty-two days, and we can now, thanks to the Rectal Emissionsagraph, tell that it happened originally around noon, and in an elevator. Now, who wants to come up and do a little demonstration in front of the class? Ah, let's see, how about Tamara? It's good to see so many volunteers, I have to say. Who says that today's young people aren't motivated? We're going to play a fun game I call 'Find the Farter'! In these two jars I have old farts that I collected at the beginning of the term in the lunch room. Let's see if you can sort the mystery meat from the anal extrusion of your best friend, Kathy from amongst all these others.

Kathy left Ausfahrt High after that and never came back, but I'm sure you all recall what she could produce. Now, make sure you take a good, deep whiff of both jars, and note down which one you think was Kathy's. When everyone's done, we'll give the winner an iPod. Yes, we want this to be fun! Now be sure to exhale, since Kathy wouldn't want her "BFF" - he said making the air quotes like he was hip to their youthful ways - to pass out."

Tamara just couldn't make up her mind - the pressure was too much for her - a straight A student with Harvard in her future. Again and again, she bobbed her head from jar to jar, frantically breathing in and out. The students behind her began to make snide comments, like she couldn't tell the smell apart from the smell of her bedroom.

Finally, the other kids got a turn, and would you believe it! Tim Radson identified the farts correctly each time. Some kids say he had a chip implant in his nose, but the Professor said he might just be an olfactory savant. These wonders could tell you about King George's farts just by visiting Buckingham Palace!

Amber is purple; John is pink; Alan is blue; Terry is orange