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The Gift of Gas: Five Surprising Things about Farts for Father’s Day

This week, we’re excited to have Ben Applebaum and Dan DiSorbo guest posting on the blog. Ben and Dan are the authors of The Fart Tootorial: Farting Fundamentals, Master Blaster Techniques, and the Complete Toot Taxonomy. They are also the authors of The Book of Beer Awesomeness and The Book of Beer Pong.

The great Louis C.K. said it best, “You don’t have to be smart to laugh at farts, but you have to be stupid not to.” The fascinating world of farts is just under your nose. And with the upcoming celebration of the greatest fans in farting (dads, of course), it’s the perfect time to rip a few… pages from The Fart Tootorial.

1. FARTS ARE TIMELESS.
The word “fart” is both a noun and a verb and, believe it or not, is one of the oldest words in the English vocabulary. The root of this toot can be traced back to around A.D. 500 with the Old High German word ferzan. Similar words are also found in Old Norse, Slavic, Greek, and even Sanskrit. So needless to say, breaking wind is here to stay.

2. FARTS ARE COMPLEX.
Unseen by the naked eye, farts are about one-half cup of a gas cocktail, mixed fresh by the bartender in your belly. They are comprised of common gases like nitrogen, carbon dioxide, hydrogen, oxygen, and occasionally methane (more on that to come). After that, it’s a lineup of stink all-stars: sulphur, hydrogen sulfide, methanethiol, dimethyl sulfide, ammonia, skatole, and indole. These compounds give every gas it’s unique, um, linger print.

3. FARTS ARE FINICKY.
Only one in three people produce farts that contain methane. Methane comes from the archaea microorganisms found in the human gut. When ignited in a lab or in a dorm room somewhere, most fart flames will be orange. But for those who have the bacteria to produce methane farts, their flames can be blue. How do you know if you have the gift for blue flames? Check your stool: consistent floaters could be a sign of methane production.

4. FARTS ARE NATURAL.
It’s ironic that the healthiest foods are, in fact, the gassiest. The most infamous olfactory offenders, such as beans, cabbage, and broccoli, all contain an indigestible carbohydrate called raffinose—aka nature’s revenge.

5. FARTS ARE FUNNY.
In fact, the world’s oldest recorded joke is a Sumerian knee-slapper from 1900 B.C. and, you guessed it, a fart joke. (Here it is: “Something which has never occurred since time immemorial; a young woman did not fart in her husband’s lap.” We guess you had to be there.) But what makes them funny? We subscribe to the theory of “benign violation.” That means they break enough rules to be taboo but not too many to be dangerous. And that means they are supercharged for funny. So it’s almost a shame not to share this gift of gas with others.

Speaking of sharing the stink. Dads are not only key contributors to farts but also to preserving tooting traditions. They are heroes to handing down the art of the fart (one pulled finger at a time). So this is the perfect time to celebrate this year’s “Father’s Day” as “Farter’s Day.” Enjoy it with the big cheese cutter in your life and break bread—and wind—together.

Celebrate Father’s Day on ChronicleBooks.com with 25% off + free ground shipping! Use code THANKSDAD through June 16th.

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