Saturday, May 26, 2012

Intestinal humor: is it only a guy thing?

Speaking came early for son #2. We have video of him standing in the bathtub at 18 months of age rattling off full sentences and paragraphs. Of course, articulation came later, so it's hard to understand him in the video. You might think he's just making noise. But, no, he's actually talking and what he's saying makes sense.

After learning to talk, my son almost never stopped talking for the next 12 or so years, except for when he was asleep. Don't worry, because son #4 has picked up where he left off.

Son #2 started experimenting with making noise at an early age. He plays a dozen musical instruments and has worked hard on developing an amazing vocal range. He has written and performed various types of music ranging from classical to metal core.

My son has tried to explain to me how he experiences sound. If I understand it correctly, it is as if he perceives sound with an additional dimension that most people don't hear. Maybe it's like synesthesia.

We have four sons. My wife was shocked as her sons started to grow up at how readily they found humor in normal bodily functions. Having had only brothers, and having spent years working with Boy Scouts, I couldn't see what the big deal was. One of the first lessons I learned after we married was that it was inappropriate to ever experience an escape of gastric gas (either from the attic or the basement) without verbally excusing oneself.

A couple of months after the aforementioned bathtub event, I picked up sons #1 and #2 from the baby sitter, strapped them into their car seats, and started to drive down the street. One of the boys passed gas and both of them broke out laughing. I immediately tried to play the role of the responsible father. In an effort to play down the comedy factor, I explained that this is a normal body function, like sleeping.

Son #2, who was about 20 or 21 months old at that time bluntly said, "Dad, farts are funny." I literally pulled over to the side of the road and stopped because I was laughing so hard. This is a favorite family story that always seems close to the consciousness of my children.

I thought about this story when I saw this clip of Christian comedian John Branyan:

I used to think laughing at intestinal gas was only a boy thing. Then we had a daughter. Now, it may be that having only brothers she has little choice other than to become steeped in boy-lore. But she also seems to find great humor in the body's less sanguine functions.

Yet another Christian comedian, Brad Stine has this take on flatulence:

Seriously folks, gas happens. How you respond to it is up to you. Some choose to see humor in it. Others suppress the amusement factor. But, if John Branyan is right, stifling the jocularity could be as bad for your health as stifling the passage of gas. This site claims that the following epitaph is engraved on a headstone:
Wherever you may be
Let your wind blow free.
For holding it in
Was the killing of me.
With all of the seriousness of life, don't forget to have some fun on occasion. And ladies, lighten up on us guys. We can't help but laugh.

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