Mighty Wind

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My frustration started when the dog wouldn’t stop farting.

I was sitting at my computer, frantically pulling together my column before deadline and wham! The slinky, skunky smell perforated my nostrils, sending my olfactory nodes into red alert. Eyes watering, throat choking I wandered into another room for clean air until her blessed little soul found a spot next to me, hind end innocently aimed in my direction.

Within seconds her lethal weapon had me up and moving. Even a closed door proved useless as she butted up against it, the gas working its way under the frame.

And these were no silent creepers, oh, no. These were full-volume fart-o-grams that were larger than life prequels announcing the onset of the notorious gas ready to come.

I must admit my friend’s dog is a lovely lab with sweetness unlimited in personality. But that day the abundance of methane lingering in the house lead me into the abyss all writers dread, when words evaporate and the inevitable wall looms large.

So with my original story compromised under a cloud of odor, I decided to tackle the subject at hand.

Are farts normal?

I questioned it only because of the implications tooting in public brings, the sheer embarrassment and the pronounced denial of its origins. Farts – also called flatus (flay-tus) or intestinal gas – are thankfully quite normal. In fact, if farting doesn’t occur, the painful outcome of trapped gas putting pressure on the digestive tract becomes the unwelcome alternative.

Made up mostly of nitrogen, internal gas also includes oxygen, hydrogen, carbon dioxide and methane – all resulting from the breakdown of food.

Beans, onions and fried anything are major culprits in cutting the cheese where barking spiders take the blame.  Dairy products can also cause foul weather when lactose intolerance looms large in the gut. Not chewing foods properly, swallowing too much air while eating, and fizzy drinks can enhance the body’s already gassy output.  And introducing new foods to the diet or just plain eating too much can cause a colonic calliope.

Flatulant labradors aside, there are ways to keep a healthy balance within the digestive tract. Adding probiotics to the diet assures that good bacteria make their way into the intestinal flora for the proper breakdown of food. Undigested food left in the intestines ferments, leaving a byproduct of unwanted gas ready for a smelly countdown.

Digestive enzymes can also help tackle the job of food breakdown, as can spices such as turmeric, coriander, fennel, rosemary, and thyme. Also, having a cup of peppermint, cinnamon or ginger tea can help quell a gurgling belly.

Adding fresh greens to the diet provides roughage to green up and clean out the small and large intestines, all 25 feet of them, ridding the body of any potential stink bombs.

Passing gas is an inevitable part of living. And even though it is a normal byproduct of eating and drinking, the fact that there are over 261 ways to say fart in Urbandictionary.com reveals the explosive nature “venting one” has on our society.  It is, after all, a funny thing.

So my canine friend sat up and looked straight at me as another uncorked symphony played its tune.

“Really Missy?”

The smell reaching me before I even finished her name. Her eyes simply reminding me, “Whoever smelt it, dealt it.”

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