It was a Great Wakkorotti cartoon. In this one, Wakko "sings" Blue Danube completely in belches, unhinging his jaw in more and more impossible ways until a great big burping finish. That was what my son was finding so funny. It reminded me of something I wrote about five year ago, when I actually owned slippingreality dot com and was giving running a website a try (it died a painless death, but that's ok. It was a fun experiment with FrontPage).
Anyway, here's what I wrote--please to enjoy:
Farts are funny.
It's a fact. Everyone knows this, even children. When I was a kid, my dad would make a production number out of his farts, leaning in the doorway and cocking one leg up, knee bent, to let one rip. He did this to much amusement from my sister and me, and to much consternation from my mother. I used to think his beaming expression after one of these displays was in reaction to the giggle fit coming from us; now I know that his grin was the result of his own amusement.
When visiting the family last March, I babysat my nephew, 5, and my niece, 2. We were watching Nickelodeon for the eighth hour when a commercial came on featuring an animated lawn mower which ate grass and belched. My nephew loved it. He imitated the noises and laughed, and looked at me and said, "Burps are funny." Then my niece, who was nestled in my lap, looked at me with her angelic face and announced, "Farts funny, too!"
Farts are usually dismissed as a juvenile attempt to make people laugh without substance, but Aristophanes used flatulence as a humor device in many of his early plays, most of which are considered classics. Some modern movies are falling back on the fart jokes, and are becoming box office hits.
Why are farts so funny? Part of it is the word. Fart. Fart fart fart. It's fun to say, and it's hard not to laugh when someone says it. Part of it is the sound. The fart doesn't have to be real; a polyester clad posterior on a leather chair can provide hours of entertainment if the weather conditions permit. The sounds can be tiny or thunderous, and can sometimes contain harmony if done just right. Tom can sound like a brass band after eating popcorn. This is why we don't go to the movies very often.
Sometimes farts are funny only to the ones who smelt it, and not the ones who dealt it. During that same visit last March, Tom's niece wanted to show us her dance routine. To the Backstreet Boys. I won't go on that tangent now. Her dance contained mostly gymnastic movements, and at the height of her cartwheel, she erupted with a blast that was rather impressive for her small size. Initially, she was embarrassed as Tom, his brother, and I resembled three monkeys who could speak no evil as we fought laughter. She yelled at her brother, who was singing the praises of her flatulence from the doorway, until he began to blow fart noises on his arm and she started to laugh and finished her dance. The noises brought her back from the momentary horror. Of course, she had to start her song over, but again, I won't get into that.
Me? I don't fart.
Farts are funny. It's an incontrovertible fact. And I'll try to remember that tonight when Tom pulls the covers over my head.