When I was working for the Commonwealth Law Courts, there was a sign posted on the wall that read something like this: "Your bad habit is smoking. The by-product of your bad habit is cigarette smoke. Cigarette smoke gets in my clothes, in my hair, and in my food. My bad habit is beer. The by-product of my bad habit is urine. How would you feel if I got up on the table and urinated all over your clothes, head, and food?"
Although I agree with the sentiment of this sign, I think a better parallel to smoking is farting. After all, both smoking and farting are rude to do in the presence of other people, both produce foul odors, both help relax the person doing the farting or smoking, both are gross, and you never want to be trapped in a small space with someone doing either thing. However, it is my thesis, that farting is a far superior thing to do than smoking. I feel that flatulence has unjustly been saddled with the stronger taboo, due only to its intimate and unfortunate association with that matter known to some as poop, doo doo, or excremental refuse. Though I am not advocating for the acceptance of public flatulation, as much as it would ease the suffering of many, I will posit the theory that smoking should have a stronger taboo attached to it, and that people who smoke should either quit, or not do it in the presence of other people. Those who unapologetically smoke in the presence of non-smokers should be dealt with the same way as those who chronically and unabashedly flatulate in the midst of others, or like the people who created the Sultana Bran ad campaigns. Well, perhaps not as violently as the latter should be treated.
So, why is farting superior to smoking? Let me count the reasons:
1. Farting is not carcinogenic. Smoking is.
2. Second-hand farts are not carcinogenic. Second-hand smoke is.
3. Farts do not cling to the clothes of other people and pollute their wardrobes. Cigarette smoke does.
4. Farts generally do not infiltrate every recess of the buildings they are released in. Cigarette smoke can work its way through ventilation systems, closed doors, and even floorboards.
5. No one ever died by falling asleep while farting.
6. Farts, unless the farter is very ill, do not leave any material waste. Cigarette butts are an aesthetic plague on the landscape.
7. Farts, though they may smell fouler at times than cigarette smoke, often may be odorless or not as offensive as cigarette smoke.
8. Farting does not incur tracheotomies and massive medical bills.
9. Smoking is a chosen activity. You can quit. Farting is a biological imperative. Quit, and you’ll rupture your colon.
10. It’s safe to fart while at a petrol pymp.
11. Farting does not require acres of valuable arable land to be taken from food production to grow tobacco.
12. Farts do not make your eyes sting. Cigarette smoke does.
13. Farting is not as expensive as smoking.
14. I have never met anyone allergic to farts. I have met many people allergic to cigarette smoke.
15. Farts are a veritable goldmine of humour, especially for Hollywood screenwriters.
16. Kissing someone who farts does not taste nasty.
17. Farting does not require ash trays.
18. Farting is actually beneficial to one’s health, due to the gastrointestinal stress it relieves. Smoking relieves stress, but causes lung cancer, throat cancer, emphysema, smoker’s lung, asthma, yellow teeth, and a host of other unpleasant conditions.
19. To the best of my knowledge, a fart never caused a forest fire.
20. If someone drops a fart in your lap, it may be cause for disgust, but not to stop, drop, and roll.
21. Farting doesn’t make your voice gravelly.
22. You can fart in an oxygen tent.
23. Smoking won’t provide you with a bubble bath.
24. People are rarely able to blow their farts in your face.
25. Everyone farts. Even the Pope.
If you’re a smoker, for your own sake and the sake of those around you, quit smoking. At least don’t smoke around non-smokers. If you are a chronic farter, go to the bathroom or take a walk. If you are both, may God have mercy on your soul... or your bum.