Ruckus at the Dinner Table

"We're angels, really."

“We’re angels, really.”

My youngest daughter likes to be naughty – she’s declared it dozens of times.

The other night was no exception.

At the dinner table, the seven-year-old took a plastic water bottle, leaned over, put it under her bum and made a fart sound. Then she pulled up the bottle to display it to us.

“That’s disgusting,” I said.

She looked at all of us with a broad smile as if to say this is just the beginning.

She proceeded to suck in the pretend fumes from the bottle before declaring: “Now I’ve got the worst breath in the world!”

Then she breathed it out on all of us.

“Yuck!” her older sister said.

The youngest turned and looked at the 12-year-old blankly, and then slowly reached out and touched her. “Now you’ve got the fart touch,” she said, giggling loudly.

I laughed, too.

All of us did as the fart touch spread around the table until our unwitting four-ton dog got it, and we went back to eating dinner.

I looked over at the youngest as she ate. What she did can’t really be normal, can it? And I can’t really write about this, can I? And none of us should take pleasure is such foul humor, should we?

Be strict as a parent, keep your kids in order – and polite. That’s what we should do.

But then again, a good fart joke can be funny. Take that episode from Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales when Thomas farts thunderously in the hand of the friar. The friar responds, “You’ll suffer for this fart – I’ll find a way!” Or when Nicholas farts in another character’s face – and his buttocks get branded with a poker. And there can be nothing funnier than the huge fits of flatulence of Ignatius J. Reilly in A Confederacy of Dunces.

Or can there?

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