My philosophy of human nature is simple: people are tubes. Stuff goes in at one end and comes out at the other. We can be cruel tubes, altruistic tubes, creative tubes, even spiritual tubes, but tubes are what we are. Even the great Sufi poet Rumi said this, though he used the more poetic term “reeds” rather than my more prosaic “tubes,” but the idea is the same.
I have been saying this for so long that I considered suing You-Tube for misrepresenting my idea. But hubris is replaced with humility when one’s tubeness is understood, and I decided not to make a stink. And that is what I want to talk about for a moment.
The older one gets the more obvious one tubity becomes. The secret to being a humble tube is acceptance of tubessence, more commonly known as farting.
You know you are an old tube when you bend over to tie your shoes and fart. You know you are an old tube when you fart as you laugh. You know you are an old tube when you fear you may die from burping and farting at the same time.
My mother’s mother was such an old tube that the mere act of walking set off a stream of farts that, in the cold New England winter months, made one suspect she was driven by a gas combustion engine with a single exhaust. I myself am a HEMI.
Now some people are embarrassed by their tubeness, and the body’s involuntary expression of it. These are usually adolescent tubes who wish to deny their tube-like nature. The youngest tubes find the wonders of farting to be sidesplittingly amusing, and not only when it is an older tube that is doing the emitting. As in so many things, we would be wise to let the little children lead us. Farting is funny. Regardless of who does it, farting is funny. It is liberating, it is honest, it is what tubes do.
It is also poignant. The older you get the more you fart. The more you fart the closer you are to death. No, I have no scientific evidence of this, it just makes sense to me. So farting reminds us of our mortality, and that reminder requires more than laughter.
My suggestion is that we find religious response to hearing, smelling, or producing a fart, just like many people do when they hear about a death. When Jews fart, I suggest they say, “Baruch Dayan haEmet, blessed is the True Judge.” When Christians fart, I suggest they make a large sign of the cross with an open hand to both honor the meaning and disperse the message. I’ll leave other traditions to your own imagination.
Farting reminds us that we are going to die. Farting reminds us that both farter and fartee share the same fate. Farting is a gift from the Almighty Tube in whose image we are created. I truly believe that if we were more humble with our farting we would be less violent with our living. So please, celebrate farting as one of life’s little pleasures; and remember the dead do not fart. Baruch Dayan haEmet.