I swear, you can’t make this stuff up. According to the BBC as reported on their Network Africa program, Malawi is planning to enact legislation to uphold public decency by criminalizing public flatulence. Justice Minister, George Chaponda, apparently elaborated further on a program called Straight Talk: “I think the government has a right to ensure decency. We are entitled to introduce order in the country.”
Let’s be frank. It’s nothing short of a disasster. Apparently, ever since Malawi democratized, the good citizens have been overzealous in their interpretation of what democratic freedom might really mean: “With a multiparty system and freedom … people think they have the right to break wind anywhere they want … It was not there during the time of dictatorship because people were afraid of the consequences … They should go to the toilet instead of farting in public.”
I wonder how far Malawi, a tiny landlocked country in southern Africa, is willing to go with this crackdown (so to speak). For a start, I suggest erecting warning signs at all border crossings. I wouldn’t stop there though. Advertising is the way to go, the only way to get across your message. Prominent Stop Farting Signs, such as the one to the left, must be made visible on every corner. If this is important then it must be done right, but the signs are only the first step.
Science must become involved.
A simple and surely feasible solution would be to invent a type of fart-reactive litmus paper. The good citizens surely wouldn’t mind attaching, in the name of public decency, such a strip to their garments adjacent to their hindermost regions. It would have to be fairly large, however, so that passersby could notice and report any fragrant [sic] abuse. In fact, the litmus strip should be large enough for innocent and aggrieved bystanders to spot and report the offense from a goodly distance because one doesn’t want to get too close to noxious fumes after all.
Perhaps, the country could train thousands of dogs to patrol the streets. You’ve heard of bomb sniffing dogs? Well, why not bum sniffing dogs? Given a dog’s natural proclivities for sniffing the human nether regions, such training shouldn’t be such a difficult task. In fact, it would be doggie heaven. However, extra training would be required to stop the dogs from rolling around in ecstasy and to actually deal with the offender in an appropriate manner, such as grabbing the flatulating person by the cuff and dragging him (or heaven forbid, her) to the nearest bumitentiary — of which, surely there would needs be many.
Another possible detector could be bum sniffing plants. Apparently scientists are already hard at work (I kid you not) manipulating the DNA of various plants to detect bombs in airports. According to June Medford, “Plants can’t run or hide from threats, so they’ve developed sophisticated systems to detect and respond to their environment. We’ve taught plants how to detect things we’re interested in and respond in a way anyone can see to tell us there’s something nasty around.”
I don’t know how bum sniffing plants would work out in practice, however. Perhaps, by law, everyone would be required carry an asster with them everywhere they go. Or people could wear corsages in what is truly an assinine location. A special someone would surely be required to help pin it on: “Do be careful with that pin, honey.” Maybe it just isn’t practical to use plants outside, but they could festoon any and all indoor workplaces with tattletale flowers of all kinds. Yes, I think that would work.
Let’s face it, farting is a serious problem. The average guy breaks wind 16 times a day and releases enough flatus to blow up a small balloon. Creatures of the daintier and fairer sex, keep it down to a more modest average of 8 or 9 eruptions. But that’s a lot of public nuisance and disrespect going on when you consider that “farts can travel as far as 15 meters and the smell can linger for 5 minutes.”
Flatulence is a public menace, I tell you!
As assinine (there I go again — sorry about that) as it might seems, books have been written on the subject and include tips on flatulence etiquette. For educational purposes, I include two quotations from the Complete Book of Farting:
“Never fart and then embrace your lover whilst wearing and overcoat on a cold day. As we know, hot air rises and your stench will travel upwards and emanate from beneath your coat lapels. Your embrace will be very short as the noxious substance hits your loved one’s nostrils.
Farting in bed (blanket ripping) and then pulling back the covers and sniffing one’s own fart is a perfectly acceptable practice. However, pushing your loved one’s head under (or Dutch-ovening) must rank as a crime against humanity! This is a very common male habit and I cannot stress enough that it is very unpleasant for the victim.”
Personally, given my bodily propensities, I have no desire to visit Malawi, popular tourist destination as it might be … or might have been until this stink hit the airwaves. But I think I would pay to see videos of good citizens trying to restrain themselves. Picture a teacher standing in front of a class, trying valiantly to hold it in, while a doggie hovers droolingly at his backside. His butt cheeks are pinched as tightly as possible, and his eyes begin to water as the class waits with — out of necessity — bated breath. He begins to turn purple, as his eyes start to bulge out of their sockets. An explosion is heard as a deadly blasst rips a gaping hole through the seat of his pants. The farterdog grabs the miscreant by the cuff and begins to drag the poor wretch off. The Flying Squat Team arrives on the double to give the dazed teacher the bum’s rush to Assterglow Prison. A wreck of a man.
I swear: it’s all or mostly true: George Chaponda, the quotes, the bomb sniffing plants, and books being written on the subject of flatulence. Go to your favourite search engine should you doubt AC’s veracity.