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Gas: It’s not just for balloons any more

It started in the movie Blazing Saddles; it was raised to a new level in the television show South Park; and if it slips our mind for a while, Dave Barry will remind us of it from time to time. What are we talking about? A relatively new growth industry—flatulence. Not that flatulence is new—it’s the growth industry part that’s new.

What is flatulence and why is it a growth industry? Flatulence is gas that develops in the intestine and is forcibly expelled (cowboys and most teenage males) or quietly eased out (women and pre-women) through a bodily orifice known as the anus. You will note that so far I have employed only the Latin language to refer delicately to this perfectly natural bodily function of man and beast. For those of you who do not use Latin on a regular basis, we are talking about farts. While the fear of farting, or passing gas, pervades most of the United States, our European neighbors are not nearly so inhibited. They recognize that gas passing is natural, universal, inevitable, and who cares. Unfortunately in the United States, this fear of farting produces an inhibition and, on the part of some in this country, a reluctance to even admit that farting occurs at all. That opens the door or window for the growth industry part. In this country farting is now a multibillion dollar industry.

Not convinced? Fire up your old computer and visit some web sites.

At http://www.coworkerhints.com/ you may, for the paltry sum of $9.95, have CoWorkerHints send one of your coworkers the Flatulence Letter. This letter will gently inform your coworker that he/she has a problem that is causing distress for her/his fellow workers. The letter also offers tips and possible solutions. If all workers in the United Stares went to this web site and had a $9.95 letter sent to every coworker who farted (that’s everybody), Bill Gates would suddenly become only the second richest guy in the world.

Now try http://www.gasbgon.com to learn about the GasBGon Flatulence Filter-Seat Cushion by Dairiair. At this web site you will also find a “pull my finger” cartoon that you might want to check out. The filter seat cushion is advertised to “muffle the sound of excess gas and absorb the smell.” It will overcome what the company calls the “Blazing Seat Syndrome.” Also note that, “For pennies a day, you can turn a deadly F.O.E. (Fugitive Odor Emitter) into a lifelong friend.” What is the market potential, you business minded folks might ask? Well, all 6,000,000,000 people in the world pass gas. In the time it has taken you to read this paragraph so far, approximately 24,250,000 global farts have occurred. (The math involved is as follows—6 billion people times 14 farts a day, divided by 86,400 seconds per day, times the 25 seconds you have spent reading so far.) The market potential is staggering. The cost for this remarkable filter seat cushion is only $24.95 for the Valentines Day Special. Other cushions can be had for a lesser amount.

One of the most informative sites I have found is http://www.heptune.com/farts.html This site will answer almost every question you ever had on this topic. For example:
What makes farts stink? Is it really possible to light farts?
Why do farts make noise? Do fish fart?
Do even movie stars fart? Do men fart more than women?
Do all people fart in their sleep? Is it possible for a fart to kill you?

You will find the answers to these and many more questions at this remarkable site.

If you want to read up on the subject, check on Who Cut the Cheese: A Cultural History of the Fart by Jim Dawson (available from Amazon.com for $9.95 plus postage). The book is said to be very informative and funny. Ben Franklin’s classic Fart Proudly is still in print. There is a collection of suggestive photographs called Who Farted Now? By St. Martin’s Press.

At this same site you can learn how a talented individual can earn a living directly through flatulence. Mr. Methane lays claim to the distinction of being the world’s only performing flatulist. (See http://www.mrmethane.com ) Figure there is very limited competition in this area so the earning potential must be terrific.

Finally, learn the Slim Spincter story at http://www.chrisleighton.com/slimspincter/xmasgas.html . Here you can learn about Slim Spincter and can actually order 14 festive Christmas holiday hits “performed on the Spincterfone, a unique instrument that sounds like Santa after six bean burritos.” You can order online for $15.00 plus $2.00 shipping.

Farts in the news. Right here in the Huntsville Item, Chuck Shepherd tells us in his Weird News column about news stories that involved flatulence this past summer, including one about a woman who filed “a complaint against a police officer who purposely broke wind while investigating a crime in her home.” The story does not indicate how one distinguishes between breaking wind purposely or by accident.

By now I’m sure many of you are wondering just how you might cash in on this amazing new growth industry? Some of you aren’t wondering at all. You are just disgusted. It is the disgusted people who create one of the two major markets make it possible for the rest of us to “Make a Buck on Flatulence,”(a possible title for a best selling book). The people who are disgusted generally deny farting or go to extreme lengths to hide it. Enter the entrepreneur who comes up with a way to absorb sound and smell such as the GasBGon filter cushion. It might also be the Flatulence Drawers—You wear them instead of sitting on them. Also, watch for the TV commercials for Beano.

The second major market comes from the several million people who think farting is funny. The creators of South Park realized that a significant segment of the U.S. population will never outgrow its fascination with flatulence. Here think, Whoopee Cushions or Farts in a Can or electronically controlled fart machines. You can come up with something new like Bubbles in the Bath Water or my personal favorite…. Sorry, I can’t tell you my personal favorite because I might need to use it to make my personal fortune in the event this column writing business doesn’t do it for me.