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I’m With Stupid – February 4, 2011

CURBING HUMAN METHANE EMISSIONS IN MALAWI
by Todd Hartley

All right, folks, here’s your challenge for this week: see if you can make it through this entire column without breaking wind. (Trust me, that’s a difficult task for a lot of people I know.)

Ah, but not you, right? You have impeccable sphincter control, don’t you? You could probably read this column three or four times before the urge to blow the buttock bassoon overcame you. Reading it just once sans flatulence would be a piece of cake, wouldn’t it?

OK, fine. Then see if you can go the rest of your life without cutting the cheese.

Yeah, not so cocky now, are you?

I realize that may sound like a preposterous notion, but that’s exactly what the government of Malawi is expecting its people to do, having announced last week that it plans to punish offenders “who foul the air” in an effort to “mold responsible and disciplined citizens.”

Now, I could understand such an edict if it were coming from somewhere like Switzerland or Germany, where people are already so uptight that farts have a hard time escaping as it is, or somewhere like Saudi Arabia or North Korea, where the government feels compelled to trample on every human right, but Malawi is a far cry from those nations.

Malawi, in case you’ve forgotten everything you never learned about it in the first place, is one of the 10 poorest countries in the world, with one of the planet’s highest infant mortality rates. Each day, approximately 250 of its citizens are infected with the AIDS virus, and virtually every other disease you can think of is alive and well in Malawi, helping to make the average life expectancy of Malawians about 50 years, among the lowest in the world.

Given all that, you might think the government of Malawi would have more important things to worry about than people stepping on ducks, but apparently that’s not the case. Malawians may be dying young of AIDS and who knows what else, but if the government has its way, they’ll at least be responsible and disciplined when they expire.

Without giving this matter a whole lot of thought, I can think of a number of problems with such a decision. First of all, unless the Malawi government plans to put thousands more cops on the street, possibly with specially trained poot-sniffing dogs, it’s going to be awfully hard to enforce the law. Secondly, when one of those cops asks, “Who fired that shot?” they’re unlikely to get a straight answer. If most people don’t claim their barking spiders now, what are the odds they’re going to fess up when it becomes a crime?

More importantly, though, this decision could serve to make the average life expectancy in Malawi drop even lower. According to Dr. Michael D. “Dr. Fart” Levitt, a gastroenterologist from Minneapolis and the world’s leading authority on passing gas, holding in a rectal honk can have dangerous side effects, including dizziness, headaches and bloated colons, and theoretically, “the methane and other lethal gases could add enough toxins to your blood to poison you.”

Lastly, I just feel bad for the people of Malawi who will now be deprived of one of the greatest sources of humor known to man. Let’s face it, busting ass is almost never not funny. In fact, in my family, great pootinks, as we used to call them, are the stuff of legend, and the stories surrounding them are rehashed any time we all get together. There’s nothing like a rousing tale of someone singing the anal anthem to whet your appetite for Thanksgiving dinner.

If the government of Malawi persists in its plan, however, I would like to alert all you entrepreneurs out there to a potentially lucrative opportunity.

There’s a company called Flat-D Innovations that makes a flatulence deodorizer pad that can be worn discreetly in the underwear. Made of “highly activated charcoal” and less than a sixteenth of an inch thick, the flatulence deodorizer pad is guaranteed to “stop the release of unpleasant pungent gas odors” and is sure to be a hot seller in Malawi once the no-stink-bomb law becomes official.

Just be sure you don’t charge too much for the flatulence deodorizer pads, though. We’re still talking about Malawi, where the average person lives on about $900 a year. Much as they might want to keep trouser trumpeting from sending them to jail, those people still need to eat, just so long as they don’t eat beans.

Todd Hartley smelt it, thus he must have dealt it.

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Todd Hartley

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