Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Time for Something Classy

Has a friend ever said something, a simple little line, or maybe they shared an innocent yet amusing anecdote, and it became completely embedded in your head to the point that you started using that comment or anecdote with other friends and family? And then they adopted the line or story and started telling it to their friends, and soon enough the whole thing spread across the nation like a bad taste sensation? It’s sort of like a chain letter, but you don’t get five dishtowels in the mail or your wish granted at 3:14 p.m. by angels if you pass it on to ten of your BFFs.

I’ll give you an example. In college, my friends and I regularly ate dinner together after class. One of my friends always dined at a more languorous pace than the rest of us and once rebuked us when we attempted to leave too soon with a defiant yet sing-song, “I’d LIKE to finish my WATER!” For some reason I shared this with my family, so now whenever one of us is taking our sweet time at a restaurant and the rest of us are antsy to leave, someone says this exact phrase in the same irritated intonation. My dad says it, my brother says it, and with a little persistence, we’ll have my grandma saying it by Christmas.

The best part is that usually the person behind the incident has no idea how popular it’s gotten. And now it’s my turn in the hot seat.

Yesterday I was chatting with a friend, and suddenly she started laughing. “You know," she said, "I thought about you the other day when I was talking with A (her son).”

“Oh god,” I said, grimacing, “I already know what it is.”

I knew because a few years earlier I'd made the mistake of telling her that I'd boarded the (insanely slow) elevator on the seventh floor of my office building and absentmindedly let one rip, only to have another rider board the elevator immediately afterwards, on the sixth floor. It was the classic Fart in the Elevator For Unexpected Company gag.

So my friend told my story to her son, who happened to be at the age where farts are the pinnacle of humor. He was between 1 and 99. My little (sneaker) anecdote latched itself to their shared history, and every time they’ve boarded an elevator in the seven years since, they look at one another and giggle over me and my friendly little fart in the elevator.

I know this because she told me.

So as this boy grows up, he will always think of me as the Person Who Farted in the Elevator (And Then Another Person Boarded the Stink Box and Probably Gagged). I will be thought of this way even if I single-handedly rescue every resident of a four-story burning nursing home or develop the ability to summon marshmallow unicorns with a clap of my hands.



  1. Anonymous12:52 AM

    Marshmallow unicorn summoning just doesn't have the cachet it once did. Farting in elevators, however, remains a classic.

    (I tell myself this because, try though I might, my frantically clapping hands never attract any marshmallows.)

  2. Ah, who wants to be able to magically summon marshamallow unicorns when one can be the object of a tweenaged boy's laughing admiration? That's cooler.

  3. And now I will think about it every time I get on an elevator.

  4. I will now chuckle every time I step onto an empty elevator.

    When my hubby was still only my boyfriend, he'd rip one in the grocery store aisles then flee, leaving me there in the stench and everyone blaming me.

    Actually, he still does it on occasion... Only now he blames the kiddo.

  5. I farted in my office one day. I thought I was safe. No one hardly ever bugs me. Then my boss walked in not even 30 seconds later. My face was hot for HOURS afterward.

  6. Oh, man. You reminded me of the time my husband noisily ripped one at my office Christmas party. Thank God everyone was drunk - they thought it was funny, but now he'll be forever thought of as the 'stinkbomb' who dropped one at my boss' house that Christmas season.

  7. Oh my goodness, Jess, now you'll be a legendary anecdote on the Internet! *G*

  8. Anonymous9:43 PM

    No matter how old you get, you'll always be the Elevator Fart Lady. It's nice to be famous, no?

  9. I do that in bookstores. It's happened too often to be mere coincidence.

  10. Now I know what I'll say when people see me out in the world, reading my copy of RIDING WITH LARRY RESNICK! When they ask about the book, I'll tell them--"It's amazing! And the author? I kind of almost know her...and you'll never believe this..."

    Just kidding. Well, I'll say all that. But I'll leave out the elevator story for all but my closest friends :)

  11. Yeah, I won't forget it, Jess. It's in my brain now. I'll say, I know this author...she's a cut up, especially in elevators.

    Seriously, my husband and his friend share bathroom humor when they get together. His friend, Tony, is a fart machine and enjoys surprise attacks in public. We laugh until we cry! He particularly likes elevators. He'll drop the bomb in a crowded candy store, exit quickly, and watch the customers leave gagging. Sorry to go on, but it's funny as heck!

  12. Just when I thought I couldn't respect you any more than I do already. It's official now... you are my hero.

  13. My husband got tired of my son asking questions all the time regarding where things came from (he's 4)(my son). One day my son asked where he got a new shirt from and my hus said "I got it from the President of the United States". Now if he asks where something comes from that's our answer. So what if it is only funny to us.
    At the hospital where I work I can fart pretty much anywhere and blame it on an incontinent patient.

  14. Oh dear...you're famous...or is that, 'infamous'? ;)

  15. Anonymous6:31 PM

    Dude, that's totally classy. It's not like you farted in line at a Rosie O'Donnell book signing, or a Billy Ray Cyrus concert.