When I was growing up, I thought the worst and most embarrassing thing that could ever happen to me was throwing up in class. Having got that one out of the way in the sixth grade, I thought I was in the clear. I mean, I had already called my teacher Mommy (first grade), peed my pants (second grade), had my chair pulled out from underneath me just as I was about to sit (fourth grade), and learned the importance of remembering to put on deodorant (fifth grade). In my pubescent logic, short of getting a boner while giving a presentation or talking with Miss Grenier (the hot Language Arts teacher with a huge rack), what else could happen?
As it turns out, there was something else.
On the day in question, I woke up to some intestinal grumbling. I was late getting up, so I had no choice but to ignore it. I showered and dressed, wolfed down some Cheerio's, and was out the door. I contained a few more peals of gut-thunder before my father dropped me off at school, and all in all, it was much like any other day in seventh grade.
Halfway through first period geography, I excused myself to the bathroom. I was hoping that whatever conflict was going on with my stomach would resolve itself quickly. I waited quietly in the stall in the empty boy's room, sitting on the cold plastic toilet seat. After a few minutes of silence, it seemed like nothing was going to happen. I buttoned up and washed my hands, and hoped it was all over. I had gym next period, and the last thing I wanted to be doing was laps on the track with a stomach on a hair trigger.
By the start of gym, though, the rumbling had returned. I stalled in the locker room for as long as I could, hoping it would go away as it had before. The pressure did subside, but it felt like something dangerous had lingered behind. I joined the rest of my class, holding my stomach gingerly as the Coach talked about the day's activity. He gruffly told us to separate into groups and do some general fitness exercises... sit-ups, push-ups, chin-ups, vertical jumps, sit-and-reach... pretty much everything that an overweight teenager would fail miserably at.
I painfully went through all of the required exercises, and the Coach kept track of every one's progress on his clipboard. I always hated the way he looked at me when he would jot down my less-than-average score. My stomach gurgled and groaned the entire time, and I was thankful that the gym was loud enough to cover up the sound. I saved the sit-ups for last, and paired off with my best friend to complete them.
We small-talked our way through his mandatory 30 sit-ups, and by the time it was my turn the period was almost over. The Coach, ever mindful to make sure no one escaped his rule without breaking a sweat, yelled at me to make sure that I "hustled" and did my thirty sit-ups. I groaned inwardly as my stomach groaned outwardly, and laid down on the mat.
Just as I had for him, my friend held down my feet while I grunted through the first ten or so. I could feel my face getting red and the sweat beading down my forehead, but I pushed on with determination. My friend was prattling on about something, and soon I was a mere five sit-ups away from being done when my stomach tensed up.
I had no time to react, no time to warn my friend, no time to even think about stopping what was going to happen next. The event that I had waited impatiently for in the bathroom twice so far that day was coming to pass, and there was nothing I could do about it.
As I leaned forward to complete the sit-up, I farted.
It was the fart of my life, a champion fart, a gold-medal winner. It was a five-second foghorn, propelled from my ass with the force of a category five hurricane. My ass cheeks slapped together violently and painfully, the expulsion of air bursting through the cloth of my pants with such ferocity that at first I thought I they had ripped. It echoed in the hard-walled gym, loud enough to make everyone stop what they were doing. Even the unshakable Coach turned his head. My friend, caught off guard by the assault, let go of my feet and fell backwards.
At that moment, with complete and utter silence reigning in the room and all the eyes of my peers focused heavily on me, I noticed the smell.
Simply put, it was horrible. It made my eyes water and my mouth seethe. It was so bad I could almost taste it. My stomach lurched and somersaulted, and I feared the stench was bad enough that it could be seen, clinging to the air in a noxious, green cloud.
With my friend no longer holding my feet down, I tumbled over onto my side. At that, the silence in the room broke with laughter, and I got to my feet. Their laughter covered the sound of the aftershock farts that came out then, but they were so minute in comparison to what had just transpired. I looked over to my friend to see him kneeling on the floor, coughing and waving his hand in front of his face. I felt so bad for him, having received that cannonball of methane gas right in the face. My face was hot and red, and just when I thought was going to burst into tears from sheer embarrassment, the bell signaling the end of the period rang.
I expected the rest of the day to be full of ridicule and pointed fingers, but my gym-class mat-slapping flatulence was back page news compared to the kid who had crapped himself in the gym class just before mine. I felt bad for the other kid, but fortunate that the spotlight had shifted away from me. Junior high is rough enough without something like that on your record.
As one could guess, that monster fart was the source of my ailment earlier in the day. Letting loose the demon made me feel so much better, and I was glad for it.
Even if it cost me any chance I had of a girlfriend until high school.