One of the many dilemmas facing parents these days pertains to meal choices, and their consequences.
For example, I avoid granola and bark mulch-based breakfast cereals because they produce in me enormous volumes of gas, which I’m sure you’re delighted to know.
My children, however, who are easily entertained, encourage me to eat massive bowlfuls of the stuff, for the exact same reason I avoid them.
As for consequences, I recently ate a large bowl of this material for breakfast, thinking I had the day off from any meetings, and thus didn’t have to worry about any powerful (public) emissions.
Turns out it was Parent-Teacher Interview day at our children’s school.
My wife had scheduled our interview for 4:30 pm – about the time the full effect of the breakfast cereal would be erupting within me.
Visualize, if you will, the steaming mud pots of Yellowstone Park. Remember porridge burbling in a pot on the stove as a kid? Such were my innards.
The day progressed normally, although city residents did notice a certain increase in wind gusts around noon. Picking the kids up at 2:30, I was truly thankful for power windows, and the absorptive quality of automobile seat cushions.
By 4:30 I was feeling considerable discomfort as my wife and I walked down the deserted hallway to the classroom. Slowing my gait, I surreptitiously scanned both ways, then let fly with a reasonably quiet if long blast which warmed my immediate vicinity several degrees.
Noting how I kept pausing and hiking up my leg, and knowing exactly why, my wife, eyes watering, loudly whispered “Stop that!”
I wish I could have.
We entered the classroom and sat down on the very small, hard plastic chairs that are normal size for 8 year-olds. The bent over posture, combined with my considerable girth, made for a certain pressure being created in my abdominal area – in addition to what was being naturally produced within my digestive system.
My wife and the teacher were chatting amiably as I looked around the classroom. I noticed some pictures and winced. Facing me was a large poster of a swollen hot air balloon. On another wall was a picture of a space shuttle launching.
I pressed my knees together.
Sweat appeared on my brow as I focused on what the teacher was saying, for once in my life.
“Your child is positively bursting with new ideas,” she said.
I crossed my legs.
“She expresses these ideas with some volume in class, and she expands on them very well. She works well under pressure…” she said.
I was getting woozy.
As nonchalantly as possible I rose from my chair, an effort requiring fierce concentration, and slowly wandered to the activity area of the class. I thought if nature took its course I had best protect innocent bystanders from any danger.
It was then the choirs sang and a benevolent light shone upon me. There on a counter were several beakers filled with cloudy fluids and floating layers of scum.
“Mr. Crawford please don’t touch that experim…” the teacher cried, as I deliberately removed one of the corks.
A blessedly dreadful odor, evocative of swamp gas and rotting vegetation, erupted into the room.
Salvation was at hand as I noisily coughed, cleared my throat, re-arranged furniture, and frantically searched for the cork which I had somehow accidentally dropped somewhere.
Teacher Interview Notes: “Mr. Crawford appeared dour at first; perhaps ‘focused’ would be a better term, although as the interview progressed he became almost giddy. By the end he was positively dancing around the class, delighting in everything his children have done. Quite a remarkable father.”
“Note: Talk to the janitor about watering the plants more frequently. I noticed them wilting after today’s interviews.”