The perils of brain flatulence

by Ken Carpenter

            Science, in its infinite wisdom, can come up with a technical term for any act or condition. “Maladaptive brain activity change” is the scientific term for the phenomenom known as “brain farts”, the curse of the human male species.

            While I personally have witnessed evidence of female brain gas, it is men who are most commonly associated with it. Fair or not, after yesterday I guess I have to agree that men are the brain gas kings. I may be the king of kings, a position not exactly to my liking. If only they had Beano for the brain.

            It is defined as a special kind of abnormal brain activity which results in human error while performing a repetitive task, or more generally denoting a degree of mental laxity or any task-related forgetfulness.

An international team of researchers, apparently obsessed with gassy minds, identified activity detectable up to 30 seconds before a mistake, the brain flatus, occurs. They suspect the brain is trying to save effort on a task by entering a more restful state.

So it might be argued that brain wind is attempting the admirable, saving effort that might later be used more productively, but it is led astray from the land of milk and honey by the perpetual stench of stupid behavior.

My Saturday morning last summer started innocently enough, an eye opening not inspired by a grisly nightmare, the 8-legged tread of a bed spider, a dog butt in the face or a “Honey, wake up, the coffee pot exploded!” I just woke up, lay there peacefully while the three little dogs jockeyed for kissing space, and let my, for now, harmless brain engage.

The smell of Canadian, Kicking Horse, Kick Ass coffee lured me out of bed and into the kitchen. My first chore, however, after one quick slurp of coffee, was to take the dogs for their morning stroll to get the morning paper.

All four of them danced around my feet on the way to the front gate; Sadie the Wiener Dog, Jezebel the Yorkie, Molly the Bouvier and Andy the Papillon. About $3000 worth of purebreds if we bought them, but free for the likes of us, suckers with little willpower who can cave in with one lap of a love starved tongue.

            As I bent over to attach the leash to Andy’s collar, Jez did her duty and leaped to try and yank my shorts down past my knees. She failed and happily danced away as I swatted at her. She pantsed me once halfway to the paper box with half a dozen witnesses across the railroad tracks, then ran circles around me as I struggled to pull them up without losing hold of Andy’s leash. It was her proudest moment.

            Andy needs the leash because if he gets off it outside the gate he becomes his alter ego, Bastardo, who is powered by a crazed desire to inspect every inch of at least five neighbors’ property.

            I leashed him,opened the gate, and we headed down the drive. Jez zipped 90 miles an hour, Sadie hobbled, Molly gimped, and Andy tried to pull me off my feet. I managed to stay upright, and after retrieving the paper from its nest we headed over to the empty mill parking lot for the dogs to stretch their legs and sniff every inch in search of crumbs.

            Jez suddenly went into hyper mode, speeding around the rest of us, zipping up and down the little hills, expending every ounce of energy she could while she could, grinning from ear to ear. Andy watched her intently, talking to me in his pleading voice, and I experienced Brain Flatus #1 of the day. I convinced myself that Andy would charge around after Jez and not turn into Bastardo the Invader.

            As soon as he was off the leash, he ran three or four steps toward Jez, took a hard 90 degree turn, and Bastardoed his way up the street. Jez followed, loving the new game.

Sadie, Molly and I shuffled home, knowing that the Mama of the house would give the Pappy of the house “that look”, the one that makes a 61-year old man suddenly feel like a 5-year old. The dogs have an internal receptor for it too.

            Jez returned in five minutes and Bastardo in 20, no harm done and possibly even a lesson learned. My brain smirked at me when I thought that, for it believes in the “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” line. Arf, arf!

            When I was finally able to sit down with my hair-stiffening coffee, I decided a cookie would be good with it. I went to the ‘fridge and grabbed the Lil Debbie box out out of it, taking one to my wife Joy and telling her it was a Geek Cookie, Brain Flatus #2.

            She voiced doubt that it was a Geek Cookie, so I marched indignantly back to prove it with the box. Imagine my surprise when I saw that the container said Zebra Cookies, but it was sitting next to a Greek Yogurt. Joy cackled so long, the dogs caught on and threw in their own version of a cackle. I quietly chugged three cups of coffee. (Note from Joy: I DO NOT cackle!)

A couple hours later we pulled into the gas pumps at the Moyie Store, where we were to meet my son and his family and fuel up. Brain Flatus numbers 3 and 4 took place within five minutes of each other, soon after I parked at the pumps.

First, I couldn’t get the pump to work and the kind lady inside had to come out and show the bumpkin how to get it on. Then I stood too close to the filler tube on the car and when the tank filled up I got gas all over the toes of my sneakers.

The car smelled like a fuel tanker all the way to Troy, and I started to have misgivings about our excursion. If I was not mistaken, Joy may have been too.

 We made it to Roosevelt Park on the Kootenai River in Troy in one piece, though I handed the car keys over to Joy and told her she could drive the rest of the day. She took the keys with relief, aware that gawking around would be the order of my day.

We all ambled down to the boat ramp and peacefully listened to the river flow by. A middle-aged man was positioning his pontoon boat out of the way so he could drive his truck back up the ramp.

“You picked a nice day to be on the river,” I said.

He agreed, but voiced concern that it would get over 90 degrees again like the day before.

Brain Flatus #5 then bulled its way to my tongue. “Yeah, yesterday afternoon was miserable at work,” I replied. “I was so hot I could have squeezed a cup of sweat out of my underwear when quitting time finally came.”

The surprise on the stranger’s face was matched only by the mortification on Joy’s. I was standing there going “What?” to myself. Yes, I guess I cross lines without even knowing I do.

Our time at the outstanding park (I wish Bonners had its equivilant) was fun and boobery free. So was the rest of the trip to Libby and home, if you eliminate an accidental toot in Shopko. OK, Brain Flatus #6.

When we finally got home, we were beat but happy, and took a 2-hour nap. I got up first and decided to go feed and water the goats and chickens. We had some carrots that were too old in the ‘fridge, so I took them out as a treat for the goaties.

I flipped open my folding knife, thug style, and holding a carrot up in the air I started whacking pieces off to fly over the fence. It is the old male ninja fantasy, and I was doing fine until I missed my mark by three inches and almost sliced off the end of my thumb.

Brain Flatus #7, which gets three bonus points to put it up to Number 10, resulted in a trip to the ER and six stitches, including two through the nail.

The general consensus was that , it wasn’t Brain Flatus #7 at all, I was attacked by a murderous carrot. It was a massacre, I tell ya, a massacre!