“The Burp”, and other gassy tales

by Ken Carpenter

The sweet, innocent act of burping a baby is something even the most sensitive soul could not take offense at. Add 10 years or more to the baby’s life, magnify the milky little burp a few times, and just stand back a few paces and wait for the disgust and indignation to fill the air along with the gassy vapors of the burp.          

            Of course, it depends on the crowd. Some people, especially the young, take great pride in their ability to rattle the windows with their belches. They could care less that their eruption could be the direct cause of someone’s delicate sensibilities to flounder, or their stomach to flip flop.

            There seems to be some dispute about the decibel level of the loudest recorded burp, though all are attributed to the same Englishman. He has cut loose numerous burps that measured between 107 to 118 decibels, so he’s either as loud as a lawn mower, a chainsaw or a jackhammer from 3.5 feet away.

            If I go to England I hope I don’t end up in the same pub he frequents. I have enough trouble with my hearing without getting my eardrums blown out by a gaseous bloke in search of attention.

            Scientists have supposedly proven that it is humanly possible for a belch to reach 170 decibels, equal to a fighter jet. It seems to me they could turn their attentions to something else, like maybe how to grow more food in a smaller area.

            An Italian woman delivered the longest recorded burp, and I’m sure her children were very proud. It lasted 73 seconds. I wonder if she uses it for self-defense, I know it would scare me off.

            An audible belching of the English alphabet, presented in 4.9 seconds, was witnessed in 2010. Once again, I think of the time wasted in practicing for such an act. Then again, they are semi-famous and I’m not.

            A fellow called Freek Galloo put himself on YouTube, claiming to crank out 145 burps in one minute. I listened to it for about 20 seconds, this research thing really sucks sometimes, and he sounded like the clicking of a cricket to me. Sorry Freek, no points for burp.    

            Another guy on YouTube did 110, another 20 seconds of woeful research, and they actually qualified as tiny belches. I don’t know if he is the legal owner of the record, but I refuse to listen to anymore so in my book he is welcome to it.

            Some geek claims to hold the world record for the most burps in ten seconds while holding a dog, 43, but you can’t prove it by me for I refused to watch it. YouTube is a very sick place, and I hate to watch humiliation on a dog’s face.

            Eructation is another word for burp, if you feel inclined to belch fancily. Be sure to keep your pinkie out when doing it.

            Burping is considered a compliment to the chef in Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Sweden, China and too many other countries to name. Don’t do it at the local Denny’s though, unless one of your snooty old enemies is in the next booth. It is acceptable then, and if you can somehow blame them, better yet!

            In my family, there is only one burp story, only one true burp in history. It took place in the late 50’s, in the waiting room of the gracious and legendary Dr. Bowell. His office was in downtown Bonners Ferry, on the second floor of what is now the McCoy’s building.

            My Mom, brother, sister and I were all sitting next to each other in the crowded room, must have been flu season. Suddenly the middle-aged cowboy across from us ripped out the most monumental, earth shattering, stupefying belch in the history of mankind. I am confident that no woolly mammoth ever cranked out anything to compare.

            Not only was everybody startled into utter silence, every kid in the place was absolutely terrified by the unearthly qualities of this gastric expulsion of air. A baby squalled in horror and my siblings and I quickly smothered Mom by trying to fit three kids into a one-kid lap.

            Our eyes were wide and we just did not know what to expect next. Had a three-headed kangaroo walked in the door right then, we would not have batted an eye. It would have seemed piddly next to such a burp.

            The cowboy had a huge Adam’s Apple and its bobbing was about the only movement in the room. We felt sure it was working up another one, and I’m sure we would have fled the room if one had arrived.

            Luckily there was no encore, and you never saw so many relieved faces and heavy sighs when the cowboy was the next one called in. Our shaking came to a halt, but our eyes remained wide and our faces pale for another hour.

            Our family still speaks in hushed tones when we discuss “The Burp”.

            Now I know that the scientists I belittled before for studying burps were right too; if “The Burp” wasn’t 170 decibels, I’m a three-headed kangaroo.