A Letter to My Dog, Half Pint

This last year may have been the worst one of my life, but at least I've got the world's two greatest dogs by my side to help me stagger into 2018. Today's post features a letter to Half Pint. Benjamin will be getting a letter later this week--he'd never let me hear the end of it, otherwise. Also, this posts features a lot of short video clips of Half Pint being silly. Since I apparently can't do anything right these days, they are exclusively shot in vertical mode. Please accept my apologies (and cut me some friggin' slack).

Lessons Learned the Hard Way: If you are on a bus full of school children, "sneaking" a fart is impossible

During my first year of teaching, the chorus instructor at our school took me under her wing and helped me to avoid many of the pitfalls and disasters that happen to a lot of rookies in our profession. One of her greatest contributions (which I still use today) was when she showed me how to plan and run a field trip. While I have yet to achieve her level of insane attention to detail (my students do not memorize the emergency contact number to the tune of an obscure Jimmy Buffet song), it has helped me to continue having successful field trips with my middle school band program.

As part of my training during that first year on the job, the chorus teacher had me help chaperone her group's trip to Florida, which turned out to be a dream job: Well behaved kids, no performances to worry about, and 4 days worth of amusement parks.

Responsibility is awesome!

Unfortunately, the job also entailed eating copious amounts of amusement park food, which can in turn cause copious amounts of pooping and gas. But since amusement parks and hotels have plenty of bathrooms, this isn't really too much of a problem.  

On a 7 hour bus ride, however, things are a bit more complex.  

As we began our drive back from Orlando to Charleston, my bowels had spared me the need to brave the instability of a charter bus bathroom stall to drop a deuce. The build up of gas, however, had definitely become an issue.

An issue with life or death consequences for the people on our bus.

Now normally, I have no issue with letting one rip around family and friends. But middle school students and adult chaperons (who I had just met 4 days ago), were a very different story. And so as each urge to unleash the fury hit me, I gritted my teeth, squirmed in my chair, and held it in.

Eventually, the unbearable pressure that had built up along Interstate 95 had gotten me into the bargaining stage. I decided that if I slowly and carefully released the pent up gas, I could safely and silently provide myself with some much needed relief. I was seated at the front of the bus and many of the students were listening to their Ipods or asleep; even if I accidentally released a squeaker, the offense could easily be denied or the blame passed to nearby child.

I lifted my leg, took a deep breath...and completely succeeded based on the criteria of the fart being silent and of an untraceable origin. Unfortunately, I had not considered the "deadly" part of the silent flatulent equation.

There were two factors that clued me in to the fact that this would be a particularly noxious release of gas:

1. The air escaping from my large intestine was so hot that it burned on the way out. It felt as if my butt had been repurposed as a flame thrower.

2. While I had expected the release to be weak and to only last a few moments, it in fact lasted for nearly 30 seconds while steadily increasing in speed and intensity.  

At the 20 second mark, my surprise (and subtle yet strong sense of pride) turned into horror when I realized that this was happening in an enclosed space...and spreading. The two students behind me were the first ones to be hit.

"AWWW!!! Was that you?!" the boy snapped at his friend as he pulled off his headphones.  

"No man!" the friend responded through his t-shirt, which was now pulled up over his nose. "Is that even a fart? What the heck is that smell?!"

I quickly turned back around and tried to remain calm.

"Maybe they will be the only ones that smell it," I thought. That was when the chaperone seated across from me (who had been reading a book) suddenly made a gagging sound and also pulled her shirt up over her nose.

At that point, I knew things were going to be bad. Kids will always overreact to even the possibility or perception of someone passing gas...but a fellow adult having a violent physical reaction was confirmation that this one was the real deal.

Shirt over nose:  The universal symbol for a fart victim in distress.

I watched in horror as the students two seats behind me and behind the chaperone turned to each other, screamed, and pulled their shirts up over their noses. When it reached row three, one student actually woke up due to the smell wafting into their nostrils. I guess that the screams from their friends in front of them could have been what roused the student from her slumber, but most people don't suddenly awaken with their faces scrunched up while violently coughing and gasping for clean air.

By this point I had completely turned around in my seat to observe the destruction that I had wrought. My shirt was also pulled up over my nose, but not because of any adverse reaction to the biological weapon that I had unleashed; I not only was free of suspicion, but I couldn't even smell my own creation.  Instead, my shirt was pulled over my face to hide my uncontrollable laughter as I watched the fart travel from the the front of the bus all the way to the back.  

As my flatulent continued it's path of nasal assault down the aisle, chaperone and student alike screamed in agony. One chaperone got up from his seat and quickly headed for the front of the bus, hoping to find breathable air. About 5 steps into his journey, he realized that he was heading closer to the source, turned around, and collapsed back into his chair.

There's no escape!


After 60 more seconds of wailing and gnashing of teeth, the students and the chaperones finally regained the ability to breathe, settled down, and began feverishly questioning and accusing each other of hotboxing the entire bus. Any boy that wore clothes from the "husky" section at Sears spent the rest of the trip home taking the blame for my crime.

Since we we had taken multiple buses and my teaching mentor was on another one, she only heard about "some kid letting out an awful fart on Bus 5." She never knew that the "kid" was me...until now, I guess. (Sorry, Pam).  

While I would normally brag about such an accomplishment with any reservations, I honestly did feel a little guilty about this one. I also learned that no matter how careful you are, there is no safe way to let out and/or hide a fart on a bus full of kids. It's best just to hold it in and be irritable for the rest of the trip.

Or the truck drivers of America can provide you with some quick cover.

Please feel free to leave a comment below. If you'd like to sing my praises or tell me how terrible I am more personally, I can also be found on Twitter.

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