Why outlawing farting could cause a stink…

Monday, September 23rd, 2019 00:00 |

Former Nakuru North MP Dickson Kihika Kimani was famous for his acerbic tongue. He was also known for his wisecracks and quips, which gave journalists, yours truly included, incredible sound bytes and quotes.

For instance, when Kihika heard that someone wanted to buy his Peugeot 504, he remarked: “Arenda kugura gakari gaka nduire thuragiria?” (He wants to buy this car, in which I have been farting?).

To this day, I am unable to decide if farting was cited as a good or bad thing, but that is beside the point. It is a debate we can have another day.

Let us just say that in all the sittings we had together, along with scores of Nakuru scribes then, we may have been enormously lucky not to have encountered any such olfactory offence from the man.

Shift weight

Away from honourable flatulence, I recall a student in my days in high school who was famous for his antics. He could prance like a peacock one moment and in the next, bob up and down like the Tom and Jerry cartoon characters.

But Mwega was most (un) popular for his afternoon charades, which included releasing absolutely noxious fumes that rose slowly to the ceiling and stayed there for long, agonising minutes.

Now, on a hot afternoon, that was pure torture. His farts were as nasty as his jokes were entertaining.

I am not sure if he had read Elechi Amadi’s The Concubine, where the knock-kneed, big-eyed Wodu Wakiri, the village wag, would choose a gathering of his age mates, lift one bottom, and gently break wind, as the author puts it. 

That is precisely what Mwega would do. He would shift his weight on one bottom, and the next thing you knew, he would grin, having released an almighty, silent, deadly fart that permeated every corner of the classroom.

A few months from now, what Kihika and Mwega used to do would be considered an offence. Possibly. Yes, you heard right.

A suggestion by Rangwe MP Dr. Lilian Gogo that farting in planes should be outlawed stinks to the high heavens. Can you believe it?

Add statutes

Listen to her: “If there is any one given irritant that makes people fight on board, it is the fart, it is terrible within the plane.” And she said that in Parliament, in those exact words. Haiya!

You know what that means. You could be seated in a restaurant, minding your business and lapping up the contents of your plate. Just when you fart, a passing waiter could pick the stink and call the police.

Supposing this piece of nonsense actually becomes law. Just in case. How would anyone prove that the fart was yours and that it caused offence? What if two or three people fart at the same time in the same setting? How would anyone distinguish between the farts?

I thought our law enforcement agencies have enough problems figuring potential bank robbers and law-breakers for worse offences (than just farting). But no, we have to add statutes that would provide comic relief or nuisance value. Or both.

Any laws about farts would actually cause a stink. Even in the literal sense. Why? Cops would have to be trained to sniff farts. Dr.  Gogo thinks aircraft crew could be trained to combat this menace. Ha! She did not give details but this would be very, very interesting!

I can imagine victims of this piece of law challenging their accusers in court. So, where would the evidence be? And how would farts be described?

Just so we are on the same page, there was a similar proposal in Malawi a few years ago. It ended up being just hot air if you know what I mean.

Walk away

And farts come in varieties, at least from my experience (as a victim). Some types rumble, startling the culprit and drawing curious, not-so-friendly stares.

There is another type that meows like a cat. Those present screw their faces, wondering about an unseen cat. They even look under tables and chairs. The culprit puts on a straight face and pretends all is well: that is how you know who did it.

There is the most lethal type, what is referred to as nuclear because it merely hisses, and you need to have extraordinary hearing to discern it. This one, you just smell it and your first reaction is to walk away to some open space for some relief.

Have a flatulence-free week, folks! – The writer is Special Projects Editor, People Daily [email protected]

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