Why are we talking about fart jokes? Well, because right now there’s a pandemic and people are dying and economies are crashing and there’s a lot of pain out there. Throughout history, people have been in pain, lived and died, faced wars, pandemics, economic uncertainty, loss of freedom, a lack of human rights.
And throughout history there have been fart jokes. As writers and humans, it’s good to think about that.
The oldest joke in recorded history? It was a fart joke. Flatulence is almost always funny unless it is a joke told by Ancient Sumerians, maybe?
Here’s the joke:
“Something which has never occurred since time immemorial; a young woman did not fart in her husband’s lap.”
I am going to be honest here. I don’t get it.
The oldest British Joke is this one from 10th Century—“What hangs at a man’s thigh and wants to poke the hole that it’s often poked before? Answer: A key.”
Those naughty Anglo-Saxons, you can tell Shaun’s related to them. Notice their joke is not about farts, but a twist on something anatomical, a set-up and a reversing of expectation.
Jokes are often about rebellion and not caring about cultural taboos, right?
The superiority theory says that we laugh when we feel “sudden glory,” as Thomas Hobbes put it – a sudden sense of superiority over a person, especially someone to whom we ordinarily feel inferior. Cases of slapstick humor, such as the pie-in-the-face or someone slipping on a banana peel, fall into this category.
Kant and Schopenhauer argued on behalf of the incongruity theory, which says we laugh at the juxtaposition of things that don’t ordinarily go together, such as a talking dog or a bearded woman.
And relief theorists like Spencer and Freud maintain that laughter is how we relieve nervous tension regarding subjects or situations that are socially taboo or inappropriate. This explains the popular appeal of jokes based on sex, ethnicity and religion.
“Your screen freezes. There’s a weird echo. A dozen heads stare at you. There are the work huddles, the one-on-one meetings and then, once you’re done for the day, the hangouts with friends and family.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic hit, we’re on video calls more than ever before – and many are finding it exhausting.”
Jiang talked to experts and learned that video chats are hard and tiring because our brains have to go into overtime to understand non verbal cues, the pitch of a voice, and so on. The silence that happens is not natural. It makes us anxious. A 1.2 second delay in response makes people think that you are a jerk.
And most of us are not reality tv stars and we see our face and we feel watched. It is like we are on stage.
And the calls remind us of how weird these circumstances are. We do not get to hang out with our friends or our coworkers and these video calls remind us of that and not only that the bubbles of our lives (work, family, friends, school) are suddenly all in the same physical space. That can weird us out.
So tell fart jokes if it is appropriate. Turn off the video if they let you. Put your screen to the side instead of the front of you. Build space around the meetings if you can. And breathe.
Try to remember the value that happens in humor and connections and fart jokes.
Writing Tip of the Pod
Fart jokes last longer than most other things, just like farts.
Dog Tip For Life
Right now, we need more fart jokes and less Zoom meetings. We need to engage with the people we’re isolated with and notice the nuance, the pauses, the gaps.
The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song? It’s “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.
I have a new book out!!!!!! It’s an adult mystery set in the town where we live, which is Bar Harbor, Maine. You can order it here. And you totally should.
THIS IS WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Rosie Jones, small town reporter and single mom, is looking forward to her first quiet Maine winter with her young daughter, Lily. After a disastrous first marriage, she’s made a whole new life and new identities for her and her little girl. Rosie is more than ready for a winter of cookies, sledding, stories about planning board meetings, and trying not to fall in like with the local police sergeant, Seamus Kelley.
But after her car is tampered with and crashes into Sgt. Kelley’s cruiser during a blizzard, her quiet new world spirals out of control and back into the danger she thought she’d left behind. One of her new friends is murdered. She herself has been poisoned and she finds a list of anagrams on her dead friend’s floor.
As the killer strikes again, it’s obvious that the women of Bar Harbor aren’t safe. Despite the blizzard and her struggle to keep her new identity a secret, Rosie sets out to make sure no more women die. With the help of the handsome but injured Sgt. Kelley and the town’s firefighters, it’s up to Rosie to stop the murderer before he strikes again.
It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed!
Order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?
I’m still revising ANOTHER NOW, which is a big time travel story. It is killing me.
AND FINALLY, MY NEW PATREON STORY
And over on Patreon, I’m starting a new story this week! It’s a chapter a month if you want to check it out. It basically costs $1 a month to listen to my story and $3 a month to read it. There’s a new chapter every week. It’s super fun; I promise. Here’s an excerpt.
Share this if you want and also because it would be super nice of you!