The snart

November 29, 2021

   Living through your 70s is mostly a time of experiencing new diminishments of one’s physical and mental capabilities. It can take as long to get out of a chair as it does to remember what you had for dinner the previous night, for instance. Your gait begins to resemble Tin Man’s in the rain. 9:00 p.m. begins to feel more like midnight. Naps become spontaneous, and as numerous as trips to the bathroom.

   But the other day, something happened with my body that had never happened before. And it was something very good, I think. At precisely the same moment, I sneezed and farted. (I’ve sneezed and then farted, but a simultaneous eructation, where the one is not the cause of the other, was something quite new for me.) At first it felt like the discovery of a new skill, like suddenly being able to pat your head and rub your tummy, or make your ears move by themselves. I’m calling it the “snart.”

   Mind you, both sneezing and farting are pleasant enough experiences on their own. But a snart seems to add a whole new level of pleasure. In the moment immediately following the dual eruption, coming as they did at both the upper and lower parts of my anatomy, I felt an euphoria, a kind of extra-terrestrial weightlessness, a most bearable lightness of being that I’d never experienced before. For a brief moment, I was a balloon on the rise. The sneeze came with its usual full explosive expression that startled Carol, yet completely concealed the trumpeting fart from her awareness. I didn’t have to excuse myself, yet I did out of habit. Carol said, “You don’t have to excuse yourself for a sneeze.” I thought I’d discovered the perfect disguise. Elated, I’d even found, in that instance, what it meant to simply and serenely trust a fart.

At first it felt like the discovery of a new skill, like suddenly being able to pat your head and rub your tummy, or make your ears move by themselves. I’m calling it the “snart.”

   Upon reflection, though, I realized there were two problems with my new found capability. First, I don’t nearly sneeze as often as I fart, and I can’t just conjure a sneeze out of thin air when I need it. To say nothing of any kind of sneeze being able to cover for one of my infamous SBDs. And no sneeze should ever permit me trusting a fart on a regular basis.

   So outside of the occasional parlor trick late in the evening of a party (say, following a twerking exhibition) I don’t see much use for this skill going forward. Still, it’s been refreshing to know my body is capable of new and exciting things, even as it continues its natural aging process. It’s got me thinking about what else might be in store for this otherwise deteriorating body of mine. Will I wake up one day and find hair growing where it should, rather than where it shouldn’t?

   That’s not a pipedream. In my last eye exam, I found my nearsightedness and farsightedness had more or less reversed themselves, and I could see better far away, but now needed reading glasses. The doctor told me that happens as we age.

   Carol now has her fingers crossed.

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