11 June 2006

Top 10 Reasons Not to Fart in an Elevator (or, why passing gas is sometimes a lot like passing prose)

N.B. For those who stumble on this post, its contents respond to Kass Fleisher's recent post "Art|Politics|Beauty|Power," where, at the end, she writes...

"other than that, can we just have a moratorium on the list thing? unless we can manage, say, Top Ten Reasons Not to Fart in an Elevator...etc...."

And so,

10. Because while farting is often strangely appreciated (although often unacknowledged) by the sender, cracking wind in front of others can be taken as an insult.

9. Unlike an escalator, where people and their ideas move mostly in a linear manner, from point A to point B (unless one gets her shoelaces caught in the mechanism), an elevator is an enclosed space where riders assiduously avoid each other’s bodies.

8. For what may be beautiful to one rider (the sender), in the presence of others may be taken with horror—as in the terror of the Kantian sublime.

7. Because beauty and truth in writing, while eloquent and meaningful and etc, become shot full of shit once someone cuts the elevator cable and a boxful of strangers plunge to their deaths. And when this happens, of course, the ventilation stops working.

6. When Willy Wonka launches the great glass elevator into the sky, above his candy empire, the last thing he wants is to be reminded that Charlie stole “fizzy lifting drinks.”

5. Because with 99 ways to tells the same story, how many of those aren’t visual? Letting it all out after a plate of beans would simply confuse the issue through another sensory dimension.

4. If power were a discussion to be had over a sophisticated intellectual dinner atop a high-rise building, the gaseous passage of such contents through the bowels in a downward moving elevator at the close of the meal would surely never be mistaken, by those guests not privy to the previous conversation, for a suitable dessert.

3. Humankind has never produced a working elevator; rather, the government “produces” elevator shots in Area 51, and thus, the act in question is technically impossible.

2. In 1853, when American inventor Elisa Otis invented the brake that would stop an elevator with failed cable from falling unfettered (see # 7, anyway), public confidence in the devices increased—and thus, the modern skyscraper rose over the typhoid-sodden streets of Chicago New York London Paris. Had Otis focused on flatulence, instead, as his primary concern, because you didn’t know enough to keep a tight lid on things, well, then, we’d have never reached the astounding heights of present-day narrative (for where would our publishers house themselves?).

1. In other words, elevators, of course, don’t exist when we write about them, anymore than truth, beauty, originality, genius, authorship, or the other methane-filled constellations of fickle word winds swirling—a vortex of reeking syllables—through the lost shafts of the descending colon.

0. Even so, all in good fun, you may smell something untoward emanating from your motherboard.