Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Nine Facts You Need to Know About Le Pétomane

A preface: I am 100 percent not pulling your leg with this. I originally wrote “I am not shitting you,” but that seemed weird given the context and you’ll understand shortly.

One: There really, really was a man who in the late nineteenth century began wowing Parisians crowds with his farts.

Two: Okay, I know, but I swear this is not made up. His stage name, Le Pétomane is a blend of the French verb péter, “to fart,” and a suffix similar to our word maniac, so basically there were French marquees advertising performances by The Fart Monster.

Three: Though it may seem hard to believe, there exist more than one word to refer to this line of work — among them, flatulist, farteur and fartiste.

Four: Le Pétomane achieved his amazing feats of fart not though the means that we common men acquire our farts but through “inhaling” air into his rectum and then expelling it at will.

Five: He discovered this unique ability while swimming in the ocean, when he found that he could suck sea water into his body. And though that seems like a bad idea to invite sea water into any of your orifices, he did it repeatedly, expelling it out in high-pressure bursts to the delight of his chums.

Six: Upon explaining the newfound ability to his doctor, the doctor was all, “Nah, you’re cool.” And then he went merrily tooting on his way, and I mean that literally.

Six: He left his job as a baker to pursue a career onstage. What seems more notable, however, is that he apparently was not forced to abandon his job as a baker because the townspeople stopped buying fart-tainted fart pastries made by The Fart Monster of Fart Street.

Seven: He could allegedly imitate musical instruments. I wonder how well he could actually do this and if his fanny orchestra consisted of more than just horns.

Eight: Le Pétomane quit his career when World War I so saddened him that he no longer saw a value in farting onstage. I find this ironic, because it’s during trying times that a nation needs fart-based entertainment most.

Nine: And the real kicker, to me, would be that Le Pétomane’s given name was Joseph Pujol. It is perhaps the most apt aptronym ever, for what better way to underscore the fact that his path to fame led directly through his butt?

Source: Wikipedia. No, just Wikipedia. I know, I know. I did enough checking to determine that he really did exist, but I actually don’t care if the whole article is the result of an elaborate prank. I got more out of reading it — and then explaining it to you — than I have from most other text I’ve read in recent memory. I’m claiming no journalistic integrity here. I feel I don’t need to, see, because it’s about a man who farted onstage.

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