Letting Another Take the Blame · 28 November 2009

I can not believe I let some stranger take the blame for my odor. Not just some stranger, some kid. (Yes, another fart story. Sorry, but not sorry enough to curb myself from writing it.)

Our middle child, Thing 2, and I were going on The Dragon at Legoland. There were only five people in line with us – a lady and four kids. Now, if you have not been to The Dragon at Legoland, you would not know that the entrance to the ride is like a cave. And if you were not there that day, you would not know that the breeze was coming into the cave. As Thing 2 and I came into the entrance to the cave, I had to pass gas. I did not consider the wind direction as I let my body do its thing and so the odor came with us as we entered the cave which was the staging area for the ride. I realized my mistake when Thing 2 and I stopped. Thing 2 was oblivious to everything except for the fact that we were going on a rollercoaster for the second time in a row. It was great! Especially since we had to wait about half an hour for many of the rides in the park and had waited an hour or more for one of the earlier rides. Being hyper-focused, Thing 2 did not smell a thing in the cave. If he had, the incident might never have taken place. I would have had to take responsibility had my own son accused me.

Odor dissipates in three dimensions when it can. That is why in the open, not that many people notice when somebody farts. However, in confined spaces like a car, everybody knows almost immediately when gas is passed. The odor actually takes a second or so to get to everybody, but the concentration of smell hangs around for more than a bit. Apparently, a cave with a breeze entering acts like a closed space too. As I passed gas, the walls, floor, and ceiling acted as five boundaries for the stench. The wind acted as a sixth and kept much of the odor concentrated as it passed my son and me to the hapless lady, four kids, and ride attendant.

I am a proponent of people taking responsibility for their own actions. I preach it to my own kids and to my students all the time. I tell them that they all need to fess up to their misdeeds and suffer the consequences. And I do a pretty good job of living that credo most of the time. Sadly, I did not live up to my ideal that day. Instead, as the fart traveled beyond us in its highly concentrated form, I let a young boy take the blame for my lack of body function control.

The lady was the first to notice the smell. She grabbed her nose to pinch out the smell and exclaimed, “Ew!” She waved her hand to try and rid her area of the foul stench. She also immediately pointed accusingly at the young boy in their group who must have been the usual perpetrator of such bodily odors. “Did you do that?”

The innocent boy shrugged his shoulders and held his palms upward as he faced his accuser and asked, “What?” He took and held this stance when the attendant waved his hand and joined in the accusation. The boy just denied any wrong doing again and again, “It wasn’t me.”

If either the lady or the ride attendant had looked at me, I would like to think that I would have taken the responsibility for my actions. But I may have just shrugged my shoulders and acted innocent. As it was, I just stayed silent and let the boy take the blame and ridicule. After all, nobody asked for my advice. Even a couple years later, I still feel guilty that I did not step in to protect the boy either. I just let him take the persecution until we were all allowed to step up to the gates that would open when we were allowed to enter the ride.

Even as we stood there waiting for The Dragon, I contemplated telling the lady that the odor was mine. I even thought about it much of the ride, but my guilt was not great enough to dim my enjoyment of the ride. Or make me fess up. Still, I must write this story as an apology to the unfortunate and helpless young man whose innocence I did not affirm with my confession in the face of his biased accusers. I am sorry that I did not live up to my own ideals of responsibility and accountability.

If you are the young man who took the blame for my stench at The Dragon, I hope you will forgive me for what happened that day. However, if it happened again, I might still let you take the blame.

© 2009 Michael T. Miyoshi

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