On Farting Around…

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. informed his wife that he was going out to buy an envelope…

Oh, she says, well, you’re not a poor man. You know, why don’t you go online and buy a hundred envelopes and put them in the closet?  And so I pretend not to hear her.  And go out to get an envelope because I’m going to have a hell of a good time in the process of buying one envelope.  I meet a lot of people.  And, see some great looking babes.  And a fire engine goes by. And I give them the thumbs up.  And, and ask a woman what kind of dog that is.  And, and I don’t know.  

The moral of the story is, is we’re here on Earth to fart around.  And, of course, the computers will do us out of that.  And, what the computer people don’t realize, or they don’t care, is we’re dancing animals. You know, we love to move around. And, we’re not supposed to dance at all anymore. 

– Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. From an interview* by David Brancaccio, NOW (PBS), Oct, 2005

With the addition of the old motorbike to my life, i have simply added another means of farting around to my arsenal.  Spent a couple hours yesterday riding back roads with a friend, taking advantage of a day off with unseasonably warm weather.  We didn’t have any particular destination in mind, just headed out away from traffic and people.  Once we were pointed in a generally southeastern direction, it occurred to me that there was a dumpy little diner just a little further down the road…

With a hand signal, we scooted right and there it was… The food was ok, but it didn’t matter.  Breakfast for lunch at a hole in the wall for $5 is lovely.  Listening to the conversations of the other folks there.  Chatting with the waitress about her first failed attempt at the regional motorcycle riders class. 

i love my motorcycle.  It has not, however, transformed my life.  It has simply provided me with yet another way to fart around.

i was already pretty good at it.  i do it on a bicycle when the weather is nice.  Riding to the local market to buy fresh bread and veggies, chat up the vendors, and do some people watching.  

i do it in my jeep.  Taking the dog out to the dog park for some ball chasing and butt sniffing.  Taking the long way home from work.  Laughing maniacally when i get caught topless in the rain.

What is SCUBA diving, but farting around under water?  Blogging?  Hellooooo?  Anybody else out there spend a lot of time farting around on the internet?  My gentleman companions are certainly a good time, but when you are not angling toward “forever”, it all really amounts to farting around.

Sometimes i try to remember what it was like when i had purpose.  i was raising children, and that makes you important to someone else, and therefore, gives you purpose.  Getting them to adulthood, in reasonably good intellectual, emotional, physical and spiritual shape is pretty damn important. 

Work used to give me purpose.  Now?  It’s just another performance… for pay.  And that paycheck funds an awful lot of farting around.

Growth as a human?  Nice thought.  Read something that expands my mind.  Volunteer work to give something back to the community, or those in need.  Learn something that makes me a better person**.  i do this in fits and spurts, but have no particular goal in mind, no grandiose visions of changing the world, or becoming someone of substance.

What’s the point of this little essay?  That’s just it.  There isn’t one.  i’m happy.  For now.  Just spent an hour farting around at an outfitter store… going to start gearing up for some backpacking.  A little piece of equipment here, another piece there…  Pretty soon, i’ll have yet another mechanism for farting around at my fingertips.

What is life, anyway?  Perhaps just a series of moments, loosely strung together by a thread of time.  So loose in my case, that i could possibly live most of my life out of time sequence, and not really notice.

photo found here

* Like so many tales from Mr. Vonnegut, he was working on this tale for quite some time.  The extended version is captured in “A Man Without A Country”, biographical essays from 2005.

** Whatever the fuck THAT means…

35 thoughts on “On Farting Around…

  1. Nice that you’ve gotten to this place and can stop to enjoy it. Lots of folks never achieve that.

    None of the things I truly love doing are money-making ventures, so I’ve always worked to facilitate my farting around. Do you think that Bukowski first editions and theater tickets grow on trees? They do not.

    Do you know I remember reading that Vonnegut piece when it was published and it stuck with me. What are the odds of THAT little bit of synchronicity?!

  2. The loss of responsibility to other people is the big bonus of maturity. Being able to choose the people with whom (whom is my word of the week) you spend time is liberating. The meaning of life? Farting around!

    • Whilst in the midst of responsibility (whilst is my word of the week) you don’t often realise how much you miss farting around. But once you get those pesky kids off your hands (sorry, J & R – I love you dearly) a forgotten world of possibilities rears up….

      • the loss of responsibility is part of it, but the loss of ego helped, too. i no longer think i am capable of making a big difference. i still try to make things a bit better here and there, as i can, but it’s liberating to not have to fix all that’s wrong with the world!

  3. Obviously Kurt Vonnegut never learned the joys of looking for Japanese amputee bondage porn on the Internet… he could have seen that AND gotten his hundred envelopes and still have time to go futz around town for something else… like a new box of tissues and a fresh can of petroleum jelly. Just because you’re farting around doesn’t mean you still can’t be efficient about it.

  4. As nice a manifesto as one could hope for. Especially for its lack of purpose. I bought a shiny new axe last week, thinking perhaps I wanted to chop some wood. Daddy’s home!

    • it’s a humanist manifesto. if you believe in life everlasting, heaven and eternal spirits and all that horseshit, then you can never really stop trying. that would suck. not trying is good. as are shiny new axes. nice chris. be a good boy and put down the heavy, sharp thing. here… have a cookie…

  5. Farting around is the root of what it means to be truly happy.

    Aside from having to open two tax bills I wasn’t expecting (hell – it’s only bankrupcy, and they can’t take the house), I’ve had a throughly agreeable day farting around. Catching, dispatching and plucking tommorow’s lunch, building a bird table with the girls, walking the dog…

    You should definately work on this as an art form. There may be grants you can get.

    • i think you’ve got it pretty well figured out. if it weren’t so much work? we could teach classes… same thing with going after the grants… oh, lord, i know how to write a winning proposal. i just wouldn’t want to be bothered with the effort these days…

  6. “So loose in my case, that i could possibly live most of my life out of time sequence, and not really notice.”

    When I’m doing an art project, several hours can pass by unnoticed. (The right side of the brain thing.) Kind of like farting around in the Twilight Zone.

    • i can get lost like that sometimes… but it’s even weirder than that for me at the moment. there is daylight and night. sometimes at work, sometimes out playing, sometimes home. none of it needs to be contiguous any longer… it is Twilight Zone. nice way to put it…

    • Welcome to The Park, John! and in case you haven’t been tracking, i meant a topless jeep, although i have a rather pesky habit of removing my shirt at the slightest encouragement. a touch of cancer in 2007 led to a rebuilt rack that needs sunshine! would NEVER consider charging for it, though… they are free range boobies!

  7. A truly thought provoking essay. I appreciate how you often articulate, in written form, some of the very concepts rattling around in my brain these days. The essence of “farting around” has to have a close kinship to “freedom” in its purest sense, does it not?

    • i’m enjoying being momentarily lost… although it may not last. nothing ever really does. maybe it’s something about our age. you’ve had to face mortality up close. my brush was far more peripheral, but it sure as hell got my attention. i also think my lack of belief in a “hereafter” is driving this. but at the end of the day? i am not sure i’ve ever been more content. weird. lost and happy. who knew?

  8. Farting around is an art that is achieved over the years of maturing. I have slowly learned to fart around. Not that the old obsessive compulsive behavior to have everything time and organized doesn’t kick in once in a while but I have learned to go with the flow.

    Plus, I started eating more broccoli. That goes along way towards farting around. Preferably while outside walking the dogs so as not to set anything on fire in the house.

    • ah, you have a touch of the organizing OCD. me too, if it matters… but as i’ve aged, i find it matters less. LOL’d at the “Broccoli”… that’s just the best stuff ever. if you were ever trapped on an island, and had to pick ONE food to have for survival? broccoli would be a good choice. if you’re alone, anyway…

    • you’ll just have to come to NYC with nursemyra and i next summer! we shall fart like goddesses! we shall fart as if there is no tomorrow! we shall fart as if no one is smelling! oh yes, child… we shall fart…

  9. I hate to sound like a dick but i mastered this art long ago and even with a couple of progeny i still find time almost every day to, as i call it, fuck off for a bit or daydream or wander, same thing different name, i think i learned it from my father but even he admits i was quite proficient at it from a young age.

    • you are a master. a man ahead of your time in many ways. i was a ‘do gooder’. an “achiever”. laboring under the ego-fed delusion that i made a fucking difference in the world… i just finally figured out that the only differences that matter are in close combat. one-on-one. more than that? i’ll leave that to the poets and politicians… i think i’ll have another vodka tonic, thankyouverymuch.

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