You’ve been there. Whether it was in a church with cathedral ceilings or more intimate ceremony in a small mortuary, you’ve been there when at the most quiet, most solemn moment you hear it. Someone has let loose and now, like waiting on the sound of thunder after a lightning flash, you count the seconds until the smell surrounds you. You can’t leave, you can’t express your disgust, and you can’t hold your breath forever.
You’re trapped and left wondering WHY anyone would commit such a tasteless and crass act and at a funeral of all places? Why couldn’t that person have waited? Why weren’t you spared?
And what if in this horrible scenario, it was you? You were the one who ate that questionable leftover lo mein; you were the one whose emotions turn to noxious, internal air when you get nervous; you were the one who indulged in a plate of nachos even though you know you’re lactose intolerant.
You can sit there, among your fellow mourners, and know you didn’t maliciously pollute the air in the somber space, but the only way for THEM to know would be an admission of responsibility.
You might be brave enough, afterwards back at the family’s home to say, “Hey, any of you catch wind of that stench right before Bob’s eulogy?” Then to Bob, “Great job on that by the way.” The blank stares of those who heard your inquiry indicate to you two things: 1) they’d like you to let it go; or 2) they’d like you to leave. But being the intrepid and honest person you are, you say, “It was me. It was unintentional. Had I been given enough forewarning of its volume and odor, I would have taken steps not to expose you to something that you all found so very unpleasant.”
Most will nod, just enough for you to know your words were heard. Some will turn their backs and pick another egg salad sandwich off the sideboard. And one–maybe two–will tell you that it was “good” for you to have done what you did: the admission, not the fart.
And while reasonable people can disagree over whether when a writer shares her perspective on something her thoughts and opinions are “intentional,” no writer goes out of way to say anything which personally harms any one reader.
Let me assure you that only a true sociopath goes to a funeral, right after a meal-deal at Taco Bell, with the intention of being disruptive.
I don’t eat at Taco Bell.