the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Qualifying for Pacific Northwestern Citizenship

Now, I know I’m supposed to be talking about the trip and giving details about how beautiful it is in Seattle and all that sort of thing. And I’ll go ahead and do that, I’ll let you know that Seattle is absolutely breathtaking, especially in sunlight. I’ve been here four times and this is the first time I’ve been here that I’ve seen blue sky.

I’ll go ahead and tell you that they have hot pink sunsets here, and that if you didn’t know any better you’d try to reach into the sky at dusk and pluck the cotton candy from the treetops. In the mornings everything is covered in an inch of frost, a gooey coldness that’s just shy of ice, and patches of evergreen trees look like upside down lime popsicles dangling precariously from muddy, grassy knolls.

I’ll also tell you that people here are inexplicably nice, not because they need something from me, which I’m very used to, but because they’re human and that’s what humans do, humans wave hello and give the right of way at stop signs. Humans in Seattle stop me and want to know my dog’s name and why he’s shivering so violently, and that they know of a great place over in Bothell that sells very cute puppy sweaters. I seriously just want to squeeze everyone here, and then fold them up and put them in my purse for later.

So I’ve told you these things first so that I could tell you about the thing that happened last night, and what happened last night isn’t necessarily related to our voyage up the coast and sojourn in the Pacific Northwest, but I wanted to talk about it anyway because I couldn’t wait until next week.

And you have to know something first, you have to know that I am very comfortable with bodily functions, and that I grew up in a family that forced me to be comfortable with bodily functions. I can handle farts and poops and toots, and I actually find the act of farting and pooping and tooting moderately funny. I don’t know why I find it funny, but I find it funny. I mean, I hear the word “poop” and I can’t stop giggling like a textbook Freudian 3-yr old boy.

So last night I was in the bathroom at a movie theater in Monroe, Washington, and I’m finishing going #1 in one of the 10 stalls when somone probably four stalls down from mine lets out a fart that almost sends her flying up through the concrete in the ceiling, out the roof of the building. It was a five-syllable fart, a cockadoodledo fart, a fart that shook me and every other person in that bathroom out of our mortal coils.

And like I said, I’m comfortable with that. I fart, you fart, we fart, they fart. People in bathrooms fart. If there’s a place on earth where you should be able to fart, where it’s wholly legal to fart, it’s a bathroom, for crying out loud.

But there, there in Monroe, Washington, perhaps all over the Pacific Northwest, I guess it’s okay to laugh at someone’s bellowing, yodeling fart in a public restroom, because right after she let that stuttering bomb rip, a woman in the stall next to mine started laughing uncontrollably. And I’m not talking about a gentle, muffled laugh, or a laugh that could possibly pass for cough. The woman in the stall next to mine was belly laughing, cackling like a crazed hyena, heehawing at the other woman’s fart.

And I’m trying not to laugh, I’m trying to do the right thing, the proper thing, the snooty LA thing where it’s just too crass to even acknowledge the existence of a bodily function. But this woman in the stall next to mine is laughing so hard she’s snorting, and I’m literally choking on huge, bowling ball-sized giggles.

And when the woman in the stall next to the laughing woman’s stall starts to laugh, when there are two Pacific Northwestern women laughing at another Pacific Northwestern woman’s fart, I totally lose it and erupt in hiccuping, spurting guffaws.

So we laugh and laugh and laugh and we all know that we have to get it out because we can’t exit the stalls still laughing. And we wait until we all know that the woman who farted is so sufficiently traumatized that she won’t leave her stall until next April, and we slowly exit our respective stalls. And we’re all looking at each other in silence like, can you believe the magnitude of that fart, was that not the loudest thing you have ever heard?

And I felt at that moment that these people are my people and that I could totally live here forever.

  • Edsmonkey

    2002/11/27 at 10:07 am

    Ya know a fart is just a poop honking for the right of way….

  • John

    2002/11/27 at 10:10 am

    Thank you for that.

  • rangergirl

    2002/11/27 at 10:13 am

    the funniest story i’ve ever read! keep it coming dooce, keep it coming.

  • Anonymous

    2002/11/27 at 10:52 am

    That was really hilarious.

  • Paul Gutman

    2002/11/27 at 11:17 am

    Just in time for Thanksgiving!!

    And yes, your description of everyone laughing at the farts made me laugh like I was there. Except I’m a guy. And I’m sitting at my dad’s desk, rather than the bathroom.

  • ex southern babtist

    2002/11/27 at 11:24 am

    Too funny! Laughed so hard I had tears in my eyes.

  • Vera

    2002/11/27 at 11:24 am

    So, do you think you’ll really stay in that stall until April?

  • April

    2002/11/27 at 11:33 am

    Best post ever. I was laughing so hard, I almost farted.

  • se

    2002/11/27 at 11:52 am

    I am wiping tears from my eyes and beaming with pride to be a Pacific Northwestern woman. Do they laugh at farts in Utah?

  • Martin

    2002/11/27 at 11:53 am


  • edmund b

    2002/11/27 at 12:13 pm

    yes, very hilarious. i laughed hard. thankyou for that. my lunch thanks you for the digestion aid. you so funny, gurl. thank you.

  • Xanthan

    2002/11/27 at 1:00 pm

    So would it be in appropriate to read this to my almost five year old? I mean, he is the prime audience for poop/fart/toot stories.

    But I fear he would be telling this at his Show & Tell on Monday. You think you’re a celebrity now, Dooce…

  • Marc

    2002/11/27 at 1:03 pm

    You should move to Seattle. I’ve always thought you kind of belonged there.

    I left a year or so ago and haven’t stopped pining since.

  • jess

    2002/11/27 at 1:15 pm

    ahahaha. oh dooce, you make things 10x more hilarious than they normally would be, and for this i love you. also, i don’t think anyone could make a fart post more prose-like. gotta love it.

  • Benjy

    2002/11/27 at 1:17 pm

    Of course, were you still in L.A, it’d probably turn out that Jennifer Aniston or Sarah Michelle Gellar was the one who let out the fart!

  • Michele

    2002/11/27 at 1:37 pm

    Thank you Dooce 🙂 (as I wipe the tears from my eyes) No one tells a story like you do.
    As always you made my day 😀

  • Thomas

    2002/11/27 at 2:05 pm

    just a quick brain fart: glad that you’ve got the site up and running again.

  • Heather

    2002/11/27 at 2:13 pm

    ha! i needed that. glad I discovered your site again. When’s the book coming out?

  • rosebaby

    2002/11/27 at 4:03 pm

    oh my god. i laughed until i got that sobbing feeling. monroe?! this has been the nicest fall in years, but when it’s glorious, it’s really glorious. happy turkey.

  • shayna

    2002/11/27 at 4:03 pm

    funniest thing I’ve read in I don’t know how long!! my tummy muscles are sore! I’ll be laughing for quite a while on that one. I’m with ya on the giggling whenever “poop” or “fart” is mentioned, absolutely nothing funnier. I grew up in Seattle, and never truly realized how clean and kind and wonderful it is until I moved to LA. even downtown Seattle feels like a quaint little town after living in LA, especially during the holidays. enjoy it!

  • Em

    2002/11/27 at 4:15 pm

    Oh my GOD, I was laughing about that for like five minutes straight. I could SO picture that situation in my head and it made me laugh so hard, considering your wording is always the best. Whew! *rushes back to read it again for another fit of giggles*

  • Ric

    2002/11/27 at 4:47 pm

    Ah, if you think Seattle rocks, make a point of visiting Vancouver, the rootin’ tootin’ Canuck city a couple hours to the North.

  • Nora

    2002/11/27 at 4:59 pm

    You must go to Volunteer Park at sunset and climb the water tower. Also must go to this little park that I can’t remember the name of on 3rd ave west a few blocks above Roy St, a few blocks below Galer on Queen Anne Hill – the most stunning view of downtown Seattle ever.

    I knew you’d love the light and the cloud formations here. Gorgeous, aint’ it?

  • PimpDadd73

    2002/11/27 at 5:48 pm

    You are an EXCELLENT writer Dooce. ooh Seattle. 😉

  • Shan

    2002/11/27 at 6:11 pm

    Awww. Glad you are enjoying it there. 😉

  • Ariel

    2002/11/27 at 9:07 pm

    Man, you just made me miss Seattle something super fierce. Seattle is heaven. I miss it so much.

  • Xanthan

    2002/11/27 at 9:14 pm

    OK, it was so good I had to come read it again… after printing it for my wife to read. Dooce, this one contains your best bon mot yet: “It was a five-syllable fart, a cockadoodledo fart”

  • peggy

    2002/11/28 at 2:53 am

    You crack me up, woman. Heh. I said crack.

  • Jen

    2002/11/28 at 3:41 am

    I’m laughing so hard right now that my entire office knows I’m not working.

  • Acidman

    2002/11/28 at 4:52 am

    That was a beautiful story. I laughed so hard that I farted.


  • kane

    2002/11/28 at 6:06 am

    Happy Thanksgiving, wherever you may be.

  • chrissie

    2002/11/28 at 6:30 am

    so simple, yet so funny…

  • cmk

    2002/11/28 at 6:36 am

    o my gawd, heather, you are so very, very, funny!
    (as im sure that fart was.)

  • Jason

    2002/11/28 at 8:42 am

    What a great story! I am glad you are enjoying your trip to Seattle!

  • shy

    2002/11/28 at 11:01 am

    geez… stuff like that never happens in toronto. (note to self: next time i visit seattle, remind myself to errupt a humongoid fart in crowded, public washroom.)

  • Sammas

    2002/11/28 at 2:28 pm

    Happy Thanskgiving!

    Great story… I nearly puked up my dinner laughing.

  • Suicide Blonde

    2002/11/28 at 5:09 pm

    That was the laugh I needed to round out my day! New reader here and I am enjoying your writing very much.

  • kathryn

    2002/11/28 at 5:34 pm

    that is too funny. I can just imagine that woman hulking down in her cubicle, waiting for everybody to leave.

  • mightyjimbo

    2002/11/28 at 7:26 pm

    nothing better than a good fart story. thanks so much!

  • paul

    2002/11/28 at 7:57 pm

    i didn’t know chicks farted.

  • funtimes

    2002/11/28 at 8:17 pm

    That is basically my biggest fear. A fart, no matter how strategically placed or devised, will eventually embarrass itís owner. I like to think of farts as little presents from god. Stinky ass tainted presents.

  • jps

    2002/11/28 at 8:48 pm

    Why the fuck are you going to Utah when you’ve discovered Seattle? You and Seattle deserve one another. Clearly, the town and our farting habits wear well on you. Just don’t tell many others, please.

  • comic book store guy

    2002/11/29 at 4:44 am

    best fart ever.

  • icepen

    2002/11/29 at 6:14 am

    I live in Oregon, and while I’ve heard some awfully funny farts in the can, I’ve never laughed. Anyway, you can see that you aren’t the only one who appreciates bathroom humor. Pottymouth rocks.

  • kim

    2002/11/29 at 7:57 am

    if it were me, i’d be happy they were laughing so i could laugh, too

  • Kim (a different one)

    2002/11/29 at 8:11 am

    It’s good to laugh at such things- it keeps people from getting overly-sauve and becoming unbearable.

    And, you know, it’s *farting*. hehe.

  • Naaman

    2002/11/29 at 8:23 am

    That was a great way to start off a Friday!

  • Ex-liontamer

    2002/11/29 at 9:18 am

    I thought only me and the Mrs. talked about poopin’ far too much without a todder around; boy, was I mistaken.

    I’d only been to Seattle once and I found it rather nice albeit damp.

  • alex

    2002/11/29 at 9:28 am

    i moved to seattle 3 years ago and am literally counting the days until i can move out. visiting is one thing, living here is another – especially if you’re foreign. but im not bitter. yes i am.

  • Smivey

    2002/11/29 at 10:24 am

    Shnoop, there’s this thing on the keyboard called a Return key. Try using it every once in a while.

    People who don’t use paragraph breaks, you suck.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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