the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Just in time for Christmas

I’m about to tell you a story that involves a dog fart and how it almost killed me. What? You didn’t come here for that? Do you want to hear about the stretch marks on my butt? Because I haven’t gotten nearly enough mileage out of those suckers, except maybe when I discovered Marlo sitting on the floor of the mud room with both of her feet in the dog’s water bowl, and I was all I DID NOT ALLOW MY BUTT CHEEKS TO MORPH INTO A PAIR OF NINETY-YEAR-OLD VAGINAS JUST SO YOU COULD ACT LIKE AN IDIOT.

She didn’t remove her feet from the water, but I sure did felt better about myself.

Last week we were all sitting at lunch, the dogs waiting underneath the table for something to accidentally fall off of a fork, when there was a small lull in the conversation. Suddenly Chuck let out a fart that had to squeak its way out of his butt, past the hardwood floor and out into the open air. Like a perfectly tuned trumpet solo of one note:


As if that weren’t bad enough, he reached his head around to his butt to smell it. Really, Chuck? You’re not even going to try and make it seem like it was Coco? Is this what all these years of pictures on the Internet have done to you? Robbed you of your dignity? Of your ingenuity? YOU CAN HAS FARTS?

Everyone at the table scattered like frightened cats because of one) the sound, two) the smell of rotten egg, and three) did that dog really just smell his own fart OH YES HE DID.

And while I was gagging and crawling toward the other side of the room, Tyrant started waving his hand violently to get air away from his face and said, “That’s another thing I hate about dogs: that they aren’t smart enough to wait until someone is talking to go ahead and do a thing like that. At least TRY to disguise the noise!”

I mean, I KNOW, right? The audacity of that canine to wait for just the right comedic moment.

I couldn’t help it, all day long I played that sound over and over in my head and laughed to myself:


Farts aren’t supposed to be funny, except they are. They’re hysterical, especially when your dog does it while everyone is eating a meal and it sounds like a note from an opera:


So that night we were sitting around the dinner table talking about our day, asking Leta about school, did she have fun at PE, how much of her lunch did she actually eat and how much did she sell? When I remembered The Fart, and as I was telling Leta about it, I took a moment to shovel a spoonful of peas into my mouth. Right then Jon imitated the noise with such precision that I thought Chuck had given us an encore. Leta started laughing, and so did I. That’s when the peas got sucked directly into my airway, blocking my ability to breathe.

For the first couple of seconds I thought, hmmm… no problem, I’ll just cough these things out. But every time I coughed they got lodged further and further in my throat. A few more seconds went by, a few more seconds without any air, and I started to panic. What happens if a spoonful of peas actually gets into your lungs? Has this ever happened to anyone? Do I have time to google PEAS IN LUNG before I die? Will the resulting images kill me first?

And then I looked over at Jon whose face had contorted into OH MY GOD MY WIFE IS DYING. That’s when I started to worry that he was worrying too much, and so instead of trying to dislodge the pea I tried to mime that I was okay! No need to worry! THINGS COULD BE SO MUCH WORSE! Like right about now! I’m going to suffocate, don’t mind me! I’ll be in the bathroom! NO WORRIES, K?

I had no idea what was going to come out of my mouth if I got really serious about saving my own life, so I closed the door behind me not wanting to traumatize anyone still enjoying their meal. I made it only to the sink where I used every muscle in my body to make a THOOOK! gesture with my throat, and out came a single, perfectly round pea. I picked it up with my thumb and forefinger as I took my first breath in what seemed like months, inspected it, and that thing wasn’t even dented! Don’t peas come out of the womb dented?

From dog fart to near asphyxiation! And not in the way you would think!

  • Pandora Has A Box

    2010/12/20 at 2:42 pm

    When I was a kid, we had a Bull Mastiff who would come over to the table when we were eating dinner. He especially loved to come over when we had company over. And he’d sidle up to the table, lift his tail and LET ONE RIP.

    That was never *not* hilarious. I loved that dog.

  • KMGill

    2010/12/20 at 2:48 pm

    I made my kids read this post to prove that i’m not the only 10 year old boy disguised as a mom.

  • amydpp

    2010/12/20 at 2:48 pm

    My dog likes to wait until we are going up the stairs and he is all “Let me go before you to make sure nothing scary is there” but it’s really a ploy because then he FARTS in my face.

    Well played, dog.

  • susanfishy

    2010/12/20 at 2:50 pm

    Your last two lines are worth the price of admission. (glad you’re ok)

  • sdkitty

    2010/12/20 at 2:51 pm

    There was an article not too long ago about a man who inhaled a pea, and it sprouted a small plant in his lung. So there’s that.

  • ChickWhitt

    2010/12/20 at 2:52 pm

    Haha, this made me think of Liz Lemon and Jack

    ” I would think that the single woman’s biggest worry would be choking to death in her apartment”

  • lizneilvoss

    2010/12/20 at 2:56 pm

    I used to think that my husband and his brother had the stinkiest farts ever.

    But then I got a dog.

    All of her farts are SBDs, though, which is so much worse!

  • Kristen Marie

    2010/12/20 at 2:56 pm

    Did Chuck get to eat that pea?

  • apostate

    2010/12/20 at 2:58 pm

    Though they can be lethal under certain circumstances (like the aforementioned), mashed up peas have been known to save the lives of fish circling the drain. It’s true.

    Too late for that bit of info, I guess.

  • kidsmom

    2010/12/20 at 3:01 pm

    “Walter, The Farting Dog”.

    A must read for your family. Trust me.

  • mleducharme

    2010/12/20 at 3:02 pm

    i think balancing the pea on chuck’s head would be appropriate.

  • Daddy Scratches

    2010/12/20 at 3:04 pm

    I contemplated writing any one of several mind-numbingly lame pea puns, but I’m just going to instead say I’m glad that neither the fart nor the peas took you out, and wish you, Jon, Leta, Marlo, Chuck & Coco (& Tryant) a Merry Christmas.

    Peas out.


  • Reese

    2010/12/20 at 3:07 pm

    OK- had to de-lurk for this post. DO NOT go to a bathroom if you are choking, ever. People literally die of embarassment by doing so.

  • wonderchris

    2010/12/20 at 3:16 pm

    Glad you are okay!! Scary stuff.

    We had a dog that not only smelled his own farts, but would get really embarrassed when he let one fly.

    All we had to do was say Pee-ewwww and he would start barking. I was sure he was saying “SHUT UP, it’s natural…Leave Me Alone”…poor guy. We just laughed.

  • kcbelles

    2010/12/20 at 3:17 pm

    Peas out. Too funny, Daddy S

  • Marissa13

    2010/12/20 at 3:23 pm

    I heard somewhere that many people die choking in the bathroom because they left a room full of people to try to cough the food out alone.

    Next time just hack it up in front of Jon, you don’t want to be the woman who died alone in the bathroom because she was too embarassed to cough in front of her family but had no shame about sharing stretch marks and dog farts with the whole world!!!

    This concludes our PSA.

    I laughed out loud reading about the dog fart, thankfully I wasn’t eating.

  • mjryates

    2010/12/20 at 3:30 pm

    Funny story… except for the choking part. And I agree with Reese. Never go to another room when you’re choking. It’s seriously deadly!

  • Brandeewine

    2010/12/20 at 3:33 pm

    Oh, my everloving God. I am crying, I’m laughing so hard. In our house, dog farts are affectionately known as dog waffles. And peas? We were called by our daycare center TWICE because our daughter stuck peas up her nose. She is forever known as Pea Brain, in times of idiocy.

    Love your site!

  • elisha201

    2010/12/20 at 3:35 pm

    You ate the pea, didn’t you?

  • keenie beanie

    2010/12/20 at 3:53 pm

    What happens when a pea gets into your lung? It can grow a plant that they think is lung cancer.

    True story:

    And so horrifying, I’m still traumatized at the thought.

  • chicgeek75

    2010/12/20 at 4:15 pm

    My dog Peanut scares himself with his farts (little air biscuits). You’ll hear a little “PffffffTTT” and he’ll SIT UP. BUG OUT HIS EYES. and then RUN AWAY.

    Like, ‘WHA? HA? I don’t know WHERE that came from.’

    On the rarer occasion, he’ll do the sniff test.

    I have a dog that runs away from his own farts. Yesirree.

  • chicgeek75

    2010/12/20 at 4:19 pm

    Just occurred to me that we should be expecting a Chuck-of-the-day photo of the solitary pea upon which Heather was choking balanced tenderly between his eyes.

    Just sayin.

  • Red Stethoscope

    2010/12/20 at 4:33 pm

    Because I know you’re dying to know this (haha), yes, people do get peas, M&Ms, etc. lodged in their lungs. It goes down your trachea and ends up (random med. school trivia alert!) in your lower right lung. You would probably end up coming into the ER in pain and explain how you swallowed a pea. Then, a nice ER doc would suck it out for you. 🙂 Glad it didn’t come to this, by the way!

  • i.delia

    2010/12/20 at 4:39 pm

    Last week my husband walked through a cloud of flies that were buzzing around a pile of seaweed on the beach. He started coughing and kept coughing as we walked through the tide pools. Minutes went by and finally he inhaled and coughed extremely forcefully. A fly came out in his hand. It was still alive.

  • breeb

    2010/12/20 at 5:14 pm

    My dog, Crazy Dog, farts while he is in my lap, turns to sniff it, then glares up at me with disgust and jumps down from my lap. As if to say, “god damn woman your farts stink!”

    how do you defend yourself to a dog?! what a sneak. blaming me for it.

  • sarahfromthenorth

    2010/12/20 at 5:17 pm

    OMG glad you’re ok .. when I was about 10 I choked on a piece of meat and nobody at the table noticed. I just couldn’t breath and I thought I would just keel over and die. Finally in one last ditch effort to get some helped I reached my hand out with all the oxygen I had left in my lungs towards my mom, and same thing, that action and my forcing with my throat made the piece of meat fly out. very very scary huh!

    My dog Rex farts the same way – 10 yrs ago when he was 1.5 yrs we took him to obedience, after he pulled me full-tilt through the door, he was gagging and then burped and just then approached a very well behaved German Shepeard sitting waiting for his class. I yelled “SIT Rex” to which he sat and then let out the squeakiest loudest fart ever, so much so that the stuck up owner of the perfect German Shepard just HAD to crack a smile! Ah dogs!!

  • deborahjmum

    2010/12/20 at 5:27 pm

    At our house, it’s the kids who tell fart stories and the mother who tries to make them stop. I guess it’s some kind of pea-etic justice that it made you choke, corrupting your child like that — but I’m just kidding.

  • Janice

    2010/12/20 at 5:41 pm

    I’m glad you’re okay. But honestly, if I had to choose, I’d take a dog fart over a dog belch any day. My dog has woke me up in the middle of the night with the stench of her belch. I pay a lot of money for very high quality dog food which she enhances with cat poop, bunnies and squirrels she kills and eats in the back yard and any disgusting garbage she forages out of the kitchen can. I can’t even leave the room, it just follows me wherever I go…

  • lisdom

    2010/12/20 at 7:22 pm

    You know, I didn’t even know dogs farted until I was in my late teens.

    Very glad you’re okay!

  • famisamis

    2010/12/20 at 7:41 pm

    Will you please post a video of Jon imitating the fart, peeeeeeeeeeez?

    Sans you choking on the pea, thank you.

    Glad you’re alive.

    For the love, I’m still crying about this post. The hilarity…

  • Maja66

    2010/12/20 at 7:43 pm

    Coulda called this entry: Peas on Earth….

    My uncle’s brother choked to death at the kitchen table while eating and laughing. Needless to say, my uncle had ZERO tolerance for joking at dinner. He loved to joke and laugh any other time though 🙂

    So so thankful you got the pea out 🙂

  • missusclark

    2010/12/20 at 8:06 pm

    While taking a First Aid class, the teacher regaled us with 911 stories. My favorite was the one where a young woman began to choke and dashed to the restroom. The only reason she didn’t die was her mother jumped up and ran after her to scold her for leaving the table without excusing herself. Our teacher, an EMT, told us they found people dead in bathrooms all the time from choking. Better embarrassed then dead, Heather.

  • LaurieML

    2010/12/20 at 8:52 pm

    A family I babysit for has a boston terrier who snores and farts on the couch next to me after the kids have gone to bed.
    I put up with it cause I like dogs so much.

  • NolaMomma

    2010/12/20 at 9:35 pm

    Thanks for the good read. This is the stuff that keeps me coming back. Glad you’re okay, too!!!!

  • AlisonCaroline

    2010/12/20 at 9:46 pm

    When my son was just 4, he was eating an orange and a segment got caught in his throat. I saw he was having trouble and without even thinking I reached around him and pushed in his diaphragm. The segment FLEW out and he gasped, “Thank you mommy!” After that we had a rule of two bites per orange segment. The thing that spooks me is I could just as easily have been in another room and never heard him and only found him when it was too late. Heather, please only choke with a lot of people around. For real.

  • JosieC

    2010/12/21 at 9:20 am

    My Cragar routinely sniffs his butt after he farts. In fact, he will sniff his own butt even if another person in the room farted. It’s like he’s saying, “Oooh! Was that mine?”.

    We were sitting on the sofa two days ago and Cragar ripped a very audible fart – so loud that it even scared him and he jumped down off the sofa and looked around like “What the hell just happened?”
    He cracks me up.

    Glad you’re ok, though – but I agree – a picture with Chuck balancing a pea is necessary now!

  • J. Bo

    2010/12/21 at 10:16 am

    Oh, good lord, this is almost as funny as your story about the woman in the next stall in a public rest room letting one rip; I still laugh just thinking about that.

    And the choking? Exactly why I never eat peas. Even if there’s only a scattering in, say, a pot pie, I pick them out and flick them at the cat…

  • sweetpotatopie

    2010/12/21 at 10:24 am

    My dog gets so *shocked* when his farts are audible that he’ll whip his head around, stare at his butt with deep concern and then get up and move to a new location.

    Anyway, so glad you didn’t choke to death so that you could share this awesome story! Thanks!

  • Laura Jones

    2010/12/21 at 12:15 pm

    I was choking at the table once. It was the first time I had brought my fiance over to meet the family. To avoid embarrassment I stepped into the next room to cough it out and Grandmother followed me. She proceeded to shout, “Satan be gone from this woman, you are not to choke her, I command thee by the blood of the lamb…” I couldn’t even defend myself and tell her that I was not possessed by demons or Satan or anything other than a piece of chicken.

    My fiance became my husband and occasionally he does wonder if Grandmother was warning him of what was to come.

  • VickiG.

    2010/12/21 at 1:33 pm

    Thanks for the laugh !!! glad that you managed to dislodge that pea. Nothing sweeter than a dog’s fart.

  • Laura B

    2010/12/21 at 4:11 pm

    Yes, dog farts can be toxic, but as a tri-species pet owner (dogs, cats, and rabbits) I have to say that cat farts are WAY more toxic. And they are always silent, so you never know when to flee.

  • Leaf Probably

    2010/12/21 at 4:26 pm

    Ew on the dog farts… This is why mine are outdoor dogs!!

    (When I say ‘my’ dogs, I really mean my parents dogs, but we all know I love them more, so I’ve claimed them.)

  • subjectivitis

    2010/12/21 at 4:56 pm

    Glad you’re OK. As some one that has the grace of an elephant on a tightrope, I am pretty skilled at playing it cool while NEARLY DYING. Really, who wants to drown looking like a moron? Anyhoodle, if you have time to post a video of Jon making that noise, when no one is eating, that’d be awesome.

  • Twinkie

    2010/12/21 at 6:43 pm

    I always thought that dogs had inaudible farts.

    I wasn’t a dog owner until I was in my 20’s, and had never given it any thought. We’ve owned three dogs in the last 20 years and none of them farted audibly.

    So, the first dog fart I’d ever heard was from someone else’s dog. It was a someone else that I didn’t really even know well: I was visiting her home, ‘interviewing’ her about her experience homeschooling her daughters.

    When she left the room, her dog farted. It was so surprising to me and so very nasty, that I was compelled to tell her all about it – especially in case she thought I’d done it on the sly when she walked out of the room. Which probably only made me sound more guilty:

    “It wasn’t me! Your dog farted! He even looked a little startled! HA HA!”

    I think she thought I was weird. But I couldn’t agree with Heather more: farts are funny.

  • chobachhoa

    2010/12/21 at 10:28 pm

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  • jan001

    2010/12/22 at 12:32 am

    Heather, welcome to the joys of fart-sPelling! Now that you’ve done one, you can try them from now on, regardless of the age, gender, or species of the source. For instance, we’ve all had the ones that are literally spelled simply BAM!!! And a fart against a molded plastic chair is BLLLLLLLLuttt. There. See? Easy since you’ve already spelled one that was more challenging!

    Fun with sneezes too! Also good phonics practice if either of the kids ever needs it! Win-win!

    I’m glad that you were able to eject the pea and very impressed by the fact that you did so without denting it. I’m quite sure that in some circles that is a hallmark of refined femininity.

  • FuschiaGroan

    2010/12/22 at 12:49 pm

    Aside from the obvious hilarity of dogfarts, and I realise several other people have mentioned the importance of first aid in this situation, I still felt it might be useful to list a couple of (boring, but potentially life saving) pointers.

    1) If someone is choking, and you can hear them coughing, then that’s GOOD, they can obviously breathe.

    2) If someone is choking, and there is no noise then they are NOT BREATHING AT ALL. At this point PHONE AN AMBULANCE, and IF YOU ARE CONFIDENT, give them back slaps, and then possibly the Heimlich maneuver.

    3) If they are choking, and coughing, STAY WITH THEM (as other people have mentioned) and make them stand over the table and cough it out, as happened to you, it will very probably force it out.

    The human body is an amazing thing, but also pretty vulnerable to dog farts, more vulnerable than you’d realise.

    Glad you’re alive!!


  • Rumrunner

    2010/12/22 at 7:05 pm

    This is hilarious. Hey, farts are hilarious. Check out:

  • bricoleursdaughter

    2010/12/23 at 8:15 am

    Laughing so hard at this I cried!

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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