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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Contest

A couple weekends ago, I was rummaging through my archives, looking for some old comedy material my friends and I recorded after high school, with which I could entertain Pinky on a bad TV night.  During my search, it dawned on me to look for another touchstone of my youth. 

Back in the early 70s, when I was in 6th or 7th grade, my parents got a cassette tape from some friends.  It was a very Big Deal.  In fact, right on the front of the tape, in big bold letters, it said, “ADULTS ONLY.”  Naturally, the folks played it for us kids immediately.  It was called, “The Crepitation Contest.”

The material originally came from a series of 78-RPM albums made in 1946, by a CBC sports announcer, Sidney S. Brown, and his assistant Jules Lipton.  The gist of the recording was that it was a live broadcast of an international farting championship; a contest between the English champion Lord Windesmear versus Aussie challenger Paul Boomer.

It sounded very much like listening to a far-off boxing match via short-wave radio or something.  It had all the hallmarks of a big-time fight… crowd noises, pre-match interviews with the contestants, detailed descriptions their outfits, the setting, and the “ring,” which in this case, included the Farting Pole.  It was all done with a period-perfect sense of importance and gravitas.

The match begins when the challenger enters the ring, grasps the Farting Pole and begins a series of descriptively-named farts, as the announcer calls the play-by-play.  Each kind of fart is assigned a point value, depending on length and complexity.  The contestant farts for as long as he can before bowing out and then his opponent takes his turn.  The farter with the most points wins.

Now, my siblings and I thought this was the funniest thing we ever heard.  What I never understood was how a tape about farting could ever be considered “Adults Only.”  I guess I was unaware of 1946 sensibilities. 

To OUR sensibilities, it was comic gold, and it catapulted us into staging a summer-long series of our own farting contests.  (Outside, of course, per mom.)  We played the tape for all our neighbor friends, so that they could get in on the fun too.  Adults Only??  Bah!  Kids come out of the womb knowing farts are funny.  (Especially “boy” kids.)  Why should the grownups have all the fun?

During that summer we went to visit some old friends of ours from our time in Chicago, who had kids in the same ages and alignment as us: two boys and a youngest girl.  These kids were the perfect Contestants for us because we been celebrating farts together since we first met.

My mom told me that one time, when the boys were sleeping over our house, she woke up one morning to find them sitting on the top of the steps outside their bedroom.  When she asked them why they were there, they said, “We’re waiting to hear Mr. Dude fart!

I guess we had been talking up our dad’s prowess in that particular area, especially first thing in the morning.

Duly inspired, we kids held a weekend-long farting contest amongst ourselves.  (Dad wasn’t allowed to play; he’d have been a “ringer.”)  We stuck to all the rules from the tape, except that we didn’t have a farting pole, so when it was “go-time” we grasped the chain of their swing set, which we christened, “The Farting Chain.”

Always looking for that extra edge, we sought out foods we thought would make us gassy; foods that had “fartants,” as we called them.  (Did you know chocolate sprinkles make you fart?)

But even with our fartant-fortified food intake, we couldn’t really stage one long, contiguous event like they did on the tape.  It came down to whenever someone had one in the chamber, they’d holler, “I got one!” and we’d scurry out to the Farting Chain.  After one occasion that cause much arguing about whether a particular fart was “silent” or not, we stipulated that someone had to put their ear down by the farter’s butt and everyone else had to remain quiet.  Yes, we took this stuff seriously.

Anyway, I was so happy to find that I still had the old cassette, which I immediately played for Pinky.

Suffice to say, she wasn’t quite as impressed with it as I had been.  I blame it on the sound quality.  This tape was heavily used by the time we got it in the early 1970s.  Stick another 40 years on it and the sound gets a bit sludgy.

So last month when I was searching YouTube for those National Lampoon clips I posted that no one listened to, I also took a look for The Contest.  I wasn’t disappointed.  In fact, I was actually amazed.  The recording was so clear, I realized that we had a bunch of the terminology wrong.  For all these years, for example, we thought they called a silent fart a “Flotcher,” but in fact, they clearly call it a “Plotcher.”  And what we thought was a “Treblow,” is actually a “Trillblow.”

Damn… my childhood memories just got turned upside down.

Not wanting you to miss out on this slice of aural and olfactory history, I now display for you the epic glory that is The Crepitation Contest (of 1946).  Gather your family ‘round, huddle close to the speakers and be prepared to be transported to a far off time and place where man to man competition meant turning the other cheek.

Note: Darwinfish2 takes no responsibilities for any copycat contests, nor any residual by-products that may be produced, resulting in the fouling of atmosphere, furniture or underwear.

Full running time is about 15 minutes.  There is no profanity, save for one very common household oath that appears right at the end.  I’m pretty sure your kids have heard it before, if you’ve ever stubbed your toe or burned the roast.

14 comments:

  1. Why am I not surprised you still have a tape player/cassette recorder?! When my boom box bit the dust in one of the power surges a couple years ago, I was hard pressed to find a CD player with a cassette. Man I miss those mix tapes. I will have to take your word for the comic gold of the above, though. :-)

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    1. Of course I still have a cassette player... One boom box, and one component of my stereo rack system. Sure, I don't use it much, but I have far too much material on cassette only to ever get rid of my cassette player. Cassette was THE medium during my creative teen years. I have rafts of skits, bull sessions and other merrymaking, plus a boatload of mix tapes, which I made right up until a couple years ago when I upgraded my car stereo.

      And come on... Even conservative Catholics should be able to appreciate a good fart! :o)

      Delete
  2. So where did your parents find this gem? That doesn't seem like something you'd pick up just anywhere.

    I'm sure your parents were happy that tape provided you with hours of free entertainment.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. The tape belonged to some friends of theirs, who either gave it to my folks, or loaned it... And it's reeeeeeally overdue.

      I think my parents were happy for any diversion that would get us out of the house.

      Delete
  3. You have the most awesome parents ever. The only tape I stole from my parents was that Eddie Murphy comedy one. I think I would be less damaged if I would have inherited this one instead.

    Hugs!

    Valerie

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    1. Oh, we loved that Eddie Murphy tape... But of course, we were considerably older. Language issues or not, funny is funny.

      And you're not damaged, you're priceless.

      Delete
  4. "Did you know chocolate sprinkles make you fart?"---After living with Boo and Radley, I know this is not specific to sprinkles. EVERYTHING makes little boys fart.

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    1. I agree about the boys… any boys. But with the sprinkles, I believe that it has more to do with swallowed air than any particular quality in the make up of the sprinkles.

      The last time I talked about farts, Sally Sal, my (long missing) blog friend from Oklahoma dropped some knowledge on me in Comments. Did you know that if farts are properly stored, they will “keep” over time.

      Long ago, she and her brother got some of those capsules that bubblegum machine toys come in, farted into those and quickly sealed them up. Months later, when unsealed, she found that they had retained all of their original potency. I bet the boys would like to experiment with that little nugget. Next thing you know, they’ll figure out that you can light them too, resulting in The Great Flaming Gas War of 2012.

      You’re welcome.

      Delete
  5. Here is my "fart" story: My brother-in-law used to pull the covers over my sister's head in bed late at night and announce "If you love me, you won't struggle." Never waste a good fart!!!

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    1. I would never mess with my woman in bed like that... I know I have to go to sleep, eventually.

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  6. Boy, Pinky sure is a patient woman. I'll admit that I like the idea of this, though, and I might even be convinced to listen to a little if it wasn't OPENING NIGHT OF THE NFL. Not that I care. But my roommate does.

    God bless the Internet.

    Also, why "boy" in quotation marks? What are you trying to tell us?

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    1. The quoted were to differentiate from girl kids. I suppose they weren't really necessary. Leave it to you to pick on grammar in a post about farts.

      Delete
  7. That's it. The Jets' QB is now named Tim Treblow.

    And fart sounds and burping are never not funny.

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    1. Too bad he doesn’t play for Chicago… the Windy City.

      Delete

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