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October 28, 1996

Stupid Guy Tricks
Copyright 1996 - Greg Bulmash - All Rights Reserved

Belching, fart noises. These are, of course, talents men develop in childhood. In grade school the ability to belch a greeting can convey godlike status onto the boy who first achieves it. But these are not talents that stay with you at that level naturally for the rest of your life. You have to stay in practice.

Somewhere out there, right now, a grown man is perfecting his skills. Like a virtuoso violinist he rehearses day and night for the time this dynamic talent will be called into play. And not only is he just trying to stay in shape, he's figuring out new and better ways to make his body produce disgusting sounds.

You see, it's not just enough to be able to belch or make a fart noise in guy circles. We can all do that. True mastery requires degrees of control, the ability to vary and even do previously unheard or unseen maneuvers. And we don't just do this for fun and amusement. We actually compete with our friends.

In the compulsories, technical proficiency is measured. The initial belches and fart noises are both judged on volume and timbre, while the belches have an additional score in the length category. After the preliminary scores are posted, we enter into the artistic interpretation segment of the competition. In this part of the games, the top scorers are allowed to put their individual twists on bodily noise performance, using belches and fart noises either separately or together.

The less sophisticated participants drop to the old standby of belching the alphabet and then try to achieve a better score through the high difficulty rating of performing a dual-armpit "Farting Oberhoffer," so named for Timmy Oberhoffer who is reputed to have invented it during a fateful 4th period gym class in 1937.

But a true champion will generally pick something more dramatic. Last year's gold medalist, Jim Lincoln, incorporated the recently legalized mouth-on-hand fart noise into his routine. In front of a capacity crowd with the lights dimmed and "Blazing Saddles" playing silently on the video monitor, he performed his composition: "The Campfire Sonata in B-flat."

Unfortunately, the IOC has refused to make these competitions even an exhibition event in the Olympics. When that finally happens, the development and refinement of these skills will be considered a true talent by the entire world. But until then... well... it's just obnoxious.

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