From Trousering Your Weasel

We all like to think we have affected people in positive ways, so it is with great humility and gratitude that I acknowledge, here, the four thousand people who saw the link about the fart tracking pill and passed it along. Australian scientists have developed a device the size of a large pill that is capable of monitoring the development and culmination of your fartular output in real time. This might be the greatest advance in highly personal meteorology the world has ever seen. The “pill” is capable of sending gas updates, as they happen, to your smart phone.

I do not know what the alert notification might sound like.

There is no camera associated with the pill, because of insoluble problems with the selfie stick. It’s just a gas-permeable membrane, a transmitter, and a reservoir for the scrubbing bubbles.

The fart-tracker pill uses wireless technology, which is good in most respects, except for retrieval; as it is, lacking a cable, we have to wait for the pill to ride the 7:15 Morning Express to the station, and someone has to be on the platform to meet it, most likely a graduate student. Researchers have discovered that, on average, it takes about twenty hours to see the device all the way through to the depot. That seems like a long time, but the entire intestine is a big slip-n-slide, nearly eight miles long in American humans and even more kilometers everywhere else, and you don’t want to take those corners too fast. Research subjects given a very low fiber diet report that the pill spends as much as 54 hours in the colon, and why not? If you’re comfortably cushioned in a goober of Wonder Bread and Cheez Doodles, why not relax and enjoy it?

None of these statistics apply to Dave, who has the metabolism of a tweaker hummingbird. There isn’t a research study he can’t skew. Gaping wounds heal up before you can find the Band-Aid box, crippling back injuries are resolved within hours if there’s no one to fetch him a beer, and when he had his first post-colonoscopy meal, he was able to say hello to his little friend later the same day. One time in Maine my cousin Jim, who had some sort of relationship with the lobster cartel, presented Dave with over five pounds of personal lobster just for the entertainment of watching it disappear, drenched in melted butter. That night, sound asleep, he tossed and turned and moaned and grunted and cried out and flang his arms around so violently that I considered taking him to the emergency room in case he was about to have a heart attack, but by dawn’s early light he did a full kip out of bed and stuck the landing and was ready for breakfast. If Dave were to swallow a fart-tracker pill, it could take an eye out.

Did you know that in certain clinical situations a tube is inserted into the rectum to collect gases in something called a “flatus bag?” This is generally employed when the patient is otherwise unable to fart, but I’m not sure why you’d need anything other than the open-ended tube for that. I don’t see why anything in there needs to be collected in a bag unless you’ve got some serious pranksters on the unit. If anyone had collected my post-colonoscopy flatus and failed to properly secure the bag, they’d run the risk of flying around the room backwards.

As much as we’d like it to, the fart tracker is not actually used to track individual, nameable farts, but does monitor carbon dioxide, hydrogen, and oxygen levels at all points of the digestive tract. My beloved methane, which I call a noble gas even though it isn’t one, is not on the menu. Interestingly, methane itself has no odor at all. In fact, of all the gases that are expelled from the human anus, only one percent has any stink to it. One percent. That sounds familiar, somehow.