Ake's Pains debuted in the University of Akron Buchtelite in September of 1977. The school's reputation as an institute of higher learning has still not recovered. Ake's Pains returns after a brief 32 year hiatus. It's back, baby!

Monday, April 18, 2016

This Business Dinner Was A Gas

The evening was going so wonderfully. We had a friendly group of several dozen people, gathered in a private room at one of the city’s finest restaurants. As we waited for dinner to be served, the gorgeous young woman on my right was very impressed with my wealth of knowledge. She was pumping me aggressively – for information, sucking hard – on my brain.

And then suddenly, quietly, without warning, everything changed.  There was a thick, pungent, odor engulfing my immediate area. The lively, pleasant, atmosphere was totally destroyed by someone’s inconvenient flatulence.

That’s correct, this blog post is about a fart. But not just any fart, an extraordinarily unique fart, as I will now explain.  

This fart was exceptional due to its extreme intensity. My middle-aged nose may have lost some of its olfactory capability, but this was the most powerful emission of human gasitude that I have ever encountered in my life. It was a nasty, nasty, fart.

If you unleashed this fart on the battlefield, you would be violating the Geneva Convention. It definitely would be considered a weapon of mass distraction. The restaurant was dark, but I’m sure this cloud of thick gastric fog would have been actually visible under better lighting.  It was so potent; I’m surprised the wallpaper didn’t fall off the wall.
Bad, nasty, toxic, gas!

This was far worse than any gas my dog generates. It wasn’t as much nauseating as it was toxic. If I had access to a gas mask, I would have been wearing it.  It is difficult to even describe just how ghastly this gas really was. At one point, I thought I was going to literally pass out.

The other remarkable thing about this disgusting gas attack, is where is occurred.  This was, for lack of a better term, a “business fart”.  It was encountered while I was at a large dinner table, surrounded by customers and potential customers.

The problem is you can never publicly acknowledge a business fart, even though everyone is aware of it.  You cannot ask “who cut the cheese?” because of the potential business consequences of embarrassing the cheezer.  You do not have any idea how powerful that person is.  Okay, so you do have a sense of his power, but what I mean is you don’t know where this person is on the organization chart.  Exposing the culprit could cost you your job and this could prove extremely embarrassing for you.

Interviewer: “Why were let go from your previous job, Bill?”

Bill: “Our CEO cut a horrendous fart and I called him on it”

So even as this fart choked us all, not a word was said. We all had to carry on with what we were doing, pretending everything was fine while being poisoned.  You could not even cover your nose with your hand, you just had to sit there, hoping you were not going to die.

Unfortunately, I was talking (I know that’s difficult to believe) at the time of the fart.  I was espousing my profound business knowledge to those around me, including the lovely lass mentioned previously.  However, when the smell hit my nostrils, my brain literally shut off.  I’m in mid-sentence and suddenly I can’t think because this horrendous odor is trying to kill me.  I mumble out some meaningless words to finish my thought and try to maintain my composure. All while trying to conceal the fact that an atrocious fart has been farted.

I assume the human body must have a defense mechanism that when you are exposed to poisonous gas, your brain shuts off because you are not supposed to think, you are not supposed to speak, you are just supposed to run like hell to save your life.

Only I couldn’t run. If I jumped up and ran for the door, it would be an acknowledgement that a business fart had been discharged.  Worse yet, the people around me might think I was running for the bathroom, therefore making me a prime suspect as the farter.  So I had to sit in the middle of this warm, thick, fart-fog, trying to maintain consciousness at all cost.

I did consider telling people I had to make a call and excuse myself to the hallway.  I also thought about calling 911.  However, I did not think the operator would take serious a report of someone at La Grenouille “cutting silent, but deadly, horrendous farts”.  I feared becoming an Internet sensation as the guy who called 911 because people around him were passing gas.  If I had called 911, I would have told them to bring the bomb sniffing dog so it could sniff out the butt of the perpetrator.   What an interesting scene and fine end to the evening that would have been. “Line up and bend over and ol’ Betsy here will identify the shooter.” 

But I never was able to determine who the nasty dealer was.  I know it wasn’t woman seated to next to me. She was way too hot and petite to accomplish this feat.  No, this was indeed manly fart, farted by a man.   

I do feel somewhat guilty about not reporting this to any health officials. If this guy is capable of generating gas this toxic, I fear that he has a serious health problem and may already be dead.  If that is the case, may he rest in peace and may his family be successful in fumigating their house.

Unfortunately, they never prepared me for an evening like this in business college, not even in the MBA program. Although I doubt “Managing Business Farts” would be a popular course at the Harvard Business School.  Perhaps I should write a whitepaper, er, make that a brownpaper on the subject.

Fortunately, I survived the nasty, nasty, fart, had a superb dinner, and was able to maintain excellent customer relationships despite the challenges.  Next time somebody tells me “business stinks”, I will tell them just how much it really does.

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