My little Lucas is like any other three-year-old boy. He loves trucks, cars and trains. He has no qualms about getting dirty, even if that means making "mud angels" because we don't get snow.
And he thinks flatulence is really, really funny.
I've been around enough kids to know this is just a phase, but because I've never planned to encourage or prolong Lucas' fascination with bodily functions, I've carefully avoided the shelves on the bookstore containing a certain book called "Walter the Farting Dog." Apparently, most parents do not. It's a best seller, as are the sequels, Walter the Farting Dog: Trouble at the Yard Sale," and "Rough Weather Ahead for Walter the Farting Dog."
So you can only imagine how thrilled I was when - on our last trip to the bookstore - Lucas discovered a stuffed Walter the Farting Dog that makes realistic farting noise when you squeeze it. He's seen fireworks and airplanes and elaborate model trains at the railroad museum. But never had anything put Lucas in such a sheer state of bliss as a dog that makes farting noises when you squeeze it. He was in love, and it soon became clear that he could not bear separation from his new farting friend.
That was on Friday and all the next day, we endured a cycle of farting noises and hysterical giggles as Lucas' aimed Walter's flatulent behind at the cat, the dog, his sister, the horses. Walter farted in Lucas' glass of juice, into the telephone when grandma called and into a microphone, to amplify the glorious effect.
I won't even attempt to convey the depths of Lucas' sadness when, on Sunday, Walter inexplicably lost his ability to fart.
Now, the only thing more embarrassing than buying a farting dog is returning it because it won’t fart. But that became my appointed task early Monday, when I drove the bookstore and explained the situation to the clerk. Because it’s a good bookstore, and because I’m probably their best customer, I was apologetically directed to the children’s section and told to select another farting dog.
They were on the bottom shelf. There were four Walters left and I wanted to make sure I selected the one that would best meet Lucas' high emission standards. So, bending over, I began to test them. They were loud, so loud in fact that I almost missed the snickers and whispers coming from the aisle behind me. I turned to see a group of shoppers, gaping in amused shock at a woman who appeared to be bent over and farting with abandon.
Grabbing my chosen dog, I stood, marched over to them, held it aloft and squeezed as the toy emitted an especially dramatic fart. “It wasn’t me,” I icily declared and walked away, enjoying their stunned silence almost as much as my 3-year-old later enjoyed the sounds emitted by his new Walter.
I've heard of people blaming it on the dog but, damnit, I had proof.
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