I learned something very troubling about myself this week. It is something that I contemplated not even sharing with everyone. It is that bad. It is that embarrassing. To make matters worse, there is nothing I can do about it. No really, I am stuck with it.
I am a sleeping gas passer. A resting ripper. An unconscious frogger. I fart while I am sleeping.
I told you it was troubling.
I just discovered this unfortunate fact about myself because I had a very awkward dream last Monday night. In the dream, I was working at a Wendy’s drive-through window while experiencing a bad case of gas. Every time I bent over and out the window to hand people their food, I let one rip. It was such a ripper in my dream, it woke me up for real. More than once. In fact, I struggled at the Dreamland Wendy’s all night long, waking up at least three times.
I thought about the unfortunate dream all day on Tuesday. Something seemed odd about it. Surely to goodness, I actually wasn’t passing gas in real life and not just in my dreams? But the farting seemed so real. As we got into bed that evening, I finally got enough nerve to ask Andy the million-dollar question, “Was I passing gas last night in bed?”
He looked at me with a look that was somewhere between “Are you freaking kidding me?” and “You are just now asking me this question as if you don’t know the answer?”
“Um, yes. Horribly. All night long,” he said.
“Oh my God, I am so appalled!” I said as I turned out the light.
From the darkness of the room then came his response. “You do every night, you know.”
I lay wide-eyed in bed while the room spun. I wanted to ask for further details, but was almost too embarrassed to know the answers. Eventually, I faced the music and asked. What he told me was so, so, so ugly.
Apparently, this is a nearly nightly occurrence. Some nights are worse than others, depending, I guess, on what we had for dinner and what I am dreaming about that evening. To further throw gas on the flames (pun intended), I wake myself up when I do it quite a bit. When it happens, I wake up, look over at Andy, then turn over and go back to sleep.
Now, some of you may think this is no big deal. “We all do it,” you say. “It is a natural thing, nothing to be embarrassed about.” “You are a man. Men fart.” I get it. I do. I am not saying I am surprised about the fact that I release gas. I am just surprised at how violently and out of control I do it.
I am not one of those men who raises his leg up and rips one in front of others. I don’t lock all the windows in the car, then let it go and laugh while everyone chokes. I am just not a public farter. I like to think I maintain some semblance of dignity and grace as I move through the world. If I have to do that sort of thing, I always excuse myself and head to the restroom.
Or so I thought.
Suddenly, I have this knowledge thrust upon me that as soon as I fall unconscious, my bowels go into overdrive and wreak havoc in whatever room I am currently resting.
I further began thinking about how long this had been going on. Had I always suffered from dream dropping? If I had, how many innocent people have been witness to my problem? For instance, when I was in high school, our quick recall Math team (Yes, there was such a thing. Yes, I was on the team) went to a competition at Morehead State University. The tournament required us to spend the night, and as a result, I had to share a bed with my Geometry teacher. WHAT IF I RIPPED BOMBS ON MY HIGH SCHOOL GEOMETRY TEACHER?
Before I settled down, I had my share of one, two, and three night stands. During this period of time, I always portrayed myself and cool and aloof—a real man of mystery. What if I had been farting these poor souls out of the bed each night?! No wonder they never stayed for breakfast. They were probably looking for a gas mask!
And now, for the past fifteen years, have I been setting off butt fireworks nightly on Andy? To his benefit, he has never tried to escape to the couch or spare bedroom, but he is a light sleeper. He gets up and down all night. Maybe it’s to air out the room?!
Oh, the shame and embarrassment! The most troubling part of this entire debacle is that there is absolutely nothing I can do to control it. At least I don’t think there is anything I can do. Sure, maybe switch up my diet, but still. Every night since finding out, I have told myself as I got in bed not to fart while sleeping. I don’t have a clue if it is working because I haven’t asked, but I will say this, I haven’t been awakened by any flatulence (dreamed or real) since then. So, maybe it is working.
You know I am big believer in the power of positive thinking. I wonder if I am the only person who now sends a daily affirmation to the Universe to fart only while conscious? I don’t think it is an unreasonable request. Plus, I bet Andy, Mr. Garrison from my old high school, and a string of old lovers would agree as well.