IF YOU DON'T TELL, I WON'T ASK

One of my favorite Lewis Grizzard stories concerns the minister who pressures each member of his flock to stand and confess their most egregious sins. Assuring them of God’s forgiving grace, he exhorts them repeatedly to “Tell it all, Brother! Tell it All!” After a shocking litany of admissions to theft, adultery, drunkness and the like, the only unconfessed sinner left is a squirrely little guy cowering at the back of the church seeking desperately to avoid the preacher’s gaze as the Rev. and the rest of the congregation bombard him with a relentless chorus of “Tell it All Brother! Tell it all!” Finally, seeing that there is no hope of escape, the little guy rises meekly, and all but whispers, “Well, Preacher, one time I had sex with a goat.” At that point the church falls deadly quiet until the pastor finally admonishes, “Damn Brother! I don’t believe I’d ‘a told that!” The real point here may be that while God’s willingness to forgive may know no bounds, that of his ostensible followers clearly does. I also think this story illustrates that there are certain things about us that only God needs to know (and this may be a case where even He wishes he didn’t.)

I realize my sentiments are out of sync with the “Tell it all!” mentality that pervades the age of “My Space,” “Dr. Phil,” and the cell phone. Last weekend, my enjoyment of a UGA baseball game was greatly impaired by a guy who sat behind me and talked on his phone throughout most of the contest, making me privy, however unwittingly, to the news that his future son-in-law may be looking at jail time and his sister appears to be hitting the bottle a little hard these days. What can we expect, I guess, from people who hear Bob Dole, a former Republican nominee for President and a genuine war hero, touting Viagra.
That this phenomenon is not confined solely to this great land of ours is suggested by this piece from the British tabloid, The Sun, entitled “Farting Ruined My Sex Life,” which tells the sad tale (ouch!) of Lindsey Best, who explains in a lot more detail than we need:

“I had always been a bit farty, but when I was 20 it started to get worse.
Every time I had sex with my fiance I was in agony. I was really worried there might be something seriously wrong so I went to the doctor.
'It's all in your head,' he told me.
I was so constipated I had a bloated stomach which felt painful to touch from the outside.
If I visited a friend for dinner, my stomach would blow up and I would have stomach cramps. I felt awful.
But the wind was the worst aspect. Sometimes it would be quiet and deadly, other times it was very noisy.
I would even fart during sex - it kind of puts you off when you're worrying about breaking wind.
I would try to make a joke about it, but there's only so much you can do.
Eventually, the illness put so much strain on my relationship with my fiance, we broke up.”

Frankly, Lindsey, I don’t give a damn. I will say, however, that the poor guy is well-rid of a flatulent fornicator like you, especially one who would, dare I say, spill her guts, to a tabloid the way you did.
The story actually has a happy ending. It seems Lindsey finally sought help after learning about “The Spa of Embarrassing Illnesses programme.”
She soon discovered that “nearly everyone at the Spa of Embarrassing Illnesses has a condition because of emotions which create a disharmony in the body.
I found out mine came through the sadness and guilt from my parents splitting up when I was nine.”
In the end, the stirring tale of Lindsey’s flight from flatulence winds up bearing a suspicious resemblance to an info-mercial for a show featuring (I ain’t lyin,’ now) “The Spa of Embarrassing Illnesses” on UKTV.
It isn’t indicated whether Lindsey was compensated for her story, but don’t be surprised if news of her desperate but ultimately triumphant struggle to get the wind out of her guts propels her to stardom on this side of the pond as a spokeswoman for Beano.

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This page contains a single entry by Jim Cobb published on February 14, 2007 2:42 PM.

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