Contentious Content : “Portait of my Parents”

A few editions ago, the Eleven and a Half editorial board received the below submission. Its contents, upon reading, proved to be contentious and quickly divided the board into two equally passionate camps. Those who were entertained, and those (with weaker stomachs) who found themselves uneasy. Now we invite you to be the judge. Art or fart? (Or both?) The following was written by NS student Kathryn Kolouch in 2012.

Portrait Of My Parents

” I remember a time when my mother and father were driving in a Susuki Trooper with me and my brother across the country. Naturally, we stopped at gas stations every few hours to refill the tank and our stomachs. Each of us had a favorite item to buy at these gas stations. I’d choose Reeses FastBreak, it’s a chocolate candy bar filled with peanut butter and nougat. Fred, my brother, picked Sour Patch Kids. Unfortunately for Fred and me, mom and dad would share a bag of Teriyaki Beef Jerkey. I’m not vegetarian and neither is my brother, so one might wonder why me and my brother hated Teriyaki Beef Jerkey. Imagine sitting in a sealed car with four people for several hours. Imagine two of them had consumed only Gatorade and Teriyaki Beef Jerky in these several hours. Imagine your two parents apologizing every 20 minutes for their bad gas. Oh, did I write 20 minutes? It was actually never ending and nobody ever apologized. My mom: Oh, baby, that was a stink ripper baby. My dad: I am just completely astonished at how gassy I get with beef jerky. It’s really a lot! Honestly my mom would say things like “oh baby” and “you betcha I’m farting” or sometimes “it’s time to roll down the window girlie!” and my father would comment on how it smelled pretty much the same as Teriyaki Beef Jerky out of the bag. For me and my brother, my parents never cared where or when they farted. They did it in the car, at the grocery store, in the living room, or in the kitchen. They farted virtuosically and with rhythm up flights of stairs and through hallways. Once in a while, my mom and dad would joke about becoming old and senile. They would ask me and Fred if we’ll “change their diapers when they turn into old farts.” What were they talking about? If they’re not “old farts” already, what are they? Middle-aged farts? Were me and my brother young farts? Either way, I told them I hoped to earn enough money to pay someone else to change their diapers. I said this ten years ago when I was babysitting for $10 an hour. In ten years, my salary, has not once risen above the poverty line. If all goes swimmingly, the stories of my parents’ middle-aged farts will be bought and sold internationally so I can pay off the mortgage on their house and hire a full-time nurse to take care of them in their old age. ”

A copy of Kathryn Kolouch’s newest book-length project (Abcdefgzyxw’s Tweetbook: Tweets from 01/23/2013 Till 04/03/2014)¬†can be found here. Please check it out.


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