Chapter One: From Hell It Came By Steven Weber
At any given time when I am lucky enough to be standing upon a stage bathed in an electric blue spotlight (with an amber inky aimed from the wings to bring out the flecks of yellow in my eyes), whether it be reciting trochaic verse, assaying one of the great tragic roles in the American theatrical canon ("Lefty's dead!") or accepting a citation for bravery in the face of relentlessly partisan texting, I often wear -- some would say -- a rather mournful smile. But the mien I present to the public is not one wrought from self satisfaction, nor is it because I actually feel an emotion akin to empathy with my audience who have just been stirred to life changing epiphanies at the deftly wielded hand of my craft.
It's because I am holding in a fart.
How I have suffered while making America (and parts of Malaysia, for some unknown reason) laugh, cry and just generally consider stuff. A noxious mass of particulate ether gathered on the stoop of my innards like a pack of meth smoking delinquents just spoiling to hurl a baseball through a window; a ghostly grenade which, should it escape into the surrounding environs, would cause an upheaval of colossal intensity and spoil an otherwise lovely occasion -- he attempt to prevent this unfortunate situation from literally bubbling over is what drives me to seek the approbation of the masses and subject myself to the self-abasing rigors of performing.
But I am not alone, and you know it. Throughout history, the actions of many historical figures which have had all manner of motives ascribed to explain them have in fact been all along due to the hidden desire to spare the public from a catastrophe of searing olfactory discomfort.
Berndt Parks, famed German master of ceremonies, was known for his dazzlingly toothy grin. Upon closer inspection, however, his trademark was revealed to be a strained, shivering rictus, an enameled dam hinting at the interminable struggle to hold back a torrential gust;
The infamously glacial and Jew-hating Henry Ford actually sublimated his discomfort by designing the Model T as a tribute to the form and texture his eventually evacuated stool took, that being hard, angular, black and ubiquitous;
And in an earnest but vain attempt to give a light-hearted tinge to his silent battle, candy maker Henry Heide (father of the Ju-Jube) invented a product called Fun-Da-Mints which only temporarily reduced the scourge's initial chemical attack and left the user with a lingering and discombobulating after-scorch.
George W. Bush. To the untrained eye his pursed sneer and heaving shoulders suggest a man who is certain of his place in the world, a man of profound self-awareness and in full possession of a breadth of knowledge that would make his fellow statesman pale. But the tragic reality is that his colon is a virtual snake-pit of methane, and woe to him that treads too close to its edge as the poor unfortunate will be overcome and likely tumble over kettle into the caustic, writhing fog. As Bush strains to restrain, the temperature of the aforementioned vapor increases and his efforts to prevent its escape duly correspond. As water in a corroded sewer pipe always seeks an alternative route should its main artery be clogged, so the fumes push and propel themselves to other vacant areas, most notably to the cranial region, propelling our distressed leader to perform a series of ever inexplicable actions. How else to explain the last 7 years of bizarre behavior both within and without the Rotunda? And all because of the hateful hellion Flatulence.
This is why I tell my story. Not for personal aggrandizement. So great men and women will not falter when called to service. So others who stoop under it's oppressive weight will be able to stand erect and say "I need to let rip!" and know that there are others out there who would gladly join in, forming a chorus of relief that would loose the white-knuckled stranglehold this curse has on our society. So I say to all ye who suffer: you have a life to live, a song to sing, a world to run. And a celebrity is just the person to help. Won't you join me in helping those to help me help them help you and me?