Generally speaking, bringing up accidental anal odors in a public forum is a great conversation killer once the crowd gets past the age of, say, 14 or so. It’s somewhere around that magic age where the boys get taller than the girls and who ripped what where moves inside the locker room lest the opposite sex — the ones that have become a lot more interesting recently — downgrade offenders in the catastrophic hormone game that is the teenage years.

But this latest flatulence meme floating around the air of social media carries such a stomach-turning stench that it’s about as funny as a knicker ripper in a spacesuit.

The meme’s general message is: How can a cloth mask help fight the spread of COVID-19 if the odor of butt gas can wrinkle other people’s noses after passing two layers of clothing?

Any elementary school teacher — or truly anyone who works or volunteers in a capacity where three or more young boys are gathered — can provide that answer.

Get a faint whiff that could have only been produced from the infamous Alabama barking spider and want to identify the source, just look for the area in the group of children where three boys are giggling and have their T-shirt collars pulled up over their nose … to act as a mask.

That’s right, the first instinctual reaction of childhood is to protect yourself from something in the air by pulling a piece of cloth over your face.

And oh how I wish it was just that simple to butter up that air biscuit and serve it back like who smelt it dealt it was an actual thing. Because this little brown growler twists the whole point of wearing a cloth mask around. Wearing a cloth mask isn’t to protect you, it’s to protect those around you.

The mask’s purpose is to keep the little liquid droplets, that may be carrying coronavirus, from reaching other people. If you’re asymptomatic, which appears to be common from what little we can gather from the limited amount of testing completed to this point around the globe — you probably won’t even know you have this coronavirus, but the people you share it with by freely spraying your droplets into the air might not be so lucky.

So if the meme was being honest, which few things based on such a short and simplistic message really can be, it wouldn’t be using ripping one as the comparison, it would be ripping a juicy one and the backend result is different. Because a right cheek sneak is a gas and the other is a liquid.

In which case those two layers of material do work. The only one who knows that your crop dusting run through Human Resources was more than just silent and deadly is that poor soul doing the laundry, who can testify that there was some unfortunate evidence in the first layer of cloth that you baked some brownies with that bottom burp. Shockingly that surprise bit of liquid was stopped from escaping into view and provoking an embarrassment like a Detroit city backfire in a crowded church by what?

A layer of cloth.

It probably makes as much difference as a canary killer loosed in a windstorm to try and convince those sharing it on social media. They can continue to bury their head under the covers about it. Maybe whomever they share a bed with can hold it there to enjoy a whiff of reality in the aromatic wonder of a nose hair curling, tear watering retalitoot born of spicy tacos with a side of baked beans.

Keep wearing a mask in public places, washing those hands and stay safe out there.

Just remember, never trust a fart, nor its meme.

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Marcus Fitzsimmons is the copy desk chief for the APG-East Design Center at The Daily Times and can be reached at marcus.

fitzsimmons@thedailytimes.com

An East Tennessee newshound since 1990, minus a few years spent working the road race circuit , Marcus has been a reporter, copy editor and sports editor, and is currently the copy desk chief of the APG-East Design Center located at The Daily Times.

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