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Sixth grade.

After school.

The eighth grade boy I had a crush on had come over with his best friend (my classmate), and we were hanging out on the front porch.

I remember a lot of awkward silences.

The MOST awkward silence I can recall is the one where – try as I might to avoid the unthinkable…

In the midst of an already deadly silence…

Right there in front of BOTH of them…


I tooted.


Staring at the cement below me, frozen in a kind of deer in the headlights moment, I noticed in my peripheral vision the ever so slight glancing of eyes in my direction.



They had heard it.


Can you say: Mortified?


And then…

MORE silence.


Can you say: Sheer mortification?


It was the fart that we dare not speak its name.

And none of us did.

Eventually one of them broke the silence.

And not by breaking wind – which probably would have been the most humane thing to do. After all, mortification does love company.


Sometimes the worst thing that we think could happen does happen. (For a sixth grader with a crush, does it really get any worse?)

But you know what?

I carried on.

The earth didn’t stop turning on its axis.

Life kept moving forward.

I went on to do homework, eat dinner, watch some TV, and even to attend school the next day (though I considered dropping out right then and there).

When “the worst thing” does happen, we might feel mortification, embarrassment or humiliation. But if we let the feeling crest like a wave, it will recede into the ocean of our life in about 90 seconds.

Then we can find our way through mortification, embarrassment and humiliation.


In the end (pun intended), there was nothing I could do to change what had happened.

What was farted was farted.

(Yes, you can quote me.)

There was no going back.

But there was…



Going on.

Going forward.

Going through.


I don’t need to fear the worst that could happen (nor farting in public at the most inopportune moment).

Whatever happens…


I will go on.

I will go forward.

I will go through.


If you knew that you would make it through even if the worst thing happened…

What might you do differently?

Who might you become?


Please share in the comments below.



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