Yes, that’s right… this post is called The Flatulent Chair, because, well, it’s about a chair of ours that makes some unfortunate sounds. Heather and I got this lousy chair eight or so years ago after we first moved in together. We had a desk but no chair, so we went out and picked up a sleek, attractive one. We were pretty pleased with it, but when we got the chair home and I took a seat, it let out an obscenely loud “WHOOOOOOOSH!”

Heather looked at me sideways.

“Did you just -”

“No!” I croaked as I jumped to my feet. “It was the chair!”

Heather crinkled up her forehead, then took a seat. Sure enough, the chair coughed up another undignified “WHOOOOOSH!”

“Uh-uh,” Heather said. “We’re taking this thing back.”

Unfortunately, after a couple weeks of not being able to find the time to take it back, we decided to keep the chair, whoosh and all. Eventually we grew so accustomed to it that we didn’t even notice the sound it made anymore.

The evil chair in question

A couple years later a friend of ours and her four-year-old daughter came to visit. At the time I was busy with an assignment for work, and was toiling away at my desk when the friend and her daughter came into the room to watch TV. I was so focused on my assignment, though, that I barely registered their presence over the next couple hours even as I rose from my chair to grab a Diet Coke, go to the bathroom, and answer the phone. I did notice that each time I sat down the little girl whispered to her mother, but I didn’t pay it much thought. Finally, after what must have been my tenth time time settling back down into the chair, I overheard the little girl’s mother forcefully say, “You have to stop asking about it. I’m sure it’s nothing he can control, just let it -”

“But why does he do it so much, Mama?”

“Everyone does it, so stop mentioning it. Please. Just ignore it.”

It took my brain a second to catch up, but then the horror hit me all at once. They thought I’d been ripping outrageously loud farts over and over for hours on end! I was mortified. Thankfully, I was able to demonstrate the culprit was the chair and not me, and the awkwardness (mostly) went away.

It’s been five or so years since then, and we now have a better, quieter chair. The old chair still sits in the corner of our office, but we rarely if ever sit in it. Last week, though, I was invited on The Huffington Post Live to discuss this post via webcam, and decided (like a moron) to sit in the old chair because it was next to the window and had the best natural light.

“You’re going to sit in that chair?” Heather asked.

“Don’t worry,” I said. “I’ll be sitting the whole time.”

Ten minutes later the producer for the segment came on the webcam. After exchanging pleasantries, she suggested that I wear headphones for the segment.

“Sure,” I said as I jumped up, ran to get my headphones, then plopped back down into the chair.


My eyes bugged out of my head. Great. Just great. An awkward moment passed interminably as I considered explaining the noise was the chair, but then I thought that would sound really weird, so I said nothing and forged onward. The appearance went well after that, but I can tell you this much… ol’ farty chair is finally headed for the scrap heap.