Strange Things & Filthy Lies Sanitized – August/September 2020

Can you be ticketed for farting in public?

August-September 2020

Wendy Parker


Theoretically speaking, if you refuse to wear pants the people in close proximity of you have a greater chance of becoming ill. To put it as delicately as possible, your drawers keep others safe from, ahem, minute particles that may or may not be ejected with great force during normal off-gassing bodily functions.

That’s right. Human flatulence can actually be deadly. As it turns out, laws about wearing pants aren’t for your benefit. They’re for the safety of others. Not only would it be weird for everyone at the truck stop to walk around sans pants, it would be incredibly dangerous. Especially over by the roller rack. For more reasons than one. (I’m stopping here.)

So wear your pants. And wash your hands. And don’t point that deadly weapon at anyone, or you’re liable to get a ticket. Depending on the level of attitude you adopt while aiming, you may even get arrested.

(This is not a filthy lie. Those come later.)

As it turns out, the state that prides itself on independent attitudes has pretty specific language within their laws regarding such behavior. “Don’t mess with Texas” becomes all the more evident when you explore Texas Penal Code, Title 9, Chapter 42, regarding “Offenses against Public Order and Decency.”

There are 11 offenses listed. We’ll skip the boring stuff, like “fighting in public” and “looking into a window of a hotel room that is not rented to you.” What?

The more interesting and extremely specific language (you’ve been warned) that a very bored or very tenacious prosecutor could use to make farting an arrestable offense include these three:

No. 3 – “Creates, by chemical means, a noxious and unreasonable odor in a public place.”

No. 5 – “Makes unreasonable noise in a public place other than a sport shooting range (so very Texas) or near a private residence that he has no right to occupy.”

No. 10 – “exposes his anus or genitals in a public place and is reckless about whether another may be present who will be offended or alarmed by his act.”

(Let that soak in for a minute. Read it again if you need to. Realize that this law was made at some point in time because it was necessary.)

There’s quite a bit to unpack in No. 10. First of all, when is it not reckless to prance your bare butt around a public place? I mean, even if it’s sanctioned you have to admit there is a certain amount of risk involved. And are there places where people wouldn’t be offended by seeing parts of you that you can’t see yourself?

Probably so. However, be advised that the old Monty Python line about farting in someone’s general direction might land you in the pokey. Especially if you happen to be reckless with showing your bits and pieces in public while parked anywhere in the Great State of Texas.

It’s happened before, and it will likely happen again. Because people are strange.

Speaking of strange, have you ever noticed that the people who do engage in wantonly showing what the Lord sent ’em here in are usually people you don’t really want to see nekkid?

If you’ve spent any time at the truck stop counter-of-knowledge, you’ve heard stories about a bus full of Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders, or “Playboy”/“Playgirl” models whipping off pertinent pieces of clothing for truckers as they wave frantically and hang out the windows of said bus. (Note: what the bus is full of generally runs with the personal proclivities of the tale-teller. That’s the last disclaimer I’m giving for this piece.)

I’m here to tell ya that I was on the road in a big truck for more than a minute and, quite frankly, all I’ve seen is some questionable judgment involving whether or not it’s safe to shave your legs while driving and talking on the cellphone, but I’ve never seen anything even remotely close to the counter-of-knowledge bus scenario.

I did see a cyclops driving a drop-top Mercedes Benz and huffing Campho-Phenique in the hammer lane of the I-285 loop around Atlanta once. On my eyes. Both of em’. Ol’ boy was rollin’ about 85 mph, one hand on the wheel, one eye on the road. It was terrifying and fascinating at the same time – much like life on the truck.

But the all-time topper, the one I still lie awake at night and think about, is the octopus carcass we passed on I-40 between Conway and Fort Smith, Ark. You read it right. An octopus. In Arkansas.

I saw the glistening blob on the side of the road about the time George, my husband and the actual driver, saw brake lights. Because other people were undoubtedly wondering why in the holy heck there was an octopus on the side of the highway in Arkansas, too.

We never figured out the reason for it, and it’s probably better that way. Some things are best left unknown.

Join us next time on STFL, when we dissect the innards of outer space. Until then, wash your hands and wear your pants. STFL, over and out. LL

Check out the July 2020 edition of Strange Things & Filthy Lies.