Or So it Seems … Clearing The Air

Recently, my brother JD dragged me over to his computer with a grin on his face.

“Check this out.” He pulled up a web page. “I think you can use this.”

I looked at the ad on drugstore.com. It featured a small, flat white object that’s inserted into underwear.

It was a fart filter.

I narrowed my eyes. “Are you trying to TELL ME SOMETHING?”

He shook his head. “No. No. No. Not that. It’s for your column.”

Now before I go any further with this “piece,” I have to offer the following disclaimer:

Federal law compels me to reveal that I have received no compensation, either financial or in-kind for this product review.

I also must disclose that JD did offer to kick in a can of Campbell’s Pork ‘n’ Beans—in the name of scientific research—but I declined. Our poor atmosphere has suffered enough from cows cutting the cheese.

We read the ad, guffawing, chortling and whooping it up with the delight of unrepentant juvenile delinquents. In the next room, my wife labored over a complex, quantitative analysis paper for her PhD.

“Can you keep it down in there,” Karin said. “I’m on a deadline.”

So we stifled our laughter, and I whispered to JD. “Is this for real?”

He didn’t answer. Instead he scrolled down, and we huddled next to the screen. I looked over his shoulder, and we read on about the wonders of “Subtle Butt.”

“Activated carbon technology… Comfortable… Discreet… Anti-microbial…  Absorbs embarrassing odors…”

“Impressive,” I said. “Probably developed by NASA.”

“Hey! They’re on sale if you act now,” JD said. “Normally, they’re five for $11.99, but today only, they’re $7.99.”

“What a DEAL.” We high-fived, laughed, and drummed on the desk.

From the next room, I heard a groan.

“Shhhh. Please!” Karin said.

JD held his finger to his lips, and then he clicked on the “product instructions” tab. Here they are, unedited and uncensored. See if you can read them without cracking up.

    1. Peel off adhesive and stick Subtle Butt onto the inside of your underwear or pants, exactly where you think it goes.
    2. Go for it, Let’er rip, Have at it, Cut loose, Break wind, Gas it up
    3. When you’re done wearing Subtle Butt, remove and discard.  If any adhesive traces remain, use a damp cloth for removal.

Tips for Success:

    1. You want all the gas to pass through Subtle Butt.  So do what you need to do to ensure none sneaks around the edges.
    2. Subtle Butt can be applied to thongs by wrapping and securing it around the back.

Subtle Butt ad on www.drugstore.com

JD and I looked at each other, trying to hold it together. I bit my lip till it hurt.

“Really, we should buy some,’’ JD said. “Let’s send one to Papa and see if it works….”

I lost it…. Then I heard a book thump closed.

“I can’t concentrate,” Karin said.

“I think you’re in trouble,” JD whispered.

“Me? This is all your fault,” I said. I stepped away from the computer, trying to create a zone of deniability.

JD printed out the ad and tacked it up in a prominent place over his desk.

“You seem interested,” I said. “You should try it.”

“No way,” he said. “I’m not getting my name on THAT mailing list.” JD tapped the screen. “Look at the SPAM you’d get.”

He had a point. The page was peppered with stuff for people who’d stuff a pad of activated-carbon into their Fruit-Of-The-Looms. I leaned back it to read and saw items that included “Anti Monkey Butt” a Calamine-based “friction-reducing powder,” It comes in an orange container for men, and there’s a pinkish version for women.

No word on whether or not it’s perfumed.

And then there’s an anti-diaper rash product called “Boudreaux’s Butt Paste.” Being the serious researcher that I am, I resisted giggling as he clicked on the ad. JD looked up and nodded.

“I was going to buy you that for your 60th,” he said. “Goes well with adult diapers.”

“Thanks, but no thanks,” I replied. He continued to scroll down the page. We stopped when we came to “kitty carpeting.” This reusable-thong technology is best not described in detail in a family-oriented news publication.

“I think we’ve entered the Twilight Zone of below-the-belt-hygiene,” I said. “How’d you find this?”

JD smiled, and grabbed the mouse.

“Well, I was on Pinterest and saw these whitey-tighties.” JD enlarged a close-up photo of man in jockey shorts. I could see a substantial bump on the guy’s backside.

I pondered the image.

“And,” I hesitated, “ah… what ‘phrase’ did you use to reach the land of ‘partially-clad dudes with bulging underwear?’”

“Hey, bro,” JD thumped my head, “I was just searching for ‘funny pictures.’”

“Well… this qualifies,” I said with relief. “But is Subtle Butt a real product, or just a prank?”

“Take a look. It’s on Amazon.”

JD brought up the Subtle Butt page. That’s when I saw that it IS possible to purchase this thing. You can find it yourself on Amazon.com. It’s just above the Maybe You Touched Your Genitals hand sanitizer.

Talk about product placement.

So how can we review this product, when neither my brother nor I are willing to buy it? We’re reduced to passing along snippets of other users’ experiences. Here’s a sampling of what we saw on Amazon. Let’s start with some five-star reviews. Here are our three favorites.

Justme gave Subtle Butt a red-hot review. “I wear this when I have guests over. I have horrible gas, and they work. I swear by them.”

Next there’s Pickylady. She passed along a word-of-mouth five-star rating, after getting the straight-poop from a relative. Pickylady bought Subtle Butt as a gift.

For her Mom.

“Not the sort of gift that I’d give on Mother’s Day,” JD said. “I guess nothing-says-I-love-you quite like a bag of granulated charcoal.”

“But,” I said to JD, “what sort of greeting card do you give along with a five-pack of fart-filters?”

We both had to bite our fists to keep from laughing.

Then we saw the five-star review from Asdf1pony. I read aloud: “Girlfriend was not at all pleased to get them for Valentine’s Day. But, honestly, she needed them. The problem is sneaking them into her underwear without her noticing.”

“I have good news for Asdf1pony,” JD said. “Odds are he won’t need to worry about buying her an expensive engagement gift.”

JD and I took turns gasping for air, and we bravely read on.

Then we flipped over to those disappointed, one-star reviews.

“This is sad,” JD said. “Reviewer E. Timmons of New Jersey says: ‘Tried these, hoping to pass gas in public. I have a very bad odor. They did not work.’”

“Maybe Doctor Phil can help,” I suggested.

“And reviewer Jane Caler agreed in obvious disgust, saying that the product ‘isn’t worth 10 cents. It DOESN’T WORK,’” JD said.

“Check this out,” I said. “Just Plain Stinky was hoping for a product that would ‘INTENSIFY the smell.’”


“Yep,” I said, and we laughed until our eyes watered.

“You two are impossible,” Karin said.

JD turned off the computer.

“We’ll be good now. We promise,” I said.

“I’ll believe that when I see it,” Karin said.

“Or smell it,” JD whispered.


And that’s what I did last week, during my free time, while my wife worked on getting her degree in public health and making the world a better place. I did my research into anti-fart technology.

You can thank me later.

And, Stinky, if you’re still seeking odor-enhancement, drop me a Tweet at @robblightfoot.

You can have JD’s can of Pork ‘n’ Beans.

P.S. Karin says that if I write another column like this, my brother and I won’t be allowed to play together without adult supervision.

Robb has enjoyed writing and performing since he was a child, and many of his earliest performances earned him a special recognition-reserved seating in the principal’s office at Highland Elementary. Since then, in addition to his weekly column on A News Cafe – “Or So it Seems™” – Robb has written news and features for The Bakersfield Californian, appeared on stage as an opening stand-up act in Reno, and his writing has been published in the Funny Times. His short stories have won honorable mention national competition. His screenplay, “One Little Indian,” Was a top-ten finalist in the Writer’s Digest competition. He has two humor books in print, The Doggone Christmas List and The Stupid Minivan. Robb presently lives, writes and teaches in Shasta County, Northern California.

Robb Lightfoot is a humorist, author and educator. He and his wife raised a family of four kids, a dozen or more dogs and a zillion cats. He has enjoyed writing and performing since he was a child, and many of his earliest performances earned him a special recognition-reserved seating in the principal’s office at Highland Elementary. Since then, in addition to teaching at Shasta Community College, and his former column on A News Cafe - "Or So it Seems™" - Robb has written news and features for The Bakersfield Californian, appeared on stage as an opening stand-up act in Reno, and his writing has been published in the "Funny Times". His short stories have won honorable mention in national competitions. His screenplay, “One Little Indian,” Was a top-10 finalist in the Writer’s Digest competition. Robb presently lives and writes in Chico where he manages ThinkingFunny.com. He also hates referring to himself in the third person, and will stop doing so immediately. I can be reached in the following ways: Robb@thinkingfunny.com PO Box 5286 Chico, CA 95928 @_thinking_funny on Twitter
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7 Responses

  1. Avatar `AJacoby says:

    Having taught junior high school for 27 years, I recognize that sense of humor. I think I repeat at every one of your postings, this time in caps: KAREN IS A SAINT!

    O.K., I admit, I did chortle a bit . . .

    • Poor Karin, off in the corner working on complex math while my brother and I were acting like we're 12 years old. JD and I live about 450 miles apart, and so we don't get together that often. Probably a good thing…

  2. Avatar Carol M says:

    I'm such a sucker for "hind end region" jokes and stories. This is hilarious!

  3. You and your brother are double trouble. (I love the photo of you two.)

  4. Avatar `AJacoby says:

    This made me think of a true story . . .

    I was teaching in a very small classroom while my music room was being built. It was the first week of school and I had a class of 6th graders. At that point, they're pretty terrified. It's their first week in the "big" school where they had to change classes and teachers every period.

    I was standing in front of my piano, giving some instructions. This meant I was about a foot from the front row. I felt a sneeze coming on. . . which, for me, means between 5 and 15 little cat like sneezes. Well, in this event it also caused an audible eruption from the other end. There was NO WAY I was going to dodge THAT bullet. So, there they were, eyes as big a saucers and few of the boys making an effort not to react. I did the only sensible thing to do: I pulled myself to full height, arched an eyebrow and stated, "I takes talent to be able to sneeze from both ends!" Whereupon we all had a good laugh.

  5. Avatar Jim Pecarovich says:

    The moments (although precious and few) Robb and I share are truly a treasure.

    Though the miles may be many that separate us, our love and memories have forged a relationship that cannot be matched nor broken. Humor has long been the wind beneath the wings of our unique family (Pecarovichs have long been putting the "fun" back in dysfunctional). My hat is off to you, big brother, for escaping B-town and "just keepin' the hits on coming"! Your fresh outlook on our constantly crazy life helps me keep it real and always puts a smile on my face. I am very proud of you and all of your accomplishments. I'm more than glad I could help in your latest installment in chronicling the constantly evolving Lightfoot-Pecarovich dynasty. I love you.


    P.S. Ron should be receiving a mysterious package in the mail (from Amazon) any day now.

  6. Avatar Jan Brockett says:

    Robb, now you need to read the book "GULP Adventures on the Alimentary Canal" by Mary Roach to appreciate the whole system. It's a kick and very informative.