Walk softly and carry a big stink


          In the 1970's, while visiting an artist friend in New York City, my brother, Jim, and his friend, Gary, attended a showing at a fashionable Soho art gallery. One exhibit at the gallery attempted to portray the horrors of war by displaying a miniature landscape populated with toy soldiers, tanks, and other implements of war. Viewers were invited to examine this exhibit through binoculars turned backwards to heighten the realism of the work's depiction of the soldiers' dead, decapitated, and dismembered bodies.


          Unfortunately, my brother is an unrepentant sufferer of a socially embarrassing physical ailment, flatulence. In particular, drinking beer aggravates what is already a pronounced tendency. Sadly, my brother and Gary had been out drinking the night before visiting the art gallery. True to form, while standing in the middle of a crowd in front of the war exhibit, my brother ripped off a particularly vicious SBD. Footnote

  Shortly thereafter, the astute group of New York art connoisseurs viewing the horrors of war exhibit began commenting on the artist's innovative use of multimedia techniques to reinforce the image’s realism by incorporating the smell of dead and decaying bodies into the exhibit. Footnote

At this point, Gary barely managed to stagger out to the sidewalk before collapsing into uncontrollable laughter.


          Jim helped Gary to his feet, and they spent the rest of the day in some local bars discussing the future ramifications of my brother’s ability to transform static visual images into dynamic performance art. They also discussed how Jim might be able to add that ephemeral je ne sais quoi which, up to that point, the New York cultural world had somehow found lacking in Gary’s art. It was quite a while that day before Gary was able to take a full swallow of beer without blowing some of it out his nose.


          To this day, my brother maintains that the "Soho Incident" was merely long overdue recognition of the artistic qualities that he always knew he possessed. Footnote

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