It started off as a fairly normal day (“normal” meaning the expansive gray area between getting out the door on time and put-your-pants-on-we-don’t-have-time-for-kung-fu.) Our sweet Golden Retriever, Gus, rolled over onto his back for his morning belly rubs, right on schedule. Jonah was in charge of the belly rubs that day, and must have been doing an acceptable job, because Gus relaxed himself right into a fart that was audible. (AUDIBLE!) Dogs, at least in my experience, are more the silent-but-deadly type when it comes to such things. Jonah, being a typical 10-year-old boy, made as big a deal out of it as possible. He pulled his shirt over his face, moaned and groaned, claimed he was dying, you know…the works.

A few minutes later, I’m safely away in the bedroom when I hear an even LOUDER fart. Now concerned that something is seriously wrong with the dog, I come out of the room to find Jonah standing defiantly over Gus.

“What WAS that?” I ask.“Is Gus okay?”

“It was me, Mom” says Jonah.

I roll my eyes, and chalk it up to boys being aliens. But something about the situation keeps nagging at me. It’s just such a dumb strategy! However, I’ve just realized that I can’t look at it from a distance and feel superior, because I employ that same ridiculous strategy all the time.

Every time I allow someone to make me mad, every time I absorb somebody else’s grumpiness or meanness or hold onto the little wrongs, I am doing nothing better than standing in someone else’s toot cloud and then adding to it. Who suffers, then? The other person? Maybe, but chances are they didn’t even notice, and now I’m suffering just as much.

That’s a pretty gross analogy, I know. But as the memory of the lesson is imprinted on more than one of my senses, I think it will stick. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to start treating bad vibes like someone just farted. I’ll pretend I don’t notice, back away quickly and head for clean, fresh air.