I’m sitting uncomfortably in my chair waiting for her to arrive. Tucked away in the Fulton River District of Chicago the restaurant is overpriced, bland, and a bit stuffy. I’m nervous—sweating. Sweating. Sweating. Sweating. Beads of saline waste collect under my arms, on my palms, and across my forehead. I quickly wipe my forehead with my sleeve, hoping nobody notices. She’s so beautiful and much too smart for me. What’s a PhD student at the University of Chicago doing with me? I think. There’s no way she’ll ever love my farts.
July 9, 2014: Researchers at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom announce they’ve developed a new medical compound called AP39. The substance targets the energy-creating parts of cells and releases small amounts of hydrogen sulfide. AP39 gives biology a new lease on life—80 percent of cells that would have otherwise died flourish after being administered AP39. The studies around it are impressive. Diabetes, strokes, heart attacks, dementia, and cancer can all be combated by the new miracle drug. Hydrogen sulfide is the odorous gas found in flatulence.
July 11, 2014: Time Magazine online publishes “Ridiculous Study of the Day Says Smelling Farts Might Prevent Cancer.” CNET follows up with “Smelling farts could be the best thing you do today.” Jezebel writes “Your Butt Is a Hero.” The Week: “Smelling farts is good for your health.” Geek.com: “The gas that makes farts smell could keep you from getting cancer.” It becomes a national craze. The stories are shared on Facebook over 20,000 times.
August 5, 2014: FlatuTech, a tech-centric think tank dedicated to pursuing the benefits of AP39, announces $40 million in seed funding from private investors.
October 10, 2014: Terrence Floyd, a entrepreneur in California, creates the GassyKnoll, a plastic dome-shaped enclosure where people can trap their flatulence and simmer in it, breathing in its healing properties. Floyd is criticized by the New York Times for “dangerously exploiting the foolishness of our self-help culture.”
October 20, 2014: Dr. Oz endorses the GassyKnoll on his show. Sales spike by 5000 percent.
October 27, 2014: Craig Mendavi announces the HiGas diet with the slogan “Hi Gas, Bye Disease.” The diet focuses on foods with high concentrations of hydrogen sulfide such as hard boiled eggs. Mendavi claims he’s been personally using the HiGas diet for 25 years saying “People used to criticize me for my terrible farts. I used to let them loose at the bar, at the theater, at the store—it didn’t matter. But now they’re coming to understand what I’ve been on about. I’ve never had cancer and I never will. I’ve got HiGas to thank for that.”
November 2, 2014: An elderly couple in Arizona suffocate in a GassyKnoll.
November 11, 2014: Craig Mendavi makes an appearance on the Oprah Winfrey show. Oprah endorses the diet and says she’s personally been on it for a week.
November 12, 2014: Gwyneth Paltrow writes on her blog Goop that she’s been on the HiGas diet for two weeks and has never felt better. She publishes a recipe for egg salad “guaranteed to lower your blood pressure.”
January 6, 2015: Tesla announces the second iteration of their Model S electric car will contain flatulence sensors in all of their seats. The sensors, designed by engineers at FlatuTech, analyze gaseous emissions to rate and categorize the healing properties of individual’s farts. Tech blog TechCrunch applauds their audacity. Tesla’s stock drops by 10 points.
February 9, 2015: Google quietly release a FlatuTech API integrated directly the Android operating system. Any developer can now take advantage of the company’s sophisticated analysis.
February 10, 2015: Edmund Rialto, a 16-year-old developer, programs BootyScent in 8 hours. The app uses the microphone and accelerometer in Android smartphones to rate gaseous emissions. He describes it as “no big deal” when asked for comment.
February 17, 2015: Yahoo buys BootyScent for $12 million.
March 23, 2015: The first “fart parlor” named the Gas Factory opens in Boston, Massachusetts. “People can gather and enjoy drinks under plastic domes that surround the tables,” writes the Boston Globe. “Emitting isn’t required, but it is encouraged.”
April 7, 2015: Motorola releases a second iteration of the Moto 360 smart watch with a built in chemical analysis package designed by FlatuTech. “When naturally emitting, place device near backside to perform analysis” reads the documentation. You’re able to share your scores with friends and create leaderboards. The watch recommends dietary changes based on the HiGas diet to improve your score.
June 10, 2015: Apple announces their response to the Moto 360. Their newest iWatch will contain its own analysis package that integrates into HealthKit. At no point during the presentation do they mention “flatulence,” “farts,” or “gas.” Apple stock gains 14 points.
September 3, 2015: New iWatch launch. People line up at Apple Stores around the United States in record amounts.
September 10, 2015: Over 30 million new iWatches sold in first week.
January 20, 2016: Google announces they’ve determined the optimal diet and genetic background to create the most medically beneficial flatulence. They launch the Google Gas Initiative to study the population with the most beneficial emissions. Over 50 leading medical institutions, anthropologists, geneticists, and universities have signed on to the initiative at launch.
March 3, 2016: FlatchMatch, a new iPhone app, is released. Hailed as “Tinder for Farts,” over 100,000 people sign up in the first day. People are able to accept or reject possible date matches based on the analysis of their emissions.
April 9, 2016: The American Red Cross holds its first Emissions Donation drive at Northwestern University in Illinois. Students are highly receptive to the idea. Harvey Lake, a student at Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering tells the Chicago Tribune “It’s so much better than giving blood because you don’t feel sick after. It’s much more natural. I wish I could donate emissions more so I can help people.”
June 17, 2016: Pfizer, FlatuTech, and Google announce a partnership to develop an improved version of AP39 as created from individual emission samples collected from around the world. The US President endorses the partnership calling it a “triumph of American collaboration and innovation.”
Which leads to today, July 13, 2016. I’m sitting and sweating as she arrives at the table—hoping she likes my farts as much as I like her.